Mercedes’ James Allison praised Red Bull’s title 2021 challenge in a season where both teams “got on each other’s t*ts”.
The battle over both the 2021 Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships truly did have it all, with the hard, thrilling racing on-track, often supported back in the paddock by Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and Red Bull’s Christian Horner hurling the verbal barbs.
But Allison, Mercedes’ chief technical officer, said that this is how it should be between two rival teams who pushed each other so hard in their respective title quests.
Max Verstappen ultimately beat Lewis Hamilton in the race to the Drivers’ Championship, the first of his career, but Mercedes kept their grasp on the Constructors’ crown.
Speaking at the FIA’s prize-giving gala in Paris, Allison said: “[We’ve] had the pleasure of fighting like cats and dogs all year – they’re brilliant opponents.
“We get on each other’s t**s a bit, but that’s how it should be!
“It was just a fantastic fight, so [we are] very grateful for that.”
Mercedes’ Constructors’ title success marked the eighth season in succession that they had captured this honour, further growing what was already a mighty Formula 1 record.
It was Allison in attendance to collect the trophy though rather than Wolff, who alongside Hamilton, had decided not to attend the gala following the late controversy in Abu Dhabi which had a direct impact on the outcome of the Drivers’ Championship.
Allison though gladly accepted the trophy in Wolff’s absence, paying tribute to the efforts of everyone at Mercedes for retaining their spot as the top Formula 1 team.
“It’s a very, very difficult thing to win one championship, to do two [is] quite remarkable, eight… words fail me,” he said.
“It is a brilliant group of people who work tirelessly and I can’t stress enough what a massive pleasure it is to be able to pick up this trophy today after a championship of such quality.”
Wolff and Hamilton returned to the Mercedes scene for an end-of-season celebration at their Brixworth engine base, recognising not only the Constructors’ title success, but also Valtteri Bottas’ career with the team.
After five seasons with Mercedes, Bottas will make the switch to Alfa Romeo from 2022.
Is this Red Bull's biggest F1 title?
Christian Horner believes that this is Red Bull's biggest title.