POLL: Red Bull dominance, or Mercedes recovery

what has impressed you most: Red Bull's dominance of 2022, or Mercedes' recovery

What has impressed you the most: Red Bull’s dominance of 2022, or Mercedes’ recovery?

George Russell’s victory in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix signaled a remarkable Mercedes recovery in a Formula 1 season dominated by Red Bull.

With that in mind, we want to know what impressed you the most: Red Bull’s dominance of 2022, or Mercedes’ recovery from a difficult start.

Max Verstappen wrapped up the drivers’ championship at the Japanese Grand Prix, his second on the bounce, while it took Red Bull a race longer to mathematically seal the constructors’ crown.

It is the team’s first title since Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber raced for the operation in 2013, the last in its four-year run of success in that competition.

Prior to this year, Mercedes had taken the team’s mantle in an unprecedented run of eight constructors’ crowns starting in 2014.

However, the advent of new aerodynamic regulations has seen something of a shakeup, if not a complete reset of the Formula 1 pecking order.

Red Bull and Ferrari proved quick out of the gates, the latter initially looking the stronger of the two as Charles Leclerc claimed honors in two of the first three races of the season.

Since then, the tide has turned and it has been the Milton Keynes operation that has controlled the season – often without the fastest car.

Ferrari’s last win came in Austria in July, while Red Bull went unbeaten from the summer break until Sunday’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

From the Belgian Grand Prix, Verstappen won eight of the next nine races, with teammate Sergio Perez successful in Singapore.

As the Red Bull steamroller gathered speed, Ferrari’s challenge waned.

A combination of driver errors, strategic blunders, and reliability issues cost the team dearly, and by the French Grand Prix, Leclerc’s once bright title hopes were all but extinguished.

The Scuderia now sits just 19 points clear of a resurgent Mercedes heading into the final round of the season.

That fact shows not only how far the Italian team has fallen, having once led the constructors’ championship to now sit 195 points behind Red Bull, but also the rise of the Silver Arrows.

It has been a difficult campaign for the Brackley operation.

A team used to victory, and dominating the sport, it was left licking its wounds and scratching its head when the year got going.

Not only did it lose ground to both Red Bull and Ferrari, but it was seemingly listless when it came to finding a direction that worked with the W13.

The car was blighted by proposing issues throughout the early part of the season, reducing the team to sniping away at podiums when possible – its early results were more a case of capitalizing on the misfortune of others than outright performance.

Over the course of the year, that needle has begun to shift.

An update was introduced for the Spanish Grand Prix and while it wasn’t a silver bullet it did seem to improve things.

However, it took time to understand and results remained inconsistent.

Some weekends things would fall into place, and Mercedes would emerge a strong contender, only for that challenge to be blunted next time out, and the team unable to explain exactly why.

So bad was its early form that there was discussion of simply abandoning the current concept and changing direction, although team boss Toto Wolff maintained that understanding the issues it was facing was a paramount consideration – in many respects more important than the on-track results.

There is no doubt progress has been made.

In Zandvoort, Hamilton proved Verstappen’s greatest challenger, and he was in with a shot of victory late in the race at the United States Grand Prix too.

Then came Mexico City, where again Mercedes proved to be Red Bull’s strongest competitor.

Hamilton was again only second but it was clear the team was more on top of the W13 – it was more competitive, with the team demonstrating pace on a number of different styles of tracks.

It’s a remarkable turnaround, a credit to those at Brackley that, on Sunday, it converted that potential into an important one-two result, Russell ahead of Hamilton.

Ferrari may remain second in the constructors’ championship, for now, but Mercedes has emerged as Red Bull’s strongest rival.

And it comes at a time when results have an impact on teams, giving them confidence, morale, and motivation heading into the winter.

Mercedes has its tail up. It has a clear direction and has shown not only that it can dominate the sport, but that it has the character to dig deep and reverse its fortunes.

The question we ask you, however, is whether that is more impressive than Red Bull’s performance throughout 2022.

Verstappen has claimed a record 14 wins, and Perez two, in a year in which he has not always enjoyed the strongest car.

That speaks to a complete team from a technical, operational, and execution standpoint.

Mercedes has had a different battle, an internal one, a markedly different challenge it has not faced in the better part of a decade.

Which performance catches your eye most; Red Bull’s dominance or Mercedes’ recovery? Cast your vote below in this week’s Pirtek Poll.

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