It’s the summer break in Formula 1 right now and it will continue over a three week period. For some teams like the Haas Racing Team that fields drivers Kevin Magnussen and Roman Grosjean, it is a much-needed break. Other drivers such as Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen probably didn’t want to see the break as they are dominating the races as of late, especially the Mercedes.
However, drivers like Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc can use a much needed break since they surprisingly haven’t won a race yet as they were expected to at this point in the season.
Here’s a look at who’s hot and who’s not during the Summer Break and the Mid-season review for Formula 1 in 2019.
- Lewis Hamilton – It should be no surprise that Hamilton and Mercedes are at the top of this list. The Englishman has scored eight wins in 12 starts; that’s a win percentage of 66.6%. Hamilton leads the championship points standings over his teammate Valtteri Bottas by 62 points. Should Hamilton keep on winning after the summer break, he’ll have the title wrapped up before the season finale in Abu Dhabi in December. Realistically, it’s a three-way title fight for the top spot right now with Bottas and Max Verstappen lurking behind him. Other stats include 10 podiums, four poles, 352 laps led out of 746 laps complete and an average finish of 2.2. The only time Hamilton has not won a race was at Melbourne, Baku, Speilberg and Hockenheimring. Especially notable in these races where Hamilton has not won, he has either finished first or second. Only twice has the Mercedes driver finished outside the podium and that was at Speilberg where he finished fifth, while Hamilton finished ninth at Hockenheimring, his worst drive of the season. It will be interesting to see if Hamilton can keep up his incredible hunt for another championship to add to his impressive resume.
- Valtteri Bottas – If it’s not Hamilton who is having impressive drives, it’s his teammate Bottas who is the other Mercedes driver. Bottas sits second in points, 62 behind Hamilton. In 12 races he has collected two wins (Melbourne, Baku) and nine podiums and has sat on the pole three times (Shanghai, Baku, Catalunya). Bottas has 103 laps led and only one DNF that occurred at Hockenheimring, the only difficult day for the Mercedes team who otherwise finishes on the podium if not winning the race. The Finland native is already besting his 2018 stats where Bottas ended with eight podiums and two poles and 84 laps led. Needless to say, Bottas and Mercedes are working well with each other this year.
- Sebastian Vettel – I think at this point in the season we would have expected Vettel and the Ferrari to win 12 races into the season. Some would say he should have won at the Canadian Grand Prix where Vettel was somewhat pushed off the track in one of the sectors and came back on the track dangerously and then was penalized by the stewards for the action. To this day, Vettel and his fans believe they still won the race where they came up second in the overall results after the time penalty. Since then, Vettel has had some disappointing finishes of fifth at Paul Ricard, fourth at Spielberg and 16th at Silverstone, one lap down. He has rebounded a little bit in the past two races, however, as Vettel has finishes of second and third respectively. At Mid-season, he has 73 laps led down from last year’s 345 laps led. Vettel has only been able to amass six podiums compared to his 12 last year. He has also been down on his average finish with a 4.4 where last year the German had a 3.9 average finish. Perhaps this summer break will be a good time for Vettel and his Ferrari team to reset and come in with a clear mind when Formula 1 returns to Spa Francorchamps on September 1. However, Vettel is likely out of the title hunt being 94 points behind, fourth in the standings.
- Max Verstappen – A driver heating up as of late is Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who took the checkered flag at Spielberg and won a popular victory at Hockenheimring. While Verstappen has not yet matched his 2018 podium finishes, he is starting to come into his own in the past couple of races. In 2019 at the summer break he has five podium finishes with a worst finish of fifth at Montreal and Silverstone. Otherwise, Verstappen has finishes of second, third, fourth or winning the race. He has an average finish of 3.3 already bettering his 2018 average finish, where it was 6.1 at the end of the season. Verstappen still realistically has a chance to win the title at the end of the season at 69 points behind but he will need a lot of help over the next several races in order to catch Hamilton in the title hunt.
- Charles Leclerc – Leclerc is having a decent season so far for his Ferrari team. He has almost matched his teammate Vettel’s podium finishes by having five of them. Leclerc more than likely could have had two more, if it weren’t for two DNFs at Monte Carlo and Hockenheimring which were both due to crash damage. Otherwise, his stats are solid with an average finish of 6.2 and 118 laps led. He has come close to winning multiple times, quite notably at Spielberg where Leclerc qualified on the pole position and finished second after leading 58 laps. He qualified on the pole one other time at Bahrain, the second race of the season after Melbourne. Leclerc has only completed 86 percent of the laps or 647 of the 746 laps possible. He is already doing better than last year when the Ferrari driver did not record any podiums, poles or laps led. I think it’s safe to say that his championship hunt is over as he is 118 points behind. Still, there are a lot of races remaining, nine in total, but he will have to start winning right out of the gate when the series returns September 1.
1. Kevin Magnussen – It’s been a difficult season for Magnussen and his Haas F1 Team who has faced sponsorship rumors throughout the season. His best finish occurred at Melbourne where Magnussen finished sixth. After finishing sixth the 2019 season has not been kind to the Denmark driver with no podiums, no pole positions and no laps led. He has finished off the lead lap eight times and did not finish the Silverstone race due to a crash that relegated to him to a retirement in the running order. Magnussen will have to pick up the pace if he wants to be back at Haas Racing Team next year.
2. Robert Kubica – Speaking of difficult seasons, it’s been one for Kubica and the ROKiT Williams Racing team who has been struggling all year. Kubica was only able to record a point at Hockenheimring where he finished 10th after starting 18th. Despite the 10th place finish his other finishes have been disastrous finishing 17th, 16th, 18th, 20th, 15th and recently 19th at Hungaroring. The summer break might be good timing for Kubica and the Williams Racing team who quite possibly need the break most of all. Kubica sits 18th in the standings.
3. Antonio Giovinazzi – Giovinazzi sits last in the series points standings in what has been a painful season. The Alfa Romeo Racing driver has only been able to record one point in the Spielberg race where he finished 10th after starting seventh. However, his finish was one lap down in that race. The Italian native has finished one lap down or more in most of his races this year. Giovinazzi’s other best finish occurred at Bahrain with an 11th place finish. The Alfa Romeo Racing driver will have to pick up the pace more throughout the rest of the season if Giovinazzi wants to impress his team.
4. George Russell – Like his teammate Kubica, Russell has had a frustrating season so far with his ROKiT Williams Racing team. His best finish took place at Hockenheimring a few weeks ago when Russell finished 11th. In other races, it’s been a struggle to finish on the lead lap. The Englishman has finished two laps down in most races and is last in the points standings. It looks like this will continue for the rest of the season but hopefully, Russell will find some motivation despite his disappointing finishes in the second half of the season.
5. Daniel Ricciardo – With a new team in hand, Ricciardo was hoping for a fresh start with the Renault team but that hasn’t been the case. The Australian has only been able to record a best finish of sixth at Montreal. Other finishes include a seventh at Shanghai, ninth at Monte Carlo and seventh at Silverstone. Ricciardo has four DNFs (Melbourne, Bahrain, Baku, Hockenheimring). With those finishes, his average finish has come to 12.8 down from last year where it was 9.3. Here’s hoping the summer break is just what the doctor ordered for the Australian and his Renault team.
There you have it, your list of who’s hot and who’s at this point in the 2019 Formula 1 season. For the most part, it has been a battle between the Mercedes and the Ferraris’. However, lately, it’s been a battle between the Mercedes and the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver Verstappen. Three drivers have a shot at winning the title, with Hamilton having the better advantage with a 62 point lead over his teammate Bottas.
While a lot can and will happen in the nine races remaining, drivers fourth on back in the championship standings will need a lot of help to catch Hamilton who rarely makes a mistake in his races.