It was the incident that marred an otherwise exciting edition of the Bathurst 1000, and now Supercars and their governing body have dished out further sanctions to DJR Team Penske for their breach of FIA rules.
As the Formula One circus puts on the brakes for a month for its annual summer break, let’s recap the season so far by analysing each team and driver, their performance and how they will be shaping up for the remainder of the season.
If you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, here is some background information. Twelve of the 21 races have taken place and Lewis Hamilton leads the driver’s championship on 213 points. Vettel is second on 189 and Raikkonen is third on 146 points.
Mercedes is leading the constructors championship on 345 points, Ferrari is second on 335 points and Red Bull is third on 223 points.
So let’s delve in to each team and see how they have performed so far.
The Silver Arrows have been in sublime form (except for Austria, double DNF) so far. Hamilton has a brilliant connection with his car and is always able to find an extra tenth here and there.
Hes won five Grand Prix and will definitely win a couple more. Bottas hasn’t performed as well as Hamilton but has been consistent with multiple podium finishes.
However he has cracked under pressure (Britain, Hungary). He is capable of winning races but needs to get his elbows out and not hang back and seeing what others are doing. My prediction is Mercedes will win the Constructors Championship before the season finishes in Abu Dhabi.
The Italians do have the fastest car on the grid. There recent engine upgrades prove that but a string a silly mistakes by both drivers have cost them valuable points. If it wasn’t for his blunder in Germany, Vettel would be leading the Championship going into the break. He has had some impeccable drives.
Raikkonen is quite similar to Bottas, he needs to be more aggressive during the race and needs to be up there with Vettel in qualifying, he has the car to do it. Multiple third place finishes is not going to win a championship.
The season can’t be over any time sooner for Red Bull. It really has been a disastrous season for the team through no fault of their own. They have won three races so far but the reliability of the Renault engine just isn’t there.
Dan Ricciardo and Max Verstappen are the best combo on the grid, they have the hunger for success but their engine supplier just can’t deliver.
The best of the rest Renault have been. Despite no podium finishes they have done a decent job. However for a works team, they need to be better. They have the money and resources for the Research and Development, perhaps it’s just that not so shabby engine they’ve got. The drivers are fast, Hulkenberg is always in the mix and Sainz has been doing a good job in qualy.
I can’t see them fighting with the Red Bulls but I do think they will end up being fourth at the end of the season but only just ahead of Haas.
The Ferrari B-Team as they have come to be known as have been the bolters of the season. Their performance in qualifying in the last few Grand Prix have been well praised however their race pace not so much. Magnussen has been fairly consistent, finishing mostly in the points and Grosjean finally scored some points of a string of mistakes and reliability issues up until Austria.
It’s been a disappointing season for the Pink Panthers. The team is now in administration and is locked into a legal battle with one of its own drivers. Ocon and Perez have had an average season so far due to the machinery they are stuck with. Don’t look for any surprises from the Silverstone based team for the rest of the season. They need help urgently.
Yes Mclaren are still near the bottom of the standings despite switching from Honda power to Renault. Maybe the problem wasn’t with the Honda engine after all? It is true that there have been many reliability problems but the car chassis itself just isn’t fast enough. Vandoorne needs to up his game if he is to have a seat next year, Lando Norris in F2 is knocking on the door.
As for Alonso, I’m not going to be surprised if this is his last season in F1. He’s still fast and still has the fight and hunger for success, but perhaps it’s elsewhere, Indycar?
Some races have been fantastic, some not so much. Gasly has done surprisingly well in some races like a fourth place finish in Bahrain and sixth place finish in Hungary. Hartley just isn’t there. Torro Rosso will be looking for a Red Bull Junior driver to fill his place next year.
Charles Leclerc, what can I say. He is the next big thing. Multiple points finishes and entries into Q3 in the second slowest car on the grid. Sauber have said that they will stop working on this year’s car in the coming weeks and focusing on next years car. That new Ferrari engine has helped them tremendously. Perhaps next year they will get off to a much more better start, but where will Leclerc be?
Not much can be said about Williams. They need a refresh of team management. It is a shame though after seeing their growth when Bottas and Massa where driving for them in 2014-16. Stroll and Sirotkin can’t handle the back end of the car and are consistently making mistakes.
The second half of the season is going to be full of action. The next Grand Prix in Belgium at the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit will favour Mercedes and Ferrari due to its power hungry nature. It’s going to be interesting to see which team will be the best of the rest.
Hamilton and Vettel will have to make as little mistakes as possible as they fight for their fifth world championship.