Predictable or not — reviewing the 2019 Formula 1 season
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It is all the rage at this time of year to look back on the F1 drivers’ and teams’ performances during the first half of the season.
Some played true to form, others bucked the trend. One or two people appear to be driving for their very futures. Some races were brilliant to watch, some were boring processions.
The second half kicks off at the incomparable Spa Francorchamps circuit this weekend — just in time to review my past predictions.
In my column of March 9, just before the season got under way in Melbourne, I had a stab at predicting what was to come. So how did I do?
I wrote then that: “At the end of the second week of testing it seems that Ferrari will be a real force on track. This is not the first time the Scuderia have been strong pre-season only for them to gradually fall off the pace. Like many fans, I hope that will not be the case in 2019.”
Well I got that wrong as the Scuderia have hardly been a force at all this season. In fact they have reverted to type and failed in so many ways, on and off track.
“Mercedes will be the robotic, unemotional force yet again but perhaps this year some cracks have appeared in the overall team performance.”
More or less right on that one.
“Red Bull and Honda seem to be making huge strides in performance.”
That certainly has happened and the maturing Max Verstappen is a real threat to win more races.
“The Renault-equipped McLaren team may have turned a corner and will settle towards the top of a close division two.”
Thankfully that seems to be happening as well.
“Alfa Romeo have some sorting out to do and I would expect Alfa Romeo, with an up-to-date Ferrari engine and the incomparable Kimi Raikkonen to quickly rise to the top.”
Wrong on that one.
“Sadly it looks, yet again, that over the course of the season, the Williams cars, just like season 2018, will be at the bottom of the heap.”
Bang on there.
To the drivers now.
“This puts pressure on the likes of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel up against Charles Leclerc and we know that Vettel has not relished that sort of situation in the past.” Vettel’s doing it very tough, I think.
“Pierre Gasly against Max Verstappen in the Red Bull team is another intriguing prospect but there I think the mental constitution of Verstappen will be a real force to be reckoned with by the junior driver.”
Pierre Gasly returns to Toro Rosso and Alexander Albon is plunged into the Red Bull fire.
“Daniil Kvyat makes his return to the grid against Alexander Albon and if Kvyat fulfils the predictions of team boss Franz Tost then Albon will be struggling against him.” As above, remove Albon and insert Gasly.
“Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll in the Racing Point cars will see Perez come out on top as will, eventually, Carlos Sainz against Lando Norris in the McLaren team.”
On point for the Racing Point team and Sainz seems to be gradually getting on top of Norris.
“Renault have Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg and that contest will be won over 14 rounds of a 21-round bout by Ricciardo.” But Renault is not coming up with the goods for either of them.
“Mercedes will remain the same in the driver superiority stakes.”
Hamilton rules Bottas, who is also trying to hang on to his drive. The HAAS duo? Who knows? That leaves the Williams boys ... The nightmare continues.