Last year, Mercedes defeated Red Bull twice at their home track, showing early in the season that they will be dominant yet again. Things are very different in 2021, with the Austrian outfit ready to reclaim the triumphs they enjoyed at the Red Bull Ring in 2018 and 2019.

Mercedes have now suffered three race defeats in a row, and it does not help that they are about to enter a double-header at the Red Bull Ring. After out-pacing and outsmarting Mercedes at Paul Ricard last week, which is notoriously a Mercedes track, Red Bull are going into the next race as clear favourites, and they know it. More importantly, Max Verstappen currently holds a 12-point advantage in the championship.

The RB16B appears to be delivering everything that it has promised, and the addition of Sergio Perez to the team has given Verstappen the support that he has been missing for the past several years. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is patting himself on the back for finally finding someone he can rely on to drive the second car and help the team take the fight to the Mercedes drivers consistently every race.

The relationship between Horner and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is increasingly becoming more hostile, with the pair throwing shade at each other more regularly out in public than ever before.

On the other hand, championship rivals Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have only grown to be more respectful of each other on the track and when they speak to the press. Hamilton is facing the prospect of losing his chance at an eighth world championship title, but his frustration is more often directed towards his own garage than his opponent.

"It's so many elements, not just one thing, last race there were lots of areas we lost position and if we'd done things differently it potentially could have had a different outcome. We look at our processes and how we communicate and how we deliver, and hopefully we can implement them here," said Hamilton ahead of the Styrian GP this weekend.

He says he has been working hard all week to try and turn things around. "I think we're very close. We're probably stronger than we are compared to qualifying," he added. Mercedes had taken many of their victories from pole position in the past, but even Ferraris are outqualifying them this year. A lot needs to change, and everyone at the Mercedes camp is working overtime to find answers.

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen
'Great fight': Lewis Hamilton held off Max Verstappen to win the Bahrain Grand Prix AFP / Giuseppe CACACE