The 2017/2018 season has been spectacular to watch. Overall, one thing that has been on everyone’s lips is how this season has turned out to be a competitive and phenomenal one thus far. With 11 races done and dusted, there’s nine more races to go. Pressure and tension have increased significantly especially against the two teams – Ferrari and Mercedes – whom are vying to be the best team in this season. These are three things that have stood out to be the most important thus far in Formula 1
1. The Competitiveness and Revival of Ferrari
With the amount of money and power that Ferrari possess, results have paid off from the first race of the season till now, showing that they are a force to be reckoned with. Last season was not impressive from both the team and their drivers with car failures and testing issues. However, improvements have seen team Ferrari revitalise Formula 1 for this season, making it more competitive than ever before.
The biggest conundrum that team Ferrari faced was the inability to dominate like they used to; like a decade ago with the likes of Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher winning amongst themselves, but more importantly, the latter was the star winning the championship as Barrichello was supporting him.
With the season in full-swing, Ferrari is competing again – showing their dominance, although they would have wanted to avoid the break, which might destabilise them. With the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen, Ferrari has stepped up a with 4 wins thus far out of 11 races coming from the German and four-time Champion Vettel. They have an excellent pairing between the two in which they have followed team orders positively.
Their revival has been excellent, as they received a revamped engine and stronger tires than ever before, making it a very tight battle this season. They will surely look to continue from where they left off when they come back from the season break.
2. Rivalry of Vettel and Hamilton
Much has been said about these two phenomenal drivers. There is a lot of braveness and quality amongst them. Their technical ability to come back from losing positions into a winning position is outstanding – better than other racers. Their rivalry from the first race this season till now has shown that we are thrilled and we certainly going to witness more drama. In race eight at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the two racers had a strife in which Hamilton purposely blocked Vettel’s way and the latter reacted in a bizarre fashion.
Unfortunately, Vettel was given a penalty for his reaction where he hit Hamilton’s car at the back with his car. However, Hamilton escaped with no punishment for his involvement. Sometimes, these two racers do show vanity amongst them but, it is a healthy rivalry from a sporting perspective. It has shown how much Hamilton thus far has not been consistent, unlike last season. With Hamilton’s 200th race coming up this weekend in the Belgian Grand Prix, the latter will want to use the break to his advantage. This rivalry has been so intense and even better than last season’s one between Mercedes pair Hamilton and last year’s Champion, Nico Rosberg. There is still more to come between these two fantastic racers.
3. Performance of Bottas
It’s a name that no one knew at the start of the new season. It’s a name that people had doubts about, but he has proved them wrong. Valtteri Bottas has been an excellent addition this season for Mercedes, after replacing Nico Rosberg who announced his retirement from F1 at the end of last season.
He drove for Williams for three seasons in 2013 until 2016. His body language strikes as an individual that is an introvert but more importantly his performances in all 11 races have shown better consistency than teammate Hamilton has. Team Mercedes have someone that they can rely on if Hamilton has his “off days.”
Mercedes have done exceptionally well by recruiting the Finland international to take the pressure away from their star driver, but there will always be pressure. Although Bottas sits on third place behind his teammate and current leader Vettal in the driver standings, he has the capability of causing an upset, but team orders will be the key in this remainder of the season.
With nine races to go, we expect to see more drama as usual. All attention will be at this weekend’s race as it finally resumes from a three-week break in Pirelli, the Belgian Grand Prix.
Author: Takalani Lufhugu