With last week’s United States Grand Prix ending on a high for Max Verstappen, American Mercedes fans were left as despondent cheerleaders. The bar is definitely set for the rest of the season, especially the next races in Central and Latin America. However, if we were to look back at the season as a whole, one main team and three drivers pop up in my opinion.
The team is Ferrari, which we saw start to sink in 2018. Unfortunately, they are still struggling and have not won consecutive podiums since last season. As someone who has always said this sport is 40% talent and 60% money - in the sense of good engineering and car construction - I don’t know what has gone wrong over the last couple of seasons, but what I am sure about is that they are definitely not short of talent.
This takes me to the first driver that has been exceptional in nearly every race, Charles Leclerc. The Monegasque driver has been proving his competency, skill and knowledge since day one. Despite how devastating his home race was - in which he was starting first on the Sunday grid until his qualifying crash cost him to retire the car - he pushed even further to get a podium in Silverstone, and since then he has maintained this high standard of racing.
Now for the next two who I think are excellent, talented drivers, but their success seems to be overhyped by the fans and they are Lando Norris and George Russell. I don’t know whether it is Norris' podium in Italy or Russell’s qualifying success in Belgium and Mercedes contract that make people think that it’s going to be this way in every race. Since these achievements, both of their performances have been going downhill. I do agree that yes, weather, rules and regulations play a big role. However if so, does that mean their victories are sheer luck?
So to wrap things up and put the season so far into perspective;
Mercedes is leading the constructor’s board with 460.5 points, coming next is Red Bull at 23 points behind. McLaren has 254 points, battling with Ferrari which currently has 250.5 points. Then it's Alpine with 104 points ahead of Alpha Tauri at 94 points. Aston Martin is next with 62 points, leaving Williams behind with 23 points. At the bottom, Alfa Romeo has claimed only 9 points and Haas zero.
On the other hand, the individual standings for drivers are much more interesting, where Max Verstappen is leading the way after his victory at the US GP placing Lewis Hamilton at number 2, making the gap between both drivers only 12 points. Yet with all this, all eyes are on Sergio Perez where he will soon be racing in his home country Mexico on November 7th. So will he be able to deliver the victory that he needs to please his people, but also move Red Bull ahead of Mercedes towards winning the championship? I guess we’re going to have to wait and see.
Has the current season aligned with our sub-editor Katie Siddall's prediction back in May? Have a look here and see if you agree!