Ex-F1 world champion snubs Red Bulls 2023 dominance, deems McLaren’s heroic rise as the main ‘highlight’

McLaren finished the 2023 F1 season in fourth place ahead of Aston Martin.


Ex-F1 world champion snubs Red Bulls 2023 dominance, deems McLaren’s heroic rise as the main ‘highlight’

Lando Norris and Max Verstappen (Via IMAGO)

The Red Bull F1 team had a season to remember during 2023. They outperformed all their rivals in pretty much every department but despite their meteoric campaign, former 2-time world champion, Mika Haikknen, has claimed that McLaren’s run, this year, was the main highlight for him.

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The Woking-based team had a terrible start to their 2023 campaign, they were near the south end of the standings after the early few on-track tussles and were showing all the signs of a team in ruins. However, come the second leg, they were at their best almost every weekend, and that allowed them to end their campaign in a respectable fourth position. Mika Hakkinen believes that what Lando Norris and Co. pulled off was extremely rare and while talking about the same, he told Autosport;

Overall if I look the season, and talk about a team, I would say McLaren, where they started this year and where they end up in Abu Dhabi, the development what they have done with the car, that's that's the highlight for me!!

Looking at the reaction of the 55-year-old, it is safe to assume that he is incredibly pleased with what his former team was able to achieve this year. Moreover, he has indicated that it was a more noticeable campaign in comparison to Red Bulls’ 2023 campaign of the pinnacle of motor racing.

McLaren managed to hold onto fourth in a tight tussle with Aston Martin

While Mika Haikkenen has left no stone unturned in praising the McLaren F1 team, the latter had to put in a mighty shift to get ahead of the Silverstone-based Aston Martin. The two teams started their campaign on different ends, while McLaren was struggling, Fernando Alonso and Co. were impressing one and all at the front end of the grid.

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McLaren (Credits: Autosport)
McLaren (Credits: Autosport)

However, after a certain point, their form eventually dipped, and this allowed Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri to close the gap to them in the Constructors standings. As the McLaren duo kept racking up points consistently during the second leg, Aston Martin struggled further and fell to fifth place.

With the 2023 season done and dusted, the focus for all the team including McLaren, has shifted toward developing their 2024 car. The MCL60 has mixed fortunes this year, and considering this, it would be fascinating to see how the papaya outfits next year’s car would perform.

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