Red Bull recorded three wins in their first season with Honda power, scoring only two less points than they did in 2018. Here are all the facts and statistics from Red Bull’s 2019 season!
What were the expectations for Red Bull in the their first year with Honda? It’s difficult to really know, but a podium finish certainly got things off on the right foot. Red Bull finished third in the Constructors’ Championship for a third consecutive season, amassing two less points than they did in 2018 with Renault power.
Red Bull scored the same number of wins as Ferrari this year, with Max Verstappen claiming all three. Their first of the year, fittingly, came at their home race in Austria, and the Dutchman added to that in Germany and Brazil. He even guided them to three pole positions – their highest tally since their last championship-winning year – but a grid penalty in Mexico saw him start only third.
For all of Verstappen’s success, it was the other side of the garage which prevented Red Bull from challenging for second in the Constructors’ Championship. Pierre Gasly joined the team at the start of 2019, but proved to be uncompetitive in the high pressure environment. He finished in the top five only twice, with a best result of fourth at Silverstone, before being demoted back to Toro Rosso. Instead, Red Bull promoted rookie Alex Albon into the main team. While he too was unable to match Verstappen, Albon finished in the top five more consistently, with five top five results. That would have been six with a podium finish, had Lewis Hamilton not clattered into the side of him in Brazil.
Red Bull’s first year with Honda power had built a strong foundation for future success. The mission for 2020 is clear – to continue the upward development trend and be a real contender along with Mercedes and Ferrari.
A STATISTIC FOR EVERY GRAND PRIX
Australia: In 2019, Red Bull scored their first podium finish at the Australian Grand Prix since the 2013 event – not counting Daniel Ricciardo’s 2014 top three finish, from which he was later disqualified. On their first race with their new engine partner, Red Bull recorded the first podium finish for a Honda-powered car in the hybrid era, and the manufacturer’s first since the 2008 British Grand Prix.
Bahrain: The 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix was the first race to not feature a Red Bull driver on the podium since the 2018 Russian Grand Prix
China: The 2019 Chinese Grand Prix was the first time that Red Bull have failed to finish on the podium at the Shanghai International Circuit since 2015. For a second year in succession, the Red Bull pairing lined up fourth and fifth on the grid for the Chinese Grand Prix.
Azerbaijan: At the 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Pierre Gasly was eliminated in Q2, marking the first time a Red Bull driver has not reached the final part of qualifying at the Baku City Circuit. Both Red Bull drivers topped the timesheets in qualifying, with Pierre Gasly fastest in Q1 and Max Verstappen fastest in Q2. It’s the first time a team other than Mercedes or Ferrari have led a qualifying session at the track.
Spain: With Max Verstappen finishing third, the 2019 Spanish Grand Prix podium was the same as its 2018 counterpart. Red Bull have now finished on the podium at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in all of the last three seasons.
Monaco: Both Red Bull drivers recorded their best qualifying positions of the season so far at the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix. Max Verstappen lined up third on the grid, while Pierre Gasly lined up fifth.
Canada: Max Verstappen recorded his first Q2 exit since the 2018 United States Grand Prix, becoming the first Red Bull driver to not reach the final part of qualifying at the Canadian Grand Prix since David Coulthard in 2008.
France: For a second year in a row, a Red Bull driver finished fourth at the French Grand Prix. Ferrari, Renault and Toro Rosso also finished with one car in the same position as they did in the previous year’s race at Circuit Paul Ricard.
Austria: Max Verstappen won the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix for Red Bull. The win saw a Honda powered victory for the first time since Jenson Button won the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix. It was the second win for Honda power at the track, the first since Nigel Mansell won for Williams in 1987.
Britain: For the second time in three seasons, Red Bull finished fourth and fifth in the British Grand Prix. The result saw them become the fourth team to have surpassed 250 points scored at the British Grand Prix.
Germany: Improving on their Monaco qualifying result, both Red Bull drivers recorded the best qualifying positions of their careers to date. While Max Verstappen equalled his best result with second on the grid, Pierre Gasly recorded his personal best with fourth. Verstappen went on to win the race, securing Red Bull’s first win at the track. It made them the tenth team to be victorious here.
Hungary: Red Bull started from pole position for the first time since the 2018 Mexico Grand Prix, while this was the first Honda-powered pole position since Jenson Button took pole for the 2006 Australian Grand Prix. It was the 78th Honda-powered pole position overall. Verstappen became the fifteenth driver to take pole position at the Hungarian Grand Prix, giving Red Bull their first pole at the circuit since 2011.
Belgium: Despite Max Verstappen crashing out on the first lap of the 2019 Belgian Grand Prix, Red Bull maintained their record of one car finishing in the top five since their last double DNF at the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. That was thanks to Alex Albon recording a career-best fifth place finish on his debut outing with the team. He became the eleventh different driver to start a race with Red Bull.
Italy: After suffering engine issues in qualifying for the 2019 Italian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen recorded Red Bull’s first Q1 exit at Monza since David Coulthard in 2007.
Singapore: Red Bull were deemed by some to be the favourites heading into the Singapore Grand Prix, but that proved not to be the case. 2019 marks the first time that no Red Bull driver has appeared in the top three on the grid at the Marina Bay Circuit since 2008 and the first time that neither of the team’s drivers have finished in the top two at the track since 2009. Max Verstappen’s third place in the race means that Red Bull have appeared on the podium in every Singapore Grand Prix this decade. This is a rare occurrence for a team. From current circuits, Ferrari are the only other team to have scored a podium finish in every year of a decade at a single track. They did it at Monza back in the 1950s!
Russia: Alex Albon became the first Red Bull driver to have been eliminated in Q1 at the Russian Grand Prix. It led to a Red Bull driver gaining a lot of places in the race for a second year in a row. In 2018, Max Verstappen gained 14 positions from nineteenth to fifth in the Russian Grand Prix. In 2019, Albon gained fifteen positions from the pit lane to fifth. Meanwhile, Verstappen recorded Red Bull’s best ever finish at the track with fourth, and this was the first time both Red Bull drivers have finished in the top five in Russia.
Japan: At the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix, Max Verstappen recorded Red Bull’s first retirement at Suzuka since David Coulthard failed to finish in 2006. On the other side of the Red Bull garage, Alex Albon recorded a career-best fourth place, marking the first time that a Honda-powered car has scored at Suzuka since Jenson Button finished fourth in 2006.
Mexico: Although Max Verstappen was given a grid penalty, he secured Red Bull the fastest qualifying time for a second year in a row at the Mexico Grand Prix. Neither Verstappen nor Alex Albon finished on the podium, making this the first Mexico race to not feature a Red Bull driver on the podium since 2015.
United States: Despite pitting after sustaining damage on the first lap of the 2019 United States Grand Prix, Alex Albon finished fifth, while Max Verstappen finished on the final step of the podium. It made this the first United States Grand Prix which both Red Bull drivers have finished since 2014.
Brazil: In 2019, Red Bull took their first Brazilian Grand Prix pole and win since 2013. Red Bull have now taken pole position in both F1 qualifying sessions held on Team Principal Christian Horner’s birthday. The last qualifying session to be held on his birthday was for the 2013 United States Grand Prix, where Sebastian Vettel took pole. They became the fifth team to take 62 pole positions and the first to reach that number since Mercedes at the 2016 British Grand Prix. They recorded their 62nd win the day after. It was the first time a Honda-powered car has won the Brazilian Grand Prix since Ayrton Senna won with McLaren in 1991. Max Verstappen led 57 laps on his way to victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix. It means that Honda-powered cars have now led over 5,000 laps of Grands Prix.
Abu Dhabi: Max Verstappen was fastest in Free Practice 1 for the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It was the first time a team other than Mercedes or Ferrari have been fastest in either a practice or qualifying session at the circuit in the hybrid era. Meanwhile, Max Verstappen’s second place finish saw the team record their best result at the track in the hybrid era.
After graduating from the University of Hull in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its fifth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and GPDestinations. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.