With ten of the twenty races of the 71st Formula 1 season complete, one point between the top two championship contenders and one race to go before the midseason break, what better time to take a look back at all of the goings on so far…
We’ve had controversy, quick cars, an array of winners and remarkable rookies in just ten races and with all that already gone, we really cannot wait to see what the rest of the season has in store for us!
Let’s begin with the real stars of the sport shall we, that’s right, the cars, as although the preseason testing saw the mighty machines travelling at speeds that were a whopping five seconds faster than last years recorded times, the start of the season was plagued with doubt as to whether the wider cars would mean that we would see less of the exciting over takes that we all love.
Well put it this way, in the Chinese Grand Prix, rising star Max Verstappen climbed 13 places from 16th to third, passing nine cars in the first lap alone…
…If that’s not over taking, we don’t know what is, and the race in Shanghai featured fifty four overtakes on the whole, of which just ten were done using DRS!
And the rest of the season has seen some amazing overtakes and wheel to wheel racing, so we really don’t know what we were worrying about.
And thanks to the nature of the new cars, we now have a truly unpredictable season on our hands.
The season got underway to a great start in Australia, when the Silver Arrows were finally thrown from the top spot, as Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took the chequered flag ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
Things then only got better in the three races that followed, which again saw Vettel but also Hamilton and Bottas claim the top spot too, making it three different winners in four races.
Add Daniel Riccardo into the mix in Azerbaijan and we now have four championship contenders, with ten races to go!
And due to the crazy British Grand Prix, which saw Vettel’s tyre burst on the last lap, there is now only one championship point between the German and Lewis, leaving us extremely hungry to see what Hungary has to offer us on the 30th of July.
With unpredictability comes an epic championship battle…
…Which leads us nicely onto what is quite possibly one of the best title fights the sport has seen in years, yep, I’m talking about the one between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, who are currently running first and second in the standings.
Having an impressive seven championship titles between them, we knew that when the day came that these two were finally given cars that could compete with each other, we were in for some exciting, edge of the seat battles.
And the pair seemed to be enjoying the wheel to wheel racing as much as us, well up until Baku that is…
Yep, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix saw the championship battle turn a little bit nasty, when Sebastian Vettel saw red, and no we’re not talking about his Ferrari.
The German thought that Hamilton had break checked him, and retaliated by purposefully wheel bashing the Mercedes driver.
Vettel received a ten second penalty during the race but was met with an awful lot of backlash after the chequered flag, as people argued that the penalty wasn’t harsh enough.
Eventually Vettel was sent to stand before the FIA in Paris, where he received a slap on the wrist and a telling off from Jean Todt, before the matter was put to bed.
Although many people still think Sebastian deserved a harsher punishment, whatever your verdict, it certainly did get everyone talking about Formula 1 and at least the pair seem to be back on good terms, for now…
However, we really can’t wait to see what the following races hold for these two, we just hope the action is more civilised like the battle the pair had for first place in Barcelona, at the Spanish Grand Prix!
And we can’t forget about the amazing rookie performances
Force India are on course to clinch 4th place in the constructor’s championship, but it’s not just the competitive car that the team can owe their success too…
Sergio Perez continues to impress, being a consistent point scorer for the team but its new comer Esteban Ocon who’s got people talking in and out of the paddock.
The 20 year old has been putting pressure on his Mexican team mate ever since the season started in Melbourne, where he scored his first ever F1 point and obtained the first of his five straight top ten finishes.
After an unfortunate DNF in Monaco, he was back at it again in Canada, Azerbaijan Austria and now the UK, making us and his team very happy.
We’ve also been impressed by Lance Stroll, the 18 year old Canadian was brought to Williams to replace Massa and race alongside Bottas, but he actually ended up racing with Massa and replacing Bottas, confusing we know.
Anyway, at 18 years and 239 days old, Stroll become the second ever youngest podium finisher, when he came third place in Azerbaijan.
Scoring points in Montreal, Baku and Austria, it looks like the rookie is slowly but surely finding his feet and we are excited to see what’s to come for the 18 year old.
And finally, with the midseason break comes ‘Silly Season’
That’s right folks, it has quickly come back around to that time again and we are well and truly in silly season with the first driver who is up on the market, being the one and only, Fernando Alonso.
After three turbulent years with McLaren-Honda, we are not surprised that the double world champion wants to leave the team for pastures new…and a car that doesn’t breakdown almost every race… But where is the Spaniard rumoured to go?
Well we know that he wants to be in a race winning car next year, so if this season is anything to go by that just leaves Ferrari, Mercedes and Red bull as options, but all three teams seemed to have shut the door on poor Fernando at the Austrian GP weekend.
Ferrari’s ‘big boss’ Sergio Marchionne was even quoted saying that he isn’t interested in the slightest in having Fernando back at Ferrari.
Maybe he could leave the F1 scene altogether, he’s already ventured away from the sport this year, when he headed stateside to compete in the Indy 500, missing the legendary Monaco GP. Could this have been a sign of things to come?
Carloz Sainz Jnr is also another driver who is currently being discussed amid the 2018 season, after he said it was unlikely he would race with Toro Rosso for a fourth year.
And the rumour circulating at the moment is that he could be out of Red Bull’s sister team as early as the end of this month, with him set to replace Palmer at Renault in Hungary, but both Christian Horner and Renault’s Abiteboul have already quashed these rumours.
2018 is also looking uncertain for Kimi and it’s currently not looking good for the Finn, whose contract is up with Ferrari at the end of 2017.
The team feel that he is not providing the results that they are looking for, with Sergio Marchionne labelling him a ‘laggard’ just a few weeks ago.
Raikkonen has barley matched Vettel’s pace in 2017 and currently lags eighty eight points behind his team mate in the standings, with his best result being when he came 2nd place at the Monaco GP in May.
He provided an excellent drive in Silverstone though, after a random type blow out on the second to last lap, saw the Finn lose second place, he managed to bring the car home in third after an emergency pit stop.
Hopefully this will be enough for the mighty Marchionne to save his career for another year.
And, even after all that, the story of the year could still be to come, after claims that Robert Kubica could potentially be returning to the sport.
After seven years away due to a rally incident which left his right arm partially severed and led to a long rehabilitation process, is it even possible that the thirty two year old, Polish driver could make a full F1 return?
Well, he has been testing with Renault recently and has apparently clocked up some pretty impressive times, so who knows, it really would be great to see him back on the grid.
So, with 10 races still to go and by the sounds of it, a lot to look forward to next year also, make sure you don’t miss out on the action. Join Leger Holidays on one of our Formula 1 Motorsport breaks and be a part of this F1 era.