Today is the first day of the return of F1 after the summer break and so, the final part of our mid season review. With recent developments, some ratings have definitely been affected!
Lewis has once again showed his talent this year with five wins including two on the bounce just before the break. It’s tough to criticise him in some respects since the team as a whole is so strong and he looks really comfortable in the car at most circuits.
This season has been a lot closer up until this point, with a non Mercedes car in Vettel constantly pushing the Brit. He hasn’t been perfect of course, with some questionable incidents in qualifying and first laps of races. Most notably at Silverstone and Germany. Although these did allow him to show his strength of character by knuckling down and getting decent points, and even winning at the latter after his rival crashed out.
He hasn’t really had to deal with much on the team front, his position is solidified for as long as he wants it, with Mercedes opting to extend the contract for Bottas as his ‘wingman’.
Although he’s not showing the same dominance from previous years, he is hard to fault and has momentum going into the second half of the season.
2018 looks like the year that Vettel really needs to stamp his mark on a Ferrari, they don’t seem to have ever been stronger in the hybrid era and reliability, on the whole has been good.
With only retirement this season, his stock looks good this year, four wins and a solid run of results meant he lead the championship for a while, even when beaten by Hamilton in some races. Germany was costly though, an unforced error dropped him out of the race and lost vital points to the Brit. He does seem to sometimes give in to the pressure and expectations, although as a four time champion, surely he can shake that?
Spa will be a big test of his mental strength, he really needs to come back and win, the car should be fast, having consistently had good straight line speed, so that will be no excuse.
Like Hamilton, his position is secure, he’s a clear number one driver at Ferrari and potentially they are waiting to see if he wins before they bring in the youngster, Leclerc to replace his wingman, Raikkonen.
The Hulk has always been a strong driver and able to tussle with most of the field. This season, he has scored some solid points for the team, consistently around the 5th-9th marker in most cases.
He has made some mistakes though, in Baku, for example, he his the wall and retired. He has also had several reliability issues, an engine fire in Austria being the most notable.
He doesn’t seem to let these niggling issues get the best of him, however, I would say this is down to his spirit and the fact that he can see the future with the team. They’re really pushing hard both on and off the track. Recent signing Daniel Ricciardo should be proof of that. This will be a big test for him though, Daniel is a worthy rival to any driver on the grid.
2018 is looking to be Nico’s best finish in the driver standings, currently sat 7th, if reliability holds up, he could still be ‘best of the rest’.
Poor old Marcus has been somewhat outshone by the new kid on the block Leclerc this year.
Despite this, the Swede has managed three points finishes to Lerclerc’s five and one less retirement throughout the year. His best results were Bahrain and Germany in 9th. The Sauber seems to be a reasonably sorted car with a known quantity in Ferrari power, it should be the time to make the most of it.
Ericsson really needs to get some good results, otherwise it’s likely he won’t get a seat at a bigger team in the future, with his teammate probably going to Ferrari in the next two years at most.
This year does look to be his best position in the standings so far though, so fingers crossed.
Gasly is an interesting driver to discuss given the fact he’s just had the call up to the big league and joined Red Bull for 2019.
This year has been the first with Honda power in the Toro Rosso with some mixed results. Initial reliability looked way better than when it was in the McLaren, but there are still some niggles. Hopefully he will be bringing some insight with him to enable them to hit the ground running.
Gasly has had some strong results, with a 4th in Bahrain and a 6th in Hungary, just before the break, although generally he’s floating around the 11th-14th area, frustratingly just outside of the points.
For the rest of the year it would be a good for Pierre to pick up some more points and prove why he is getting the drive at Red Bull, then carry the momentum into 2019. He won’t have an easy time against Max, that’s for sure.
That brings us to the end of this series and into the start of the second half of the season with Belgium this week, it should be an interesting race with a lot of drivers looking to either carry momentum or bounce back.
Stay tuned for our coverage in the coming days.