Red Bull enjoyed one of their strongest seasons ever, claiming 17 wins from 22 races to secure double-championship success for the first time since 2013.
Despite the off-track politics and disputes, Red Bull were close to flawless on it. Once early season reliability issues were addressed, Red Bull only failed to win three of the latter 19 races of the year.
World Champion Max Verstappen was the dominant force of the season, achieving a record-breaking 15 Grand Prix wins in a single season.
Speaking exclusively to RacingNews365.com during his successful Abu Dhabi GP weekend, Verstappen was asked which of the 22 races he felt was his strongest.
“Spa I would say,” responded Verstappen, before providing a bold prediction.
“The car was very good, but also I think everything just clicked. Sometimes you have these weekends where everything just feels amazing.
“I think even if we would have started last for that race, we would have still won it! That’s how competitive we were.”
Verstappen was then asked which race he believed was his worst performance, with RacingNews365.com suggesting the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend, which had the Dutchman finishing P4 in the Sprint, and P6 in the GP.
“In terms of general overall performance, [Brazil is] probably on par with Melbourne, we were also pretty bad there,” replied Verstappen.
“Just in general the pace was terrible. We had a lot of issues in qualifying, getting the balance right in the race and we were destroying the tyres. So that was probably pretty even.”
© Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Verstappen: Ferrari set themselves ‘tough’ challenges
Red Bull’s double championship success partly came from their ability to out-develop Ferrari – who started the season with arguably the fastest car – over the course of the season.
A strong run of midseason success for Red Bull gradually saw Ferrari and Charles Leclerc’s championship aspirations fade away.
Verstappen was asked if he believed his dominant performance at the Belgian GP was where he believed Ferrari’s championship ebbed away.
“I think it was France, personally,” replied Verstappen, referring to his victory which came after Charles Leclerc crashed out of the race.
“Because when you’re at such a big disadvantage already with the points [standings], it’s very hard [for rivals] to come back from.”
After the race at Paul Ricard, outbound Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto made an ambitious statement saying there was ‘no reason’ why Ferrari couldn’t win the remaining ten races.
This was something that Verstappen remembered from the aftermath of his French GP win, and suggested that Ferrari’s target was too tough.
“Even if I would have just done second [places finishes], P3, it’s really hard to win every single race,” commented Verstappen.
“They [Ferrari] said that right after [the French GP]: ‘We don’t see why we cannot win 10 races in a row’… it’s very hard to do.
“Even if you have the fastest car, to make zero mistakes and do that is very tough.”
Verstappen: Red Bull much-improved from 2016
Red Bull’s ascent to double-championship winners is a long way from the team that were only battling for occasional victories when Verstappen was promoted over six years ago.
In the races from the Dutchman’s sensational debut at the 2016 Spanish GP to the end of 2020, Red Bull achieved 14 Grand Prix wins.
Across their last two championship-challenging campaigns of 2021 and 2022, Red Bull’s achieved 28 race victories.
Verstappen was asked how the Red Bull team today compared to when he started racing for the team.
“They’re better now,” Verstappen affirmed.
“The communication between everyone, everyone knows exactly their role, staying calm in very pressured decisions.
“It’s consistently been growing. Having everything in place, with the car, with the engine, the whole package, it helps a lot.”