We have just reached the break in the mid season and its time to look back at the first half and prepare for the second half where Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will battle it out for the world championship.
1st half review
Formula one started the season with an unpopular qualifying format, a huge crash and Nico Rosberg taking 4 wins on the trot. Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton was dealing with collisions and gearbox issues. Hamilton and Rosberg were more than prepared coming into Spain but less coming out as both crashed and Max Verstappen picked up the pieces and won becoming the youngest to do so. Hamilton won in Monaco and in Canada before Rosberg won in F1’s newest destination in Baku. Hamilton has been untouchable, winning in Austria, Britain, Hungary and Germany.
Topics heading into the 2nd half
Ocon replaces Haryanto at Manor
Esteban Ocon replaces Rio Haryanto for the rest of the season at Manor. Manor decided to terminate Haryanto’s contract due to Haryanto’s failure to meet his contractual obligations. Manor has given Haryanto the reserve driver role for the rest of the season.
Nineteen-year-old Frenchman Ocon will make his race debut for Manor in Belgium later this month. For 2016, Ocon was Renault’s reserve driver and made appearances in 4 practise sessions and also tested for Mercedes at Silverstone earlier this month in the two day test.
Many people have predicted that Ocon will replace Jolyon Palmer at Renault for 2017 and some strong races with Manor would justify that reason.
Hamilton looking unstoppable
Having to claw back a 43 point gap to his teammate Nico Rosberg not so long ago, to now be leading by 19 points ahead of Rosberg going into the summer break, some would argue that Lewis Hamilton is looking unstoppable. Hamilton’s win in Germany was his 6th win out of a possible of 7 races.
Despite Hamilton having to deal with mechanical problems in the opening races, to be leading is a huge turn around and major swing of momentum. Though Hamilton has said that he will need to take another engine penalty during the second half of the season and this will give Rosberg a “free” race to close the deficit to Hamilton.
Can it be any worse for Kvyat?
The drivers head into the mid season break and many will take this break as a refresher. But one driver more than any of them has been looking forward to this more than anything. That driver is Daniil Kvyat.
Kvyat came in this year needing to prove himself as Max Verstappen in the Torro Rosso was stealing the headlines and putting Kvyat under serious pressure to perform. A 3rd place in China was overshadowed by Sebastian Vettel’s comment of calling Kvyat’s dive-bomb “suicidal”. But the next race in Russia, Kvyat and Vettel would argue again. Kvyat locked up and hit the back of Vettel into turn 1 and then hit Vettel again into turn 2, punting Vettel out of the race and giving Kvyat a 10 second stop-go penalty. That was the final straw and Kvyat was out for Spain and Verstappen was promoted to Red Bull. Kvyat has struggled back at Torro Rosso and needs good results to save his career.
Ferrari left in confusion and delay
Things looked promising for Ferrari as they left the final test in pre season but things have gone down hill quickly for the Scuderia. We actually thought that Ferrari might have closed the gap to Mercedes but the gap has increased. 2016 has been disappointing to say the least and a great result is needed soon!
Poor strategy calls and bad luck has hampered the season but despite this both drivers of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel are sitting 4th and 5th in the driver standings. Ferrari in the last race in Germany were overhauled by Red Bull and now sit in 3rd place in the constructors championship.
Ferrari’s last podium was in Austria with 3rd place. Since then Red Bull and Mercedes have locked out the top 4 places. Ferrari’s only double podium was in Spain in 2nd and 3rd. Now that James Allison has left Ferrari they need a great result soon.
Points finish crucial for Gutierrez and Palmer.
Both drivers have been on the edge of scoring points and both have had their share of bad luck. Esteban Gutierrez has been outshone and outscored by Haas team-mate, Romain Grosjean. Grosjean has been making all the headlines for Haas earlier on the in season with 6th and 5th in Australia and in Bahrain. Gutierrez’s highest qualifying and race finish has been 11th place.
In the struggling Renault, Jolyon Plamer is under a lot of pressure to score points and is trailing behind his more experienced team-mate Kevin Magnussen. Magnussen has scored the teams first and only points of the season in Russia and he picked up 6 points. Magnussen is winning the qualifying battle 8-4 and both drivers are equal on race battle which is 4-4 where both drivers have finished.
Palmer’s seat is under threat from Esteban Ocon who is now driving for Manor when F1 returns. Ocon took part in 4 practise sessions and was Renault’s reserve driver for this year. Points are essential for the drivers heading in to the second half of the season.
Statistics so far
- Lewis Hamilton 6 wins
- Nico Rosberg 5 wins
- Max Verstappen 1 win
- Lewis Hamilton 6 poles
- Nico Rosberg 5 poles
- Daniel Ricciardo 1 pole
- Nico Rosberg 5 laps
- Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo 2 laps each
- Nico Hulkenberg, Kimi Raikkonen and Daniil Kvyat 1 lap each
- Lewis Hamilton 9 podiums
- Nico Rosberg 7 podiums
- Sebastian Vettel 5 podiums
- Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen 4 podiums each
- Daniel Ricciardo 3 podiums
- Sergio Perez 2 podiums
- Daniil Kvyat 1 podium
- Valterri Bottas 1 podium
- Mercedes 16 podiums
- Ferrari 9 podiums
- Red Bull 8 podiums
- Force India 2 podiums
- Williams 1 podium
- Daniel Ricciardo gets a win.
- McLaren Honda gets a podium.
- The title fight goes to the last race.
- Sauber get a point or two.
- Ferrari get a win.
- Jenson Button moves to Williams.
- Williams get a couple more podiums.
Calendar for 2nd half
- Belgian GP 28th August
- Italian GP 4th September
- Singapore GP 18th September
- Malaysian GP 2nd October
- Japanese GP 9th October
- American GP 23rd October
- Mexican GP 30th October
- Brazilian GP November
- Abu Dhabi GP November
The Belgian grand prix weekend takes place in Spa-Francorchamps for round 13 on the 26th – 28th of August. Plus the Preview for each race is back!