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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12
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Analysis

Is this Red Bull’s best chance to beat Mercedes?

If the winner of pre-season testing can turn its early form into a season-long challenge, then the hegemony of F1’s top team could genuinely be under threat. Both teams are talking up the other as the 2021 season approaches its start, which could mean everything - and nothing

The 2008 Formula 1 season is now a very long time ago. Since that campaign ended, only two teams have won the drivers’ and constructors’ titles. One, as Brawn GP, picked up the championship double in 2009, the year after McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari had split the honours. The other dominated the next four campaigns, and since then the bought-out former Brawn squad has swept every championship.

In 2021, overall triumph for McLaren and Ferrari, or any of the crowded midfield, seems unlikely at best. Once again, Mercedes (formerly Brawn) and Red Bull are set to do battle. But, having been soundly beaten for the past seven years, Red Bull is heading into F1’s latest campaign with perhaps its best chance of finally defeating Mercedes and reclaiming the crowns it last won in 2013. Such a turnaround is far from certain though, and both squads are playing up each other’s chances.

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