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Red Bull Racing

F1 champion voices Red Bull concern after McLaren victory

McLaren returned to the top step of the podium last time out at the Miami Grand Prix, with Lando Norris prevailing ahead of Max Verstappen.

Norris Miami
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1996 Formula 1 world champion Damon Hill has detailed why Red Bull should be concerned by McLaren after its win in Miami.

Lando Norris secured his maiden grand prix victory around the Miami International Autodrome earlier this month.

McLaren has been slowly building towards the front of the pecking order after introducing major upgrade packages in 2023 following a slow start to the campaign.

According to Hill, McLaren's strong turnaround in form should be a worry for reigning world champions Red Bull, who has been defeated twice in the opening six rounds.

“They did something really bold, which was they threw their original car in the bin and went, ‘Okay, this is not the way. We need to revert to the way we think has got more potential',” Hill told the F1 Nation podcast.

“Since they've done that, they've built on that time and time again and actually caught up. Their rate of progress has to be the fastest in F1. 

“Since maybe the middle of last year, their rate of progress in development in terms of lap time gained, I wouldn't be surprised if they're the one on the steepest curve going forward. 

“That has to be a little bit concerning for Red Bull, obviously it gets more difficult the closer you get to the optimum, but their rate of progress has been phenomenal.”

Further gains

Norris stated after his victory that McLaren can “100 per cent” challenge for the title next year - a prospect McLaren CEO Zak Brown has stated would “end in tears”.

While it produced a strong performance to defeat Red Bull in Miami, Hill has called on McLaren to extract more potential from the car across the weekend.

“It was always if they carried on with that route, it was always inevitable they'd win a race,” he said. 

“For them to be super confident, they will have to out-qualify the Red Bulls, get pole position and lead the race, gradually increasing their lead and getting the fastest lap.

“Then we'll hear more of Max's complaining about understeer! He did not like the fact that he couldn't catch up, we haven't seen that this year when he's had to push.

“What does the car do? Where is the limit of that Red Bull?  I think that Miami showed that somewhere, there is a limit. I know there was talk about the car being damaged, but he [Verstappen] refuted that.”

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look ahead at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The trio discuss last season's cancelled race at Imola, whether McLaren's Miami pace is genuine and if Mercedes teenage sensation Andrea Kimi Antonelli will make his debut before he turns 18.

Want to watch the podcast instead of just listening? Check it out here.

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