F1 2019: Albon to stay Red Bull as Toro Rosso stick with Gasly and Kvyat for 2020

After being promoted to the senior team after the summer break, Alexander Albon has impressed in his first year as an F1 driver and will be staying at Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen for 2020.

13/11/19

In his first season as an F1 driver, Alexander Albon’s early races as a Toro Rosso driver impressed management at Red Bull. Fast-forwarding just a few races and these performances that Albon was putting in, was putting Pierre Gasly, who was at Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen, under serious pressure. In the run-up to the Belgian GP, Red Bull made the announcement that Gasly and Albon would switch for the rest of the year.

Just a few days prior to the announcement that Albon would be staying with Red Bull, Team Principal Christian Horner admitted it was Albon’s “seat to lose.” Talking to Sky Sports F1 after the USA GP, Horner continued to say that Albon’s “got his bum in the seat at the moment and he’s doing a good job. Everybody has been impressed with the work he’s doing so far.”

Since making the jump to the senior team, Albon has finished in the top six in every race he has contested for the team and has outscored Verstappen by 19 points. This included a best finish of 4th at the Japanese GP at the home of the team’s engine supplier Honda. Although, the London born Thai driver has yet to out-qualify his Dutch teammate.

Meanwhile at Toro Rosso, the team has decided to stick with Gasly and Daniil Kvyat for 2020 with both drivers now feeling more relaxed at the Faenza-based team. Kvyat, who finished in 3rd at the German GP, said: “I’m really happy because I feel very comfortable with everyone here, I know the team and they know me very well, so it’s easy to understand everyone’s needs.”

Gasly, who has put in great performances since returning to the team he made his debut for in 2017, said: “Toro Rosso has always given me the best chances to perform every season and I’m super motivated and dedicated to repaying them with the best results possible next year.”

Team Principal, Franz Tost, was full of praise for his drivers and was optimistic about next season: “This young but experienced duo, combined with hopefully a competitive car, will be the best factors to achieve a very successful season in 2020 and I’m looking forward to this extended cooperation.”

What effect does this have on the driver market?

With Red Bull and Toro Rosso confirming their driver line-up for next season, it just leaves Williams as the only team to announce a second driver to race alongside George Russell.

The Grove based team will be parting ways with Robert Kubica at the end of the season and is in no rush to make a decision regarding their choice to partner Russell. Deputy Team Principal, Claire Williams, said: “We won’t be making our driver announcement for that second seat for 2020 until after Abu Dhabi this year.”

This seat although is expected to be taken by F2 racer Nicholas Latifi, who lies in 2nd in the championship and has competed in a number of F1 practice sessions for the team including recent races in Mexico and the USA.

Current Renault driver, Nico Hulkenberg, who is out of a seat at the French team for next season has been linked with a possible return to the team to which he made his F1 debut for in 2010. However, it has emerged that it is highly improbable that this will happen.

F1 2019: Mercedes boss to miss first F1 race since 2013

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is to miss this weekend’s Brazilian GP and is to stay in Europe “to focus on other open topics” as both championships have now been decided.

11/11/19

Having not missed a single F1 race since 2013, Wolff, 47, will stay in Europe and manage other issues in his role as head of Mercedes Motorsport. Leading the F1 team through the weekend’s race at Interlagos (Brazil) will be Technical Director James Allison.

One of the reasons in which Wolff will be dealing with is the German manufacturers debut in the electric racing series, Formula E. Taking part in the sixth season of competition for the first time, Mercedes will go up against the likes of racing rivals Porsche, Audi and BMW as the racing start on the 22nd of November in Saudi Arabia.

“With both championships secured, it gives me more time in Europe to focus on other open topics.

“It’s great to be able to do this and to know that the team will represent the three-pointed star in the best way possible both on and off the track.”

Mercedes Team Principal and CEO, Toto Wolff

Both the Driver’s and the Team’s Championships have already been decided this year with Mercedes taking a sixth consecutive title at the Japanese GP and with driver Lewis Hamilton taking a sixth driver’s title two races later in America.

Out of the 19 races so far, Mercedes have taken 14 victories with Hamilton and Valterri Bottas sharing the spoils. The team are 216 points clear of nearest rivals Ferrari and although the championship has been decided, they are aiming to end this record-breaking season on a high.

“We have two races to go in the 2019 season and we want to end this season on a high” said Wolff.

F1 2019: Giovinazzi stays at Alfa for 2020

Alfa Romeo will go into the 2020 F1 Season with an unchanged driver line-up as the Italian car manufacturer confirmed that Antonio Giovinazzi will remain with the team.

10/11/19

As the only Italian on the F1 grid, Giovinazzi lies in 18th in the Driver’s Championship with only four points. Meanwhile, veteran teammate and 2007 World Champion, Kimi Raikkonen, sits in 14th with 31 points.

Giovinazzi scored his and Alfa’s last points with a 10th places in the Singapore GP. Since, Alfa’s race form has dipped and both drivers have not had a great run with both finishing in the bottom-half of the midfield. However, Giovinazzi has been able to fight back when it comes to Qualifying on a Saturday. He now trails Raikkonen 10-9 with only two races to go this season.

The 25-year-old was was happy to be staying for on for another year of racing: “I am very happy to be staying with the team for 2020. I am grateful for the incredible level of support I received in my first full season in Formula 1: everyone in the team has stuck by my side since I joined and I am really looking forward to continuing our journey together.”

“Antonio has done really well this year and I am extremely pleased to be able to confirm he will stay with Alfa Romeo Racing for 2020.”

Team Principal of Alfa Romeo, Frederic Vasseur

With Giovinazzi remaining at Alfa, it just leaves four remaining seats at just three teams for next season. The seat at Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen, the seat at Williams alongside George Russell and the two seats at Toro Rosso.

This likely means that Nico Hulkenberg, who currently drives for Renault, will be out of a drive for next season. The German isn’t interested in a reserve or development role within a team by stating: “that’s not an option.”

 

F1 2019: Bottas wins USA GP as Hamilton takes 6th Drivers Championship

Mercedes’ Valterri Bottas wins the United States GP but by finishing in 2nd, Lewis Hamilton wins the 2019 Drivers Championship and takes his 6th title. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finishes in 3rd as Ferrari have a disaster of a race.

03/11/19

Starting Grid

1.Bottas  2.Vettel  3.Verstappen  4.Leclerc  5.Hamilton  6.Albon  7.Sainz Jr  8.Norris  9.Ricciardo  10.Gasly  11.Hulkenberg  12.Magnussen  13.Kvyat  14.Stroll  15.Grosjean  16.Giovinazzi  17.Raikkonen  18.Russell  19.Kubica  Pit Lane: Perez

Valterri Bottas must win as there is only 52 points left to claim after the race today. Lewis Hamilton meanwhile, only has to score 4 points today to secure the championship, therefore he must finish in 8th.

Race

It’s either going to be a one or two stop race today. Alexander Albon, Carlos Sainz Jr, Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly and Kimi Raikkonen will start on the Soft tyre while Nico Hulkenberg and Daniil Kvyat will start on the Hard tyre. Everyone else will start on the Medium tyre.

The lights go out and it’s a very good start by Valterri Bottas. Max Verstappen follows him, who made a fine start himself from 3rd on the grid to get alongside Sebastian Vettel and then claim his 2nd place. So it’s Bottas, Verstappen, Vettel, Hamilton and Leclerc but Vettel looked to be struggling, and as they reached turn 8, Hamilton swept around the outside of the German to claim 3rd, as Vettel fell back even further into the clutches of Leclerc, who had passed him by turn 9.

Meanwhile, Valterri Bottas leads by 1.1 seconds ahead of Max Verstappen with Lewis Hamilton in 3rd. Daniel Ricciardo has now gotten past Sebastian Vettel into turn 1 with the German reporting on team radio that he has “crazy understeer” although he’s no signs of damage. Alexander Albon pits at the end of the first lap after slight contact with Carlos Sainz Jr. An excellent start by Kimi Raikkonen sees the “Iceman” now running in 11th after starting in 17th. At the end of lap 3, Bottas sets the fastest lap and extends his lead to 1.4 seconds.

Sebastian Vettel is still behind Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris with Norris in the McLaren leading the trio in 5th, 6th and 7th. Charles Leclerc is in 4th albeit 9 seconds behind Bottas but is 4 seconds ahead of the trio of drivers behind him. Ferrari tell Leclerc that they are moving to “Plan B” – will this be a two-stop strategy for the lead Ferrari driver?

Sebastian Vettel’s race is run. His right-rear suspension has collapsed. The German pulls over after his suspension has broken after running wide over kerbs. He stops between turns 11 and 12 with the marshals able to recover his car and get it out of the way. Daniel Ricciardo overtakes Lando Norris into the braking zone of turn 12 for 5th place. Lap 10, Kevin Magnussen has now been overtaken by Daniil Kvyat as the Dane drops from 11th to 12th. Kimi Raikkonen now runs in 9th while Valterri Bottas’s lead grows to 2.2 seconds over Max Verstappen.

Onto lap 13, Max Verstappen is now coming under pressure from Lewis Hamilton for 2nd place. Verstappen is complaining of the balance of his Red Bull in the high speed corners as Valterri Bottas extends his lead to over 3 seconds. Lap 14, Verstappen bails out and pits. He goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 4th. What do Mercedes do now? Do they react? Oh yes they do!

On lap 15, race leader, Valterri Bottas pits from the lead, rejoins on the Hard tyre and in 3rd – ahead of Max Verstappen. Lewis Hamilton now leads ahead of Charles Leclerc. On fresher tyres, Bottas get past Leclerc for 2nd on the exit of turn 1. With DRS, Verstappen overtakes Leclerc for 3rd into turn 12. Alexander Albon now runs in 13th and has slight aero damage to his Red Bull. Carlos Sainz Jr pits from 8th and rejoins in 13th with Kimi Raikkonen in 14th after making his pi-stop. Lando Norris pits from 6th and rejoins in 10th.

Lap 21, Charles Leclerc pits from 4th and rejoins in 6th on the Hard tyre. This could be a very lonely race for the only remaining Ferrari as he doesn’t seem to have the pace of both Mercedes drivers and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen. Lap 22, Daniel Ricciardo pits from 4th, rejoins in 7th and still ahead of Lando Norris. Ricciardo senses a chance to challenge Leclerc for 4th and overtaking Sergio Perez into turn 1 gets the Australian to within 7 seconds of the Ferrari.

Lewis Hamilton should have pitted last lap. He decides to stay out for a bit longer and this allows Valterri Bottas to creep onto the back of his Mercedes teammate. Bottas overtakes with ease before turn 12 for the lead with Hamilton bailing out and pitting. He rejoins in 3rd behind Max Verstappen on the Hard tyre. Hamilton is going to the end of the race whereas Bottas and Verstappen will have to pit again.

Great scrap for 11th is being fought between Lance Stroll, Sergio Perez and Daniil Kvyat. Stroll did occupy 11th but pits for the second time this race. Alexander Albon is now in 8th and hunting down Carlos Sainz Jr for 7th. Lap 31,Valterri Bottas’s lead grows to 7 seconds.

Lap 32, Alexander Albon overtakes Carlos Sainz Jr into turn 12 for 7th place. Daniel Ricciardo’s hopes of challenging Charles Leclerc has taken a tumble as the gap between them has grown to 20 seconds. Lap 33, Williams decide to retire Robert Kubica from the race with a hydraulic issue. Albon now overtakes the second McLaren of Lando Norris for 6th place and is starting to catch Ricciardo for 5th.

Lap 35, Max Verstappen pits from 3rd and goes onto the Medium tyre. Will this trigger a pit-stop from Mercedes? Its does! Lap 36, Valterri Bottas pits from the lead. He rejoins in 2nd on the Medium tyre. Lewis Hamilton now leads but will have Bottas and Verstappen catching him down at the end of the race. But now, Hamilton is starting to doubt his strategy. Lap 37, Hamilton’s lead is only 8 seconds. Lap 39, Alexander Albon overtakes Daniel Ricciardo for 5th.

Alexander Albon pits for a 3rd time on lap 41. He rejoins in 10th having been running in 5th after a string of overtakes. Lewis Hamilton asks his race engineer if anyone else has made this long on the Hard tyre. His engineer replies and says their looking into pitting again and battling for 2nd. Charles Leclerc pits from 4th and rejoins in 4th on the Soft tyre.

This has not been a great phase of the race for Valterri Bottas. The Finn has been hampered by lapping drivers with the blue flags not being effective, however, on lap 45, he is now 3 seconds behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton. The gap between the Mercedes drivers is now only 1.5 seconds. After pitting for a second time, Lando Norris is in 10th and is only 7 seconds behind team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr in 7th.

Lap 49, both Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas are going to encounter traffic with the gap being only 1 second. Don’t forget Max Verstappen who is only 4 seconds behind the pair. Locking-up into turn 11, leaves Hamilton vulnerable down the straight with Bottas attacking but Hamilton fends Bottas off!

Again, Lewis Hamilton is slow into turn 11. Valterri Bottas in the slipstream pulls to the left and overtakes to take the lead! Will Hamilton’s 2nd place come under threat from a catching Max Verstappen?

Onto lap 54, Valterri Bottas leads ahead of Lewis Hamilton with Max Verstappen less than 2 seconds behind the Brit. Right now, Hamilton will take the championship. Lap 55, Kevin Magnussen is stick in the gravel trap at turn 12. There are yellow flags and this will prevent Verstappen from overtaking into this spot. Onto the final lap, Hamilton is still keeping Verstappen at bay. Bottas crossed the line to win but with Hamilton in 2nd, he wins the championship and becomes a SIX TIME WORLD CHAMPION!!!

Charles Leclerc takes the Fastest Lap and therefore takes the bonus point that goes with it as Alexander Albon wins the “Fans Driver of the Day”. Daniil Kvyat receives a 5 second time penalty after an incident with Sergio Perez. He drops from 10th to 12th.

Race Result

  1. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 56 Laps
  2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +4.148s
  3. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Honda, +5.002s
  4. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, +52.239s
  5. Alexander Albon, Red Bull Racing Honda, +78.038s
  6. Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, +90.366s
  7. Lando Norris, McLaren Renault, + +90.764s
  8. Carlos Sainz Jr, McLaren Renault, + 1 Lap
  9. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, + 1 Lap
  10. Sergio Perez, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, + 1 Lap
  11. Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  12. Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, + 1 Lap
  13. Lance Stroll, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, + 1 Lap
  14. Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  15. Romain Grosjean, Haas Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  16. Pierre Gasly, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, DNF
  17. George Russell, Williams Mercedes, + 2 Laps
  18. Kevin Magnussen, Haas Ferrari, DNF
  • Robert Kubica, Williams Mercedes, DNF
  • Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, DNF

F1 2019: Hamilton takes Mexican GP win but title rolls on

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton takes another step to winning the 2019 Drivers World Championship by winning the Mexican GP ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes Valterri Bottas.

27/10/19

Starting Grid

1.Leclerc  2.Vettel  3.Hamilton  4.Verstappen  5.Albon  6.Bottas  7.Sainz Jr  8.Norris  9.Kvyat  10.Gasly  11.Perez  12.Hulkenberg  13.Ricciardo  14.Raikkonen  15.Giovinazzi  16.Stroll  17.Magnussen  18.Grosjean  19.Russell  20.Kubica

Race

Today is Lewis Hamilton’s first opportunity to clinch the 2019 Drivers World Championship and needs to out-score Mercedes team-mate Valterri Bottas by 14 points to claim a 6th drivers title. The big controversy of yesterday’s qualifying session was Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who qualified on Pole Position, but was stripped of the position after it was found that he did not slow under yellow flags following a heavy crash for Bottas in Q3. This led to a 3 place grid drop and promoted the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc to Pole with team-mate Sebastian Vettel behind and Hamilton to 3rd with the Dutchman relegated to 4th.

Both Ferraris fairly matched each other off the start, Lewis Hamilton’s getaway from 3rd was searing. As he swept left, though, his progress was arrested by a rather cheeky squeeze from Sebastian Vettel.

As Charles Leclerc led Sebastian Vettel into Turn 1, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton went through the corner behind side-by-side. As they both struggled for grip, their cars swinging wildly, they made light contact, both running off the track and allowing Alexander Albon and Carlos Sainz to sweep past into 3rd and 4th. Hamilton re-joins in 5th with Verstappen down in 8th.

The Virtual Safety Car is brought out with Charles Leclerc leading ahead of Sebastian Vettel, Alexander Albon, Carlos Sainz Jr, Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris, Valterri Bottas and Max Verstappen. On lap 3, the VSC ends with Leclerc leading with a 1.5 second lead.

By lap 4, Lewis Hamilton overtakes Carlos Sainz Jr for 4th before turn 1 as Valterri Bottas tries to overtake Lando Norris at the same corner but is too far back. A lovely move by Verstappen to get past Bottas into turn 13 but the Finn gets back ahead on lap 5 on the run down to turn 1. Verstappen’s day goes from bad to worse as a right-rear puncture drops him down the field. His day will now be a recovery drive and will love a safety car.

Valterri Bottas finally gets past Lando Norris for 6th and will now set his sights on Carlos Sainz Jr ahead. Onto lap 8, Bottas blasts past Sainz for 5th way before turn 1. Local hero, Sergio Perez, has made his way up to 9th after starting in 11th while Daniel Ricciardo is up to 10th and will be one to watch as he is on the Hard compound tyre. A great move by Perez to overtake Daniil Kvyat for 8th into turn 1 gets the crowd to their feet.

Pitting from 7th, Lando Norris, suffers another botched pit-stop as the left-front tyre wasn’t secured properly. The Brit pulls in and his McLaren mechanics push the car back to the pit-box to secure the tyre. He rejoins a lap down in last.

Lap 15, Alexander Albon pits from 3rd and this means that the Red Bull driver is probably on a two-stop strategy. Lap 16, Charles Leclerc pits from 1st and rejoins in 4th as Albon overtakes Sainz who pits. Sebastian Vettel elects to stay out along with Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas in 2nd and 3rd. If Vettel, Hamilton and Bottas can keep their tyres in check, they might pull-off a one-stop while Leclerc and Albon are likely on a two-stop.

Lap 24, Lewis Hamilton pits from 2nd. He rejoins in 4th ahead of Alexander Albon and on the Hard tyre. Will Ferrari pit Sebastian Vettel? The German stays out in the lead as Valterri Bottas stays out in 2nd as well. Max Verstappen continues his fight-back and overtakes Pierre Gasly for 12th into turn 1.

With 34 laps completed, Sebastian Vettel, Valterri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo and Lance Stroll are yet to pit. Lewis Hamilton in 4th meanwhile, is complaining about his hard tyres and his chances of winning this race. Vettel navigates his way through traffic but his lead over Bottas has halved. Lap 36, Bottas pits. The Finn rejoins on the Hard tyre in 5th. Ferrari are going to react. They tell Vettel to push and box. The German stops on lap 37. Vettel rejoins in 4th ahead of Bottas and on the Hard tyre.

Charles Leclerc leads ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Alexander Albon, Sebastian Vettel and Valterri Bottas. Now, Leclerc, Hamilton and probably Albon will have to pit again. Daniel Ricciardo in 6th is yet to pit and will be targeting a top 8 finish. After a second pit-stop, Carlos Sainz Jr is down in 14th on the Medium tyre.

Lap 44, a slow stop for Charles Leclerc costs the Ferrari driver an extra few seconds and he rejoins in 5th. Lap 45, Alexander Albon now pits, goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 5th. Lewis Hamilton now leads but Sebastian Vettel is just 3.5 seconds behind the Brit. Valterri Bottas is a further 2 seconds behind Vettel in 3rd.

Lap 51, after a mega stint on the Hard tyre, Daniel Ricciardo pits from 6th. He rejoins in 8th and on fresher tyres, he could aim for a 6th place finish. McLaren decide to retire Lando Norris from the race and he becomes the first retirement from the race. Lap 52, this is getting tasty. Lewis Hamilton still leads but Sebastian Vettel and Valterri Bottas are very close together.

Lap 56, Valterri Bottas is now less than a second behind Sebastian Vettel with Lewis Hamilton still leading by 2.6 seconds. Meanwhile, Charles Leclerc is going to make this a four-way fight as the Ferrari driver is closing the top three down at quite a rate of knots. This will also help Alexander Albon in 5th who is only 10 seconds behind.

Lap 59, the drop-off on Lewis Hamilton’s tyres hasn’t happened and with 11 laps left, anyone of the top four can win this race. Lap 60, Alfa Romeo decide to retire Kimi Raikkonen from the race. Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo is now all over Sergio Perez for 7th place.

Lap 68, Lewis Hamilton is keeping the chasing pack behind him and the predicted the tyre drop-off for the Brit hasn’t happened. Onto the final lap, Hamilton leads by 1.7 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Amazingly, Hamilton crosses the line to win the Mexican GP however, the championship rolls over to the American GP next weekend.

A very opportunistic move from Daniil Kvyat on Nico Hulkenberg has left the German in the wall after the Russian tipped the Renault driver into the barrier. The Stewards award Kvyat with a 10 second time penalty dropping him to 11th.

Race Result

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 71 Laps
  2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +1.766s
  3. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +3.553s
  4. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, +6.368s
  5. Alexander Albon, Red Bull Racing Honda, +21.399s
  6. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Honda, +68.807s
  7. Sergio Perez, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, +73.819s
  8. Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, +74.924s
  9. Pierre Gasly, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, + 1 Lap
  10. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, + 1 Lap
  11. Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, + 1 Lap
  12. Lance Stroll, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, + 1 Lap
  13. Carlos Sainz Jr, McLaren Renault, + 1 Lap
  14. Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  15. Kevin Magnussen, Haas Ferrari, + 2 Laps
  16. George Russell, Williams Mercedes, + 2 Laps
  17. Romain Grosjean, Haas Ferrari, + 2 Laps
  18. Robert Kubica, Williams Mercedes, + 2 Laps
  • Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, DNF
  • Lando Norris, McLaren Renault, DNF

F1 2019: Renault cut from Japanese GP result after Racing Point protest

Renault F1 Team’s hopes for challenging McLaren F1 for 4th in the Constructors Championship have been dealt with a a hefty blow as the French team has had both it’s cars disqualified from the Japanese GP following a protest from Racing Point.

23/10/19

Following a protest after the Japanese GP from Racing Point, the FIA, the governing body of Formula One, have decided to disqualify both Renault drivers of Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg from the result.

The team have been found guilty of using an illegal driver aid in it’s cars which refers to the brake balance. This is not illegal but has breached current technical regulations.

After a poor qualifying result which left both drivers starting way down the field, Hulkenberg in 15th and Ricciardo in 16th, the pair, especially Ricciardo, drove well to finish in 6th and 10th.

Combined, these nine points were crucial as rivals McLaren, picked-up 10 points with Carlos Sainz Jr finishing the race a season-equalling 5th.

This disqualification now means that Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat have been promoted into the point-paying positions in 9th and 10th. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc now claims 6th while Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly moves into 7th and Racing Point’s Sergio Perez goes up a place to 8th.

Renault will now “consider its next course of action” after being cut from the result.

F1 2019: The Title Permutations in Mexico – Hamilton vs Bottas

The Japanese GP was an important and crucial race for Valterri Bottas. Not only did he win his first race since Round 4 in Azerbaijan but he outscored Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to reduce the points deficit in the championship with only four races to go.

21/10/19

Heading into the Japanese GP, Lewis Hamilton led the championship, after his win in Russia, by 73 points over team-mate Valterri Bottas. Coming into last weekend’s race, there were still five driver mathematically in with a chance of taking the championship. These drivers included: Hamilton, Bottas, Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel.

However, now its just Hamilton and Bottas who are left in the race to become champion in 2019 because Leclerc and Verstappen failed to finish in front of Hamilton. Vettel did finish in front of the Brit in 2nd but he needed to pick-up more points to stay within a chance.

So, due to Bottas winning the Japanese GP, Hamilton’s gap at the top of the standings has been reduced to 64 points.

Mexican Showdown?

For Hamilton, the simple way to beat Bottas and take a 6th Drivers Championship would be to outscore the Finn by 14 points.

Considering that a race win and the bonus point for the fastest lap award is only 26 points, Bottas’s chances aren’t great but to keep his hopes alive, he needs to finish ahead of Hamilton. If not, a podium finish or fourth place and the fastest lap will see the championship roll over to the United States GP.

Having clinched the past two championships at Mexico, Hamilton has not finished on the podium since winning in 2016.

The hunt for the championship maybe be complicated by the expected pace of both Ferrari and Red Bull.

In particular, Red Bull and Verstappen have been strong and have taken the last two victories in 2017 and 2018. Ferrari should also have a strong package as their straight-line speed should give them an added tenth or two on the long straights. The Scuderia have yet to take a win round the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit since F1’s return in 2015.