While Mercedes-Benz had yet another 1-2 finish at the Formula 1 season opener at Australia, there was a story of redemption brewing in Albert Park. That was Honda, and they have shown the world that they can, indeed - build an engine that can run with the big boys of the sport.
After years of struggling with pace and a difficult partnership with McLaren, the Japanese automaker seems to have found their match with Red Bull Racing. Formula 1 pundits initially met Red Bull Racing's move to Honda power with skepticism. Following Max Verstappen's podium finish at the 2019 Australian Grand Prix however, the move appears to have been the right one.
Verstappen wrung out the Honda-powered Red Bull during qualifying, netting him a fourth place start on the grid. On race day, the Dutch racer had a battle with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, and steamed past him on lap 30 entering a DRS zone. From there, the Red Bull just kept pulling away from the Ferrari as Verstappen then set his sights on Mercedes-Benz's Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen kept a consistent gap while trying to chase Hamilton, but ran out of laps to snatch second place from the reigning champion.
Despite not being able to pass Hamilton, Verstappen did what McLaren couldn't, which was give Honda their first podium since their return to the sport in 2015. The last time they were there, it was almost 11 years ago with Reubens Barrichello at the 2008 British Grand Prix.
There's another reason for Honda to celebrate too. Toro Rosso also scored a point with Daniil Kvyat finishing in tenth. It's also worth noting that all Honda-powered cars finished the race, showing the field that reliability has been improved from the McLaren days.