As the Formula One paddock roars back into action this weekend, over the next four days, we will look at all 20 drivers and rate their season so far.
Today we will look at Sergey Sirotkin, Romain Grosjean, Carlos Sainz, Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo.
I think it’s safe to say that the season hasn’t exactly gone to plan for Sergey Sirotkin. If the pressure of replacing Felipe Massa wasn’t enough, the lack of a fast car isn’t exactly helping. Sergey brings plenty of cash to the Williams team, however it still isn’t enough to make the car fast, and is, as of Austria, the only driver not to score a point in 2018.
Despite this, he has shown at times that he is capable of dragging the car into positions it really shouldn’t be in. Despite a best finish of 13th, he has made it to Q2 on multiple occasions this season, and is outscoring his teammate in the qualifying battle 7-5 so far in 2018.
Welcome back the Grosjean of old, the “first lap nutcase” is back! It really has been a step down for Romain. While teammate Magnussen is eighth in the championship, Grosjean has been involved in many accident’s this season so far, most notable of all being in Spain, when he spun out of control in turn three and took out 3 others in the process.
It all looked so promising to start with, when a fourth was on the cards for the Frenchman in Australia ended abruptly with a pit stop problem. He would become the second to last person to score a point in 2018, finishing fourth in Austria, however he still has only 21 points to his name this year and is only in 14th in the championship.
What makes matters worse is that there are rumours that he will be shown the door by Haas at the end of the season, and with no other teams looking to hire him, he may be in the closing months of his Formula One career.
Carlos joined Renault on loan for 2018, and has impressed alongside Nico Hulkenberg. Despite the German having the clear majority of the points scored at Renault, Carlos has made himself well noticed in the team, and has impressed enough for McLaren to hire him replacing Fernando Alonso for 2019.
His personal best of fifth came in the crazy Baku race and has scored on eight appearances in 2018, however his high came in Hungary when he was challenging for pole in a wet qualifying session.
Esteban Ocon has been doing a decent job for Force India this year, and if it wasn’t for Perez’s Baku podium, he’d be beating his teammate in the points. However the Frenchman has had a pretty mediocre season only scoring on five occasions.
The future won’t get easier for Ocon. The Frenchman was “nailed on” with a seat for Renault for 2019, however the announcement that Ricciardo will join Renault came as a shock to everyone. There is an option that he could stay at Force India, however, with Perez likely to to stay and Lance Stroll set to join as his father bought the team, the big question everyone is asking in the paddock now is, where will Esteban Ocon drive in 2019?
Daniel Ricciardo hasn’t had the best of season however the two wins in China and Monaco have been sublime. Daniel came fourth in Australia before not even making it 2 minutes in Bahrain, however he bounced back in style in China on an alternate strategy to win the race after making a stunning move on Valtteri Bottas for the race lead.
It was zero to hero to zero again in Azerbaijan after a collision with his teammate at the ended of the long front straight before claiming fifth in Spain. He qualified on pole in Monaco and despite engine problems for the majority of the race, he was able to hold off the challenge from Vettel and Hamilton.
He finished fourth on both occasions in Canada and France before a mechanical issue put pay to a fourth place on his birthday. A fifth in Silverstone kept him fourth in the championship, however a new engine meant a back of the grid penalty and despite a storming drive to sixth, the engine gave way. A shocking drive in the qualifying in Hungary meant Ricciardo missed out on Q3, however recovered to fourth during the race.
Meanwhile what lies ahead is an interesting challenge. He leaves Red Bull and joins Renault for 2019. The success may not come quickly, but he can sure develop that car into a race winner. Also, the last time a long-time driver left his home team for the team’s engine manufacturer works team, Lewis Hamilton. I’d say that’s gone pretty well so far.
Keep an eye out on The Steering Column all week for the rest of the mid season reports!