2018 Formula One Season Results

I realise that I haven’t posted much about last year’s Formula One season, but I have been creating my usual graphs to display the progress of each participant in both the drivers and constructors championships throughout the year after each race.

Below you can see how the season developed in those title fights, ultimately won by Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team. I hope to write more about the forthcoming season as it happens in 2019.

The 2017 F1 Season: Final Championship Points

I love a good graph. So, here are two showing the Championship points throughout the 2017 F1 season in both Drivers’ and Constructor’s Championships.

If we focus on the two title protagonists, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, it’s clear to me that Ferrari, in particular, threw the Championship away with poor reliability and some silly mistakes in races.

Lewis Hamilton won the title after gaining an unassailable lead after his victory in Mexico. However, Sebastian Vettel led the championship until the Italian Grand Prix, but his Singapore Grand Prix crash and technical problems in Malaysia and Japan put an end to his championship hopes.

Ripped from the headlines

Autosport.com posted today that “McLaren would be ‘disappointed’ with fourth” at the conclusion of the next Formula One season. This is after coming ninth in 2015 and sixth last year. I hope, being a fan of the team, that comes to be, but whether they can come close to Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari and beat one of them remains to be seen. I love the ambition. I love that a shift in rules means somewhat of a clean sheet in design terms. But I still can’t seen a victory happening at this moment in time.

As always, I’d love to be proved wrong.

337: Will Nico Rosberg regret today’s decision?

A mere five days after he became Formula One World Champion, Nico Rosberg has announced, quite out of the blue, that, for sure, he is retiring. He had been confirmed as the Mercedes teammate to Lewis Hamilton for next year.

I sort of understand where he is coming from. He has raced for 25 years to achieve this dream of his – “I’ve climbed my mountain. I am on the peak,” he said in a statement. He has a young family, and a life beyond racing that he possibly has never experienced before.

But to achieve that dream and then draw a line under it forever, seems strange to me. Not defending the title. Not using the opportunity to race as the Champion. I am astounded by it.

I have often said how I’m not his biggest fan. How I don’t believe that he is the best driver out there. But he is still only one of a handful of men to reach the pinnacle of Formula One and I admire and respect him for that.

However, when the lights go out in Melbourne in March, will he regret his decision to turn his back on the most successful team of recent years? We will probably never know.

Who will Mercedes put in his place? Will it cause a shuffle up of the ostensibly stable driver market, especially now that most teams have confirmed their line-ups… or at least, we thought they had. Interesting times lay ahead.

2015 Monaco Grand Prix: A Short Review and Championship Standings

One radio message sums up this race: “I’ve lost this race, haven’t I?”

Those words, spoken by Lewis Hamilton after his team brought his in for fresh tyres towards the end of the race – with 15 laps to go – don’t show the anger and frustration that he did afterwards. This race was undoubtedly his. His team-mate was too busy defending a challenge from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to try and grab the lead and so, with Nico Rosberg over 19 seconds behind, Hamilton could relax a little and cruise home to victory.

That was until a violent crash at the first corner and an unusual reaction from the Mercedes pit wall put a stop to all that winning business.

At the start of the race, Hamilton took the lead straight away. Vettel overtook Rosberg for second and Daniil Kvyat came very close to ramming the Ferrari of Vettel while grabbing fourth place from Daniel Ricciardo.

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso pushed Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India into Mirabeau, the damage demanding that Hulkenberg stop for a new front wing, while Alonso would receive a five-second time penalty when he eventually make a pit stop.

Monaco is a tight and twisty circuit, making overtaking very difficult, even with a surplus of blue flags. As Hamilton and the leaders hit traffic around the Principality, Rosberg found it hard to despatch the back markers as quickly as Hamilton did. This meant he extended his lead to more than nine seconds. The pit stops in the middle of the race did little to shake up the order with the top three of Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel holding their positions.

Max Verstappen would be the one to shake things up though. When he had visited the pits – earlier than the leaders on lap 29 – his right-rear wheel stuck, costing him more than 25 seconds. He was on a charge then, needing to make up time and try to regain the points position that the team had thrown away for him. He made another pit stop for the super-soft tyres and in doing so fell a lap behind the leaders. He used this to his advantage though, using them to pass other cars which were being lapped – the best example being a pass on Williams’ Valtteri Bottas aided by Vettel.

Romain Grosjean‘s Lotus team had cottoned on to what Verstappen was doing and had been alerted to the threat. When Verstappen closed up to him – looking very capable of passing him setting lap times one and a half seconds quicker – Grosjean was struggling with brake wear.

All went wrong on lap 64. Verstappen claims he wasn’t trying to pass Grosjean at the time, and that the Lotus driver braked earlier than he expected. As the Lotus slowed to take the first corner, Verstappen dodged right and came very close to avoiding contact. But not close enough. The impact sent Verstappen on a terrifying ride into the protected barriers at Saint Devote and, amazingly, the Lotus was still able to race.

A Virtual Safety Car was called, but swiftly replaced by a more usual Safety Car period. This was where Hamilton lost the race. His team believed they could get him in and out of the pits without losing their lead. They were wrong. In came Hamilton, and he lost his victory, handing it to Rosberg. He was also passed by Vettel, the pair motoring side-by-side up the hill  from the pits, before the Ferrari driver assumed second place as he was ahead of Hamilton across the Safety Car line.

The race resumed again on lap 70, the additional time causing havoc with the tyre temperatures on the lead two cars and destroying any hope that Hamilton had of regaining first position with his softer fresher tyres. Only Daniel Ricciardo made a place in this time, as he managed to squeeze by Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. Red Bull also arranged a neat piece of team work as Daniil Kvyat was instructed to wave Ricciardo past so that the latter could use his fresher tyres to try and attack Hamilton. That came to nothing, so they switched positions again in a rare piece of fairness in this sport! Kyvat’s fourth place finish is his new career best result, improving on his five ninth places.

Sergio Perez ended up seventh for force India, Jenson Button put some points on the board for McLaren at long last with eighth (Fernando Alonso’s car failed to finish again though). These were the first points for a McLaren-Honda partnership since Gerhard Berger won at Adelaide in 1992.

Felipe Nasr scored for Sauber in ninth and Sainz capped an impressive recovery from a pit lane start to take the final point.

Hamilton’s lead in the Championship is down to ten points, but Rosberg certainly got lucky here to take his third consecutive Monaco victory – in doing so he joins a select group of drivers who have won here three times are more. They include Ayrton Senna (six), Michael Schumacher and Graham Hill (five), Alain Prost (four), Stirling Moss and Jackie Stewart (three).

This was Rosberg’s tenth career win, putting him level with James Hunt, Ronnie Peterson, Jody Scheckter and Gerhard Berger.

2015 Monaco Grand Prix Result

PositionDriverCar-EngineLapsTime/Delay
1Nico RosbergMercedes781h 49m 18.420s
2Sebastian VettelFerrari78+4.486s
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes78+6.053s
4Daniil KvyatRed Bull-Renault78+11.965s
5Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault78+13.608s
6Kimi RaikkonenFerrari78+14.345s
7Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes78+15.013s
8Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda78+16.063s
9Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari78+23.626s
10Carlos SainzToro Rosso-Renault78+25.056s
11Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes78+26.232s
12Romain GrosjeanLotus-Mercedes78+28.415s
13Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari78+31.159s
14Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes78+45.789s
15Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes77-1 lap
16Roberto MehriMarussia-Ferrari76-2 laps
17Will StevensMarussia-Ferrari76-2 laps
-Max VerstappenToro Rosso-Renault62Collision
-Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda41Gearbox
-Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Mercedes5Brakes

 

2015 Spanish Grand Prix: A Short Review and Championship Standings

Nico Rosberg finally showed some of the spark we saw last year as he took his first victory of the season in Spain. The Mercedes team dominated the race to take a one-two here.

The German led away from pole and remained in the lead for the whole race. His team-mate Lewis Hamilton was second, 17.5 seconds behind, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel a further 27.7 seconds in third at the finish. This allows Rosberg to close the gap to Hamilton in the Championship to 20 points, with Vettel another 11 behind.

A race like this makes me doubt my recent assertion that Ferrari are challengers to Mercedes this season. After four relatively exciting races too, the start of the European season will not go down as a classic. Rosberg, therefore, was always likely to be favourite for the win after taking pole position on a track that is not known for overtaking. Hamilton lost a place to Vettel at the start and a poor pit stop meant he couldn’t use that to gain an advantage either. Vettel’s advantage was further extended when Hamilton stopped three times, compared to Vettel’s two.

Valtteri Bottas finished the race in fourth for Williams, ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and the other Williams of Felipe Massa. The other points scorers were Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo in seventh and a lap behind, Lotus’s Romain Grosjean in eighth followed by Carlos Sainz in his Toro Rosso and the other Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat.

McLaren are still waiting for their first points of the season, with Jenson Button’s 100th McLaren start finishing in a lowly 16th place and Fernando Alonso retiring from another race with brake problems after running as high as seventh.

2015 Spanish Grand Prix Result

PositionDriverCar-EngineLapsTime/Delay
1Nico RosbergMercedes661h 41m 12.555s
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes66+17.551s
3Sebastian VettelFerrari66+45.342s
4Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes66+59.217s
5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari66+1m 00.002s
6Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes66+1m 21.314s
7Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault65-1 lap
8Romain GrosjeanLotus-Mercedes65-1 lap
9Carlos SainzToro Rosso-Renault65-1 lap
10Daniil KvyatRed Bull-Renault65-1 lap
11Max VerstappenToro Rosso-Renault65-1 lap
12Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari65-1 lap
13Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes65-1 lap
14Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari65-1 lap
15Nico RosbergForce India-Mercedes65-1 lap
16Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda65-1 lap
17Will StevensMarussia-Ferrari63-3 laps
18Roberto MehriMarussia-Ferrari62-4 laps
-Pastor MaldonadoLotus-MercedesDNFRetirement
-Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-HondaDNFBrakes

 

2015 Bahrain Grand Prix: A Short Review and Championship Standings

Lewis Hamilton took another step towards his third Championship with victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, the fourth race of the 2015 season. He didn’t have it all his own way though – there was a credible threat once again from Ferrari after Sebastian Vettel’s shock victory in Malaysia.

Mercedes showed a little bit of fragility as Nico Rosberg lost his second place to Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen due to a brake issue. In fact, Hamilton might have given Raikkonen the victory had it struck his car sooner.

Straight away, as the lights went out, the red cars went on the attack. Vettel defended his position firmly from Rosberg, leaving Raikkonen able to pass Nico in the first corner. A lovely bit of team work from the Scuderia drivers. So far this season, Rosberg has felt very lacklustre, but here he seemed to have a bit of fight in him. On lap four, he regained his third place, passing Raikkonen in the DRS zone.

While Hamilton build up a slim lead over the first few laps, Rosberg now had the Ferrari of Vettel in his sights. On lap eight, Vettel ran deep into turn one and the next time around Rosberg completed another DRS assisted pass to take that place. Vettel’s mistake, also meant that Raikkonen was close behind and felt his race was being compromised, discussing his overtaking options on the team radio. Vettel didn’t give him the chance though, as he pitted on lap 13 to try and put pressure on Mercedes. It worked too, as when Rosberg came in on the next lap, he dropped back behind Vettel, for a while at least. As lap 16 began, Rosberg repassed for second as Hamilton exited the pits.

Raikkonen used the harder tyre in his middle stint, putting in some fast lap times, and lost just half a second to Hamilton on the softer rubber during this time. This would create put him in a decent position for the final section of the race, ready to pounce if needed…

In the other Ferrari, Vettel got ahead of Rosberg once again at the pit stops but lost that place again as Rosberg took advantage when the four-time World Champion went off at the final corner on lap 36. This damaged his front wing, which needed replacing. The resulting additional pit stop meant that Williams’ Valtteri Bottas could move ahead of him and Vettel would make no more progress up the positions. Had things been different, he might have been able to take advantage of Rosberg’s overheating brake system on the penultimate lap.

There was little else of interest in the race.

The season does seem to be turning into less of a one-horse race this year, with Ferrari certainly showing at least a partial challenge to Mercedes. Vettel, in particular, seems to be the key here. Raikkonen’s qualifying pace, or lack of it, appears to be hurting him on a Sunday.

2015 Bahrain Grand Prix Result

PositionDriverCar-EngineLapsTime/Delay
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes571h 35m 05.809s
2Kimi RaikkonenFerrari57+3.380s
3Nico RosbergMercedes57+6.033s
4Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes57+42.957s
5Sebastian VettelFerrari57+1m 01.751s
6Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault57+1m 24.763s
7Romain GrosjeanLotus-Mercedes57-1 lap
8Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes56-1 lap
9Daniil KvyatRed Bull-Renault56-1 lap
10Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes56-1 lap
11Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda56-1 lap
12Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari56-1 lap
13Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes56-1 lap
14Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari56-1 lap
15Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Mercedes56-1 lap
16Will StevensMarussia-Ferrari55-2 laps
17Roberto MehriMarussia-Ferrari54-3 laps
-Max VerstappenToro Rosso-RenaultDNFElectrical
-Carlos SainzToro Rosso-RenaultDNFWheel
-Jenson ButtonMcLaren-HondaDNS

 

2015 Chinese Grand Prix: A Short Review and Championship Standings

After the hope of Sebastian Vettel‘s victory at the last race, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes dominated this Chinese Grand Prix. Nico Rosberg had to settle for second place, ahead of Vettel and his team mate Kimi Raikkonen.

The race was close at times, but never really came to life – much like the season’s opening event in Melbourne.

Hamilton had made it clear from the outset that he was going to be aggressive, angling his car towards Rosberg’s on the grid. He maintained his grid position off the line with Rosberg and Vettel following him through the first stint.

The middle section of the race saw a little tension as both Rosberg and Vettel shortened the gap to Hamilton – who was a cause of frustration to Rosberg who believed Hamilton was deliberately holding him up and accelerating his tyre degradation as a result.

An attempt to get by using the pit stops failed as Hamilton raise his pace considerably on his final soft tyre laps. Hamilton ran two laps longer than Rosberg, building up a 6-second cushion by doing so.

A safety car appeared with two laps remaining – the Renault engine of Max Verstappen’s Toro Rosso making him stop on the pit straight in a cloud of smoke – making Hamilton’s comfortable win very easy as the race finished under yellow flag conditions.

Vettel’s third place only really came under threat from fellow Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen who had swiftly negotiated around both Williams drivers on the opening lap to make up for more qualifying frustration. He ran a long middle stint to make up the ground well.

The Williams drivers of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas finished fifth and sixth, a minute behind the leaders before the safety car’s intervention. The points winners were rounded off by Lotus’ Romain Grosjean, scoring his first points of the season, with the Sauber’s of Felipe Nasr in eighth and Marcus Ericsson sandwiching Daniel Ricciardo in his Red Bull – he made decent progress after a terrible start plunged him down to 17th,

Some drama came from the other Lotus of Pastor Maldonado, who passed Grosjean in the first pit stops, then ran down the pit lane entry escape road in his second visit. He also spun while trying to make amends for this error, ending up battling with the McLaren’s of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. Button ended up hitting the back of Maldonado in the battle, ending the Lotus’s race. Still, it was the first time this season that both McLaren drivers have completed a race.

2015 Chinese Grand Prix Result

PositionDriverCar-EngineLapsTime/Delay
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes561h 39m 42.008s
2Nico RosbergMercedes56+0.714s
3Sebastian VettelFerrari56+2.988s
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari56+3.835s
5Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes56+8.544s
6Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes56+9.885s
7Romain GrosjeanLotus-Mercedes56+19.008s
8Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari56+22.625s
9Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault56+32.117s
10Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari55-1 lap
11Romain GrosjeanLotus-Mercedes55-1 lap
12Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes55-1 lap
13Carlos SainzToro Rosso-Renault55-1 lap
14Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda55-1 lap
15Will StevensMarussia-Ferrari54-2 laps
16Roberto MehriMarussia-Ferrari54-2 laps
17Max VerstappenToro Rosso-RenaultDNFEngine
-Pastor MaldonadoLotus-MercedesDNFCollision
-Daniil KvyatRed Bull-RenaultDNFEngine
-Nico HulkenbergForce India-MercedesDNFRetirement

 

2015 Malaysian Grand Prix: A Short Review and Championship Standings

In the end this race, won by Ferrari‘s Sebastian Vettel, will be remembered as the beginning of a new chapter in his career. He will hope it provides him with a similar amount of success as his time at Red Bull did!

Lewis Hamilton was on the back foot a bit as he had missed most of the Friday running with a power unit problem, but his Mercedes team had also messed up their strategy during the race. This was Ferrari’s to lose.

Hamilton led Vettel and team-mate Nico Rosberg off the grid, and when the lights went out Vettel squeezed Rosberg towards the pit wall. In 2014 Vettel lost out to Rosberg doing this, but the reverse was true this time around, though they came close to touching in turn one.

A Safety Car period was caused quickly by Marcus Ericsson spinning into the same corner a few laps into the race. This was another gift for Ferrari – both Mercedes’ headed for the pit lane and Vettel inherited the lead. Rosberg queued behind Hamilton leaving the order as Vettel, Nico Hulkenberg, Romain Grosjean, Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez, none of whom had pitted. They were followed by Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo, Felipe Massa and then Rosberg. By lap ten, however, Hamilton was back in second and, four laps later, Rosberg was up to third.

Vettel finally pitted on lap 18, dropping him back for a short while. On lap 21 though, the Ferrari easily passed Rosberg – an unusual sight. Three laps later, he was about to do the same to Hamilton, when the Mercedes dived into the pits. Thereafter, it was a tyre saving drive from both Mercedes drivers to the flag as Vettel held his lead.

While this was going on, the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen was working towards his eventual fourth place and there was an all-Williams battle for fifth. Valtteri Bottas made a fabulous move to pass his stable mate Felipe Massa around the outside of turn six, a move he had performed earlier on against Max Verstappen. The young Toro Rosso driver here would be the next driver home and become the sport’s youngest ever points scorer in the process.

Overall, this was a much better race to watch than the dullness of the season opener, and a reminder that not everything needs changing quite so quickly in F1 after all. There may well be more than one team in contention this year after all…

2015 Malaysian Grand Prix Result

PositionDriverCar-EngineLapsTime/Delay
1Sebastian VettelFerrari561h 41m 05.793s
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes56+8.569s
3Nico RosbergMercedes56+12.310s
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari56+53.822s
5Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes56+1m 10.409s
6Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes56+1m 13.586s
7Max VerstappenToro Rosso-Renault55-1 lap
8Carlos SainzToro Rosso-Renault55-1 lap
9Daniil KvyatRed Bull-Renault55-1 lap
10Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault55-1 lap
11Romain GrosjeanLotus-Mercedes55-1 lap
12Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari55-1 lap
13Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes55-1 lap
14Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes55-1 lap
15Roberto MerhiMarussia-Ferrari53-3 laps
-Pastor MaldonadoLotus-MercedesDNFBrakes
-Jenson ButtonMcLaren-HondaDNFPower unit
-Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-HondaDNFPower unit
-Marcus EricssonSauber-FerrariDNFSpun off
-Will StevensMarussia-FerrariDNSWithdrawn