With three races in as many weeks, starting this afternoon at the Paul Richard Circuit for the French Grand Prix, Formula One fans are in for a real treat as the rivalry between Red Bull and Mercedes really starts to heat up.
Following on from France, the season heads to Styria between June 25-27 and then to the Austrian GP between July 2-5.
The rivalry between the two manufacturers and their drivers, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, is shaping up to be the best we’ve seen on the grid in recent memory with very little separating either. As it stands, Dutchman Verstappen has taken a razor-thin four point lead over Hamilton in the Drivers’ Standings while Red Bull lead Mercedes by 26 points in the Constructor’s Standings.
The next three weeks could prove to be pivotal for both drivers and their teams but with Mercedes bidding to bounce back from their worst two-race stretch in nine years after defeats at Monaco and Azerbaijan, and with Verstappen sitting on pole for this race, the German automaker and Hamilton, who is looking to break Michael Schumacher’s record for world titles this season, could find themselves with a lot of work to do.
"It's been a difficult weekend because we are just lacking pace," Mercedes' Toto Wolff told Sky F1. "That's the truth.
"It looked much worse than in the end where we ended up, but we just need to gain everywhere.
"There is not one part that we are not looking at in order to improve our game."
Paul Ricard track has been one of many Mercedes most beloved circuits in recent years, claiming every pole and race win since its return to the calendar in 2018 but Verstappen emphatically outpaced Hamilton to take top spot in qualifying for the first time since the season-opener.
"If we can beat them here then really we can beat them anywhere," admitted Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.
Sunday's race starts at 2pm on Sky Sports F1.