The speed trap made great reading for Honda in Australia. In their first race with Red Bull, it was evident the Japanese engine manufacturer's performance had improved, while reliability was strong, too, and they left Melbourne with their first podium in over a decade. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was pretty impressed, suggesting Honda have “made a huge step forward” with their power unit - so much so that he expects Red Bull to be in championship contention in 2019.
Honda had their backs against the wall after a dreadful three years with McLaren. But after a rebuilding year with Toro Rosso in 2018 followed by a super winter test period, they entered the new season on the front foot with Red Bull.
“Honda has certainly made a huge step forward,” said Wolff. “If you look at the speed trace it looks a very different Red Bull than before. They are very fast on the straights and that is good to see because we want them in the mix and to have a great fight.
“I’m really happy for Honda. It’s their first podium since their return [to F1 in 2015] and they deserve it. They went through some really tough times. Seeing the Honda on the podium and seeing how happy the guys are is great.”