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  • Writer's pictureBen Waterworth

British Grand Prix talking points: McLaren strikes back but will it last?

It’s been a few days since Florence Pugh waved the British Grand Prix to a close but as always in the world of F1, there is plenty to talk about.

We saw the resurgence of a team in orange, an Aussie wunderkind finally showcase his skills and a story of two Dutchmen.

There’s also the matter to bring you some power rankings of both the driver and constructor variety at the end of this article.

Are you ready for this? Let’s get to it!

Orange resurgence comes at the right time, but how long will it last?

Every single McLaren fan is still smiling days after the British Grand Prix.

After initially bringing in upgrades in Austria to a slight improvement that saw Lando Norris bank an impressive fourth, the team fully took advantage of them for Silverstone which landed Norris on the front row on Saturday and second on the Sunday, with Aussie teammate Oscar Piastri qualifying a career-best third and finishing a career-best fourth.

To put that improvement into context, they scored more than double their points in one race than they had in the previous nine races of the season so far.

It was an impressive performance by the papaya team, but can it last the rest of the season?

Silverstone of course is a unique track in that it is a high speed circuit that rewards teams with a strong chassis design, something which clearly was a strength of the McLaren team.

Put that into context with the next round in Hungary, a low speed, tight and twisty high aero circuit that is basically Monaco without the walls and glamour.

That was a race in which McLaren struggled, with Norris only finishing tenth and Piastri in 11th.

(Photo by Qian Jun/MB Media/Getty Images)

So while McLaren fans can be happy right now, let’s check in with them in two weeks’ time to see if this rise is the real deal or just a flash in the pan moment.

Piastri finally delivers

It was a much-needed result for Aussie Oscar Piastri in Silverstone.

So far in 2023 he had failed to deliver the promise that was heavily placed around the contract drama in 2022 as well as his incredible junior career.

Prior to Silverstone he had scored a mere 5 points compared to Norris, who had scored 24. He had also been out-qualified by Norris 8-1 and out-raced 6-3 in the opening nine rounds.

But Silverstone was the race in which we finally saw the true Piastri. A superb qualifying to get him into third, and only missing out on a debut podium by the bad timing of the safety car for him.

Considering this was the first race in which he had access to the McLaren upgrades introduced in Austria, it’s extra promising to see him so close to Norris and to the front of the pack.

Similar to my point above, we need more time to see just how much McLaren have truly improved, but if this is the real deal for the team, then the real deal that is Piastri will finally get a chance to show just why he is so highly rated.

The tale of two Dutchmen

One Dutch driver in Silverstone continued to smash records. The other drove what is more than likely to be his last ever F1 race.

F1 is funny, isn’t it?

Max Verstappen continued to dominate everything around him by securing his sixth consecutive win and his eighth of the season, to increase his lead in the Championship to a whopping 99 points.

Meanwhile Nyck de Vries struggled once again for AlphaTauri, languishing down in 17th place to finally have his fate at the team secured with the announcement that he has been dropped and to be replaced by Daniel Ricciardo.

It seems both drivers have had a rapid storyline in 2023: Verstappen’s rapid rise from dominance to utter, utter, utter dominance, and de Vries’ rapid fall from super-sub to incredibly underwhelming and the first causality of the F1 season.

(Photo by Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

It’s safe to say that those orange army fans still have plenty to cheer about come Zandvoort next month with only one driver on the grid.

Red Bull record watch

That’s now 11 wins in a row for Red Bull, drawing them level with McLaren for most consecutive wins by a team in the history of F1.

Win in Hungary and they’ll set a new standard for team dominance. By winning that race, they’ll also equal the most consecutive wins by a team from the start of the season, which is that magical 11 set by McLaren in that magical 1988 season.

The most amazing thing about these records and Red Bull’s quest for a perfect season, is that even if they win in Hungary to keep their streak alive, they would’ve only just reached the halfway point of the season. Which means that while 11 races from the start of the season in a row is impressive, they have to do it all again for the second half of the year to ensure 100 per cent can be achieved.

One thing is for sure, if they keep going how they are, it’s not impossible.

Ricciardo’s spectacular return

Six months ago the prospect of seeing Daniel Ricciardo race in 2023 was slim to none. Now we are only just over a week away from seeing the honey badger return to a place that loves him so much.

It’s an incredible turnaround of fortune from Ricciardo, who seemingly had fallen out of love with the sport and looked like he had lost his place in the top-tier driver queue.

It’s a big risk by AlphaTauri and Red Bull to put him in this early to see if he is up to the task of performing in a car that has been generally the worst car of 2023 so far. Get it right, and he will be right back in the conversation for better seats in 2024 and beyond. Get it wrong, and his career will well and truly be over.

Considering the reported times he set in the 2023 Red Bull RB19 at the Pirelli tyre test over the last couple of days would’ve seen him start on the front row last weekend, it’s clear he still has the pace in him. It’s just whether that pace can be on show for a much much slower car.

For Australian F1 fans though we’ll be rejoicing either way, as for the first time in nearly a decade, we will have two Aussie drivers on the grid.

This article was originally written for The Roar. You can read the published version here


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