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Is the papaya championship campaign crumbling?

Written by Benjamin Crundwell, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

Image Credit - Motor 1

It’s been 16 years since Lewis Hamilton won the drivers championship in 2008, and McLaren haven’t had such success since. The team stayed competitive for a few years, winning 20 more Grands-Prix before 2012, but went winless for nine years in a valley of low performance, until Daniel Ricciardo took a shock win at Monza in 2021. 

Image Credit - News24

Over the last two years, McLaren have been competing at the top in the hands of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, and have risen to become Red Bull’s biggest challengers in 2024. 

The first four races were a slow start to the season, but Norris took a spectacular sprint pole in China. He even took his maiden win at Miami, after the team introduced upgrades to their challenger,  the first sign of Red Bull having chinks in their armour.

In Emilia Romagna Norris went on a late charge, finishing just three quarters of a second behind championship leader Max Verstappen. In Monaco, Oscar Piastri had the fastest lap in qualifying when his fastest of each sector was put together, however he just missed pole and resultantly the win. 

At the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Norris’ fortune swung in the wrong direction when he was leading the race, leaving him to fight for just second place. In Barcelona, Norris put it on pole, then missed out on a race win after a slow start. 

Most recently, the Briton pulled the short straw in a tussle with Verstappen at the Red Bull Ring, which left him out of the race, while Verstappen salvaged ten points in fifth place. Piastri picked up second place, unlucky to have missed out on his maiden win.

Image Credit - Formula One

Having secured seven consecutive top-two finishes, Mclaren are strong contenders for the constructors and drivers championship. 

Although, It’s becoming less doubtful that McLaren have the strongest car, as they have been unable to take advantage of every opportunity, while Max Verstappen has managed to continue to extend his championship lead despite not always having the fastest car, or at times even the second fastest car.

It was clear after Monaco that if another team wanted to beat Verstappen and Red Bull they had to take every opportunity they were presented. However, McLaren missed out on multiple wins when they looked to have the fastest car, like in Barcelona. 

Lando Norris is now second in the championship, 81 points behind Verstappen, and McLaren are third in the championship, 87 points behind Red Bull. If McLaren had taken advantage of every opportunity, the standings would be looking very different. 


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