Aston Martin's speed was a resounding surprise at the beginning of the season, with the AMR23 breaking cover and immediately looking fast.
The green cars of Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll ran smoothly in pre-season testing, with the team knowing it was in the gaggle behind Red Bull, as Alonso claimed six podiums in the first eight races of the year, including second in Monaco as Red Bull won every one of those races.
The team could not quite keep up with the development rate of other teams, and would sink into the second half of the season, suddenly fighting on the fringes of the points instead of for podiums.
Alonso bagged another podium finish in Brazil to provide a needed boost, but as ambassador Pedro de la Rosa, states in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365 Aston Martin had no illusions when things did go very well in the first half of the season.
"I think we knew how difficult it would be to beat Red Bull," De la Rosa says.
"Everything had to fall our way and they had to make some mistakes. In hindsight, I don't think anyone was close enough to really put pressure on Red Bull and make mistakes.
"And that's why they didn't make any mistakes, that's the reality. But I think we came very close in Monaco, the closest we've ever come. However, Red Bull always had an advantage."
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"It's irrelevant where you finish."
The Spaniard, who himself drove for Jordan, Arrows, Jaguar, McLaren, Sauber and HRT in F1, saw that Red Bull had no weaknesses.
"Their advantage you saw in qualifying and if it wasn't in qualifying, they did have the advantage in terms of tyre wear in the race," he says.
"So they simply had no weaknesses and were incredibly good in terms of race speed. That was ultimately the key to success, because if they were beaten at one point in qualifying, it was already clear that the other teams didn't have enough speed in the race.
"In Monaco we were able to challenge them, but they were still too strong. We will try again next season."
De la Rosa also has no idea whether any team can really beat Red Bull in 2024. "The honest answer is that I don't know. Nobody knows. It depends mainly on how far Red Bull can develop its package, as they approach perfection.
"The closer you get to 100% within the regulations, the harder it becomes to find extra lap time."
Aston Martin is not looking at Red Bull for now, adds the 52-year-old.
"We have to concentrate on ourselves and make sure that it doesn't matter what other people do.
"We will continue to improve and develop and have no specific goals. We should only set goals in terms of development speed, not a position in the championship.
"It is irrelevant where you finish. It's only important how far behind the winner you finish and catch up in a year. And we have been very strong at that in the last two years: closing the gap to the driver in pole position."