Formula 1 chief Ross Brawn believes the nature of the 2021 title fight has emphasised “what we’ve been missing” in recent seasons.
Red Bull claimed the lead of the standings in Monaco, following Max Verstappen’s victory, which marked the first time since mid-2018 that Mercedes did not head either championship.
Red Bull’s third victory on the bounce at Sunday’s French Grand Prix lifted the team 37 points clear of Mercedes in the Constructors’ standings.
Verstappen’s win enabled him to extend his advantage over Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers’ fight to 12 points.
Mercedes finished 1-2 in the Drivers’ championship in both 2019 and 2020 as it comfortably extended its unbeaten record in the hybrid era.
“What we are seeing now is a classic championship fight and it makes us realise what we’ve been missing these last few years,” said Brawn in his usual post-race column.
“We’d love an inter-team fight for the championship, and if we can’t have that, we want two team-mates fighting for the title.
“We have been lacking both of those things since Nico Rosberg won his championship in 2016, so it’s great to see a real tooth and nail fight.
“And it’s being done in a good spirit, between drivers and between teams. There’s the normal banter and the technical debates [that] are all part of the landscape of F1.”
Brawn went on to praise the performances of both Verstappen and Hamilton following a grand prix that was only determined on the penultimate lap.
“What Lewis demonstrated was his ability to bring more out of the tyres in difficult circumstances compared with Valtteri, who obviously took more out of tyres,” said Brawn.
“Lewis is a master of eking out performance. I still wasn’t convinced that even five laps from the end, Max was going to do it, so impressive was Lewis on that stint. It could have gone either way.
“Max’s passion and agony in the middle of the race, when the pressure was so intense, was infectious.
“Those guys were driving at a pace they all knew they couldn’t maintain but nobody wanted to blink first and pit. It was fabulous watching the race evolve from a slow burner to humdinger.”