The first half of the season has been great, really great to watch and exciting. A lot has happened, but what I find so incredible about it is that Max Verstappen has built up such a huge lead.
If you look at all the races in isolation, you would expect a much more exciting battle for the title. The new rules are working well, drivers can follow each other much longer and be more aggressive in the race. That is a good sign. We have already seen some fine battles between Ferrari and Red Bull. Ferrari is just as strong, if not stronger. But Red Bull has such a huge lead. Nothing has been decided yet, there are still plenty of races to go. But if the trend continues, if Verstappen continues to drive at this level and Red Bull also continues to develop, it will be very difficult to stop them.
And Max is a machine, he’s simply not normal! He wasn’t even tired yesterday, I don’t think he even needs to go on holiday! He is driving so incredibly strongly this year, and the team is not making any mistakes. And if something goes wrong, he and Red Bull always create the best conditions to put things right. Yesterday he could have gone for damage limitation, he did not have to win but he did. That is how they go into the race, they don’t put any pressure on themselves and then play it extremely well.
Incidentally, it seems like the car is getting more and more into Verstappen’s rhythm. Sergio Pérez seems to have lost his mojo a little since Monaco, which is a bit strange. He has been struggling since the car was fitted with modifications, as if they work better with Verstappen’s driving style. Before that, it was the other way round, which is weird. That may be because Verstappen is more involved, but it is not the case that someone’s said: Now we are going to develop updates that will make Verstappen drive better and Pérez not.
Something else that amazed me yesterday were the decisions that were made. Formula 1 is the pinnacle, everything is top notch. Not just the drivers, but also the mechanics, engineers and strategists. How can multiple teams, not just Ferrari, make the decision to go for the hard tyre? Even after Alpine had shown that it was a worthless tyre. Were they not watching the race? Something is going terribly wrong there. It is incomprehensible that such a thing can happen in a sport which only employs the best of the best.
It was a wonderful weekend in Budapest. Despite the heat, the turnout was great, I have never seen so many people at a Hungarian GP. Many of those in the paddock – from drivers to staff to followers – are really in need of a holiday and we will see how everyone comes back. Russell has exceeded my expectations. I knew he was fast but he is above Lewis Hamilton and has given Mercedes its first pole of the year. But we are now seeing Hamilton react, and I think Mercedes could be second in the constructors’ standings. We will see – for now have a great holiday!