Nico Rosberg sees shades of Mercedes in a potential era of dominance for Red Bull after this year’s title double.
Max Verstappen is now a back-to-back Drivers’ World Champion and has a massive 124-point advantage over closest rival Charles Leclerc with three races of the season remaining.
And already Red Bull are Constructors’ champions, 187 points clear of Ferrari, having won 15 of the 19 races in 2022.
Verstappen has 13 victories and his team-mate Sergio Perez, who has two, could finish second to him in the standings, currently only two points behind Leclerc.
This century, apart from a five-year spell between 2005 and 2009, has been all about extended periods when one team has dominated – Ferrari (2000-2004), Red Bull (2010-13) and Mercedes (2014-21).
Rosberg was part of the first half of that Mercedes era, retiring straight after capturing the Drivers’ crown in 2016, and he senses Red Bull could be geared up to rule the roost again for the foreseeable future.
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“Red Bull are the dominant force at the moment in the way Mercedes were in all these past years,” said the German during Sky Sports F1’s Any Driven Monday programme.
“Securing that Constructors’ Championship as well so early, also having such a dominant team in every area at the moment, just as Mercedes had.
“They have the car, they have the development rate during a season, reliability now, they have the driver who’s the best or the equal best in F1 right now, they have the strategy – always nailing it all the time.
“It’s just all coming together in an incredible way, the engine seems to be awesome too.
“It’s definitely in a period now when it will be so difficult for any other team to come close again, even next year, the way it’s going at the moment because they have such momentum.”
Rosberg is clearly pained to see the problems his former team Mercedes have encountered with their W13 car, which have left his ex-colleague and rival Lewis Hamilton facing the prospect of a first winless campaign since his Formula 1 career began in 2007.
“It will be really tough for Ferrari or even Mercedes to get closer,” said the 37-year-old.
“For Mercedes, the Achilles heel is their straight-line pace – my goodness are they slow on a straight, especially compared to Red Bull.
“I really hope they manage to find the secret to unlock some pace down the straights.”