Mark Webber has no doubt that Mercedes currently hold a slight advantage over Red Bull Racing in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. The Australian is unsure if his former team is providing Max Verstappen the car needed to close out the title going into the final six races of the campaign.
The Dutch racer goes into the race in Austin on Oct. 24 with a slim six-point advantage over Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers’ championship, but recent races have shown that Mercedes are now ahead in terms of race pace. Verstappen has been fortunate in the last two races in Sochi and Istanbul to pick up 36 points with two second-place finishes.
The Silver Arrows have shown superior pace in both races by taking pole position comfortably ahead of the Red Bull car. Moreover, Webber was at a loss to explain Bottas’ dominant showing in Turkey, which saw Verstappen finish a distant 15 seconds behind the Mercedes in second place.
“Valtteri drove a great grand prix off the front,” Webber said, as quoted on GP Blog. “I think that my little concerns off the back of all that are have Red Bull, are they giving Max the car for closing this championship out?”
“I would have lost a lot of money for Valtteri to have the measure of Max in those conditions. I thought Verstappen would run rings around him all day long but he couldn’t react to the speed of Valtteri.”
“So it was interesting just in terms of performance, dry and wet, and I think Red Bull know they need to react to the Merc pace now,” he added.
Mercedes introduced a new power unit in Bottas’ car in Russia and did the same with Hamilton’s car at the Turkish Grand Prix. Christian Horner questioned the legality of the new power unit and believes it has given their rivals a pace advantage, especially on the straights.
The FIA has deemed the new Mercedes PU legal, and Webber feels Red Bull will now have to react if they want to stay alive in the championship in the final six races. The Aussie racer, who was part of Red Bull when they last won the title in 2013, feels Mercedes have the momentum going into the crucial part of the championship.
“I think right now you would have to think that the Merc has the advantage,” Webber said. “So I think they are just starting to get a bit more of a spring in their step at this crucial point in the championship.”