F1: 2019 Mid Season Review

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Lewis Hamilton has been the class of the field so far in 2019. © Andrej Isakovic/Getty Images

With F1 circus on hiatus during the summer break, it’s time to review whose flying high this season, and who needs a bit more speed.

Here, I’ll be going team-by-team as they currently stand in the Constructors’, reviewing both drivers and the team on their performances over the first half of the season.

Mercedes AMG Petronas – Wins: 10  Points: 438

Once again, Mercedes have been the benchmark at the front of the F1 grid.. Image sourced from @MercedesAMGF1 via Twitter.

Let’s start with the championship leaders Mercedes AMG Petronas, who, for the majority of the season, have looked pretty much untouchable in terms of pace.

Drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas sit first and second in the championship, winning 10 of the 12 races between them (Hamilton 8, Bottas 2).

This is the most successful start to the season for both Hamilton and Mercedes, despite their dominance during the hybrid era.

They have had slip ups though, namely the German Grand Prix. In the team’s 200th Grand Prix, both Hamilton and Bottas crashed in the changeable conditions.

On what was also Mercedes’ 125th anniversary, it was pretty much a race to forget for the Silver Arrows.

Germany aside, the season has been almost spotless for Mercedes. Subsequently, it seems very likely that they’ll wrap up both championships very soon.

Ratings: Lewis Hamilton: 9/10  Valtteri Bottas: 7/10  Mercedes: 9/10

Scuderia Ferrari – Best Finish: 2nd  Points: 288

Despite their promise, Ferrari have failed to threaten Mercedes. Image sourced from @ScuderiaFerrari via Twitter.

Now we come to the Prancing Horse of Scuderia Ferrari, who’ve had a disappointing season so far.

After seemingly leaving winter testing as the fastest team, they really haven’t delivered on that early promise.

It can be argued they’ve had the fastest car on three occasions, in Bahrain, Austria and Canada respectively.

However, one way or another, Ferrari managed throw away potential victories.

Bahrain saw Charles Leclerc suffered a mechanical issue which denied him a famous first win.

Leclerc also lost out on a possible win in Austria, due to a questionable pit strategy from the Scuderia.

And of course, there was the controversial Canadian Grand Prix, where a post-race penalty robbed a well-earned win from Sebastian Vettel.

A season with a win and the drivers in a distant fourth and fifth in the championship is very disappointing for the Tifosi.

Ratings:  Sebastian Vettel: 6.5/10  Charles Leclerc: 7.5/10  Ferrari: 5/10

Aston Martin Red Bull Racing – Wins: 2  Points: 244

The Red Bull-Honda partnership has allowed them to become Mercedes’ closest competitors. Image sourced from @RedBullRacing via Twitter.

In the first season of a new partnership with Honda, Red Bull have surprised many in how they’ve performed competitve.

Helmut Marko boldly stated that the team would collect five victories in 2019, a statement many viewed as absurd.

However, with Max Verstappen at the helm the team already have two wins, including their home race in Austria as well as Germany.

On top of this, Verstappen also claimed his first ever pole position in Hungary.

In stark contrast, Pierre Gasly has constantly struggled on the other side on the garage.

With a best result of fourth at Silverstone, the Frenchman has failed to develop upon last year’s form at Toro Rosso.

And with Gasly only 6th in the standings and 118 adrift of his teammate, Marko and Red Bull decided that enough is enough.

For the remainder of the season, the Frenchman will be demoted back to Toro Rosso, with rookie Alexander Albon going the other way in a move that has shocked the F1 community.

Ratings: Max Verstappen: 9/10  Pierre Gasly: 5/10  Red Bull: 7/10

McLaren F1 Team – Best Finish: 5th  Points: 82

Both Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lando Norris have showcased their talent at McLaren in 2019. © McLaren

After a tough couple of years and a tough split from Honda, 2019 has been a year of resurgence for the team from Woking.

With a completely new lineup of Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lando Norris, McLaren have very much turned the tables around.

The team are best of the rest with fourth place in the Constructors’, putting them ahead of engine supplier Renault.

Despite some reliability problems, McLaren have regularly been the fourth fastest car and are showing some great promise.

They are surely getting closer towards a return to the front, having not won a race in almost seven years.

Ratings: Carlos Sainz Jr.: 8/10  Lando Norris: 7/10  McLaren: 8/10

Scuderia Toro Rosso – Best Finish: 3rd  Points: 43

Helmut Marko’s decision to promote Alexander Albon to Red Bull has split opinions amongst F1 fans. Image sourced from PlanetF1.

Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso have had a very positive first half of the season in 2019.

With the return of Daniil Kvyat and the promotion of Formula 2 driver Alexander Albon, the team have had a good package, with multiple points-scoring finishes.

Yet, the stand out performance came in Germany, with a podium for Kvyat in the wet, with Albon also producing a personal best finish of sixth as well.

With Pierre Gasly’s return paired with Albon’s promotion to Red Bull, Toro Rosso bizzarely now have a more experienced lineup.

Between them, Kvyat and Gasly have raced in 123 Grand Prix to the 105 of Verstappen and Albon.

Ratings: Daniil Kvyat: 6.5/10  Alexander Albon: 6/10  Toro Rosso: 7/10

Renault F1 Team – Best Finish: 7th  Points: 39

Despite their heavy investment, Renault’s progress has seemingly stagnated. © Getty Images

For a team aiming to make the climb to the top, Renault have had a rather disappointing start to 2019.

Aiming to be the outright fourth fastest team, the Enstone outfit have struggled with reliability and development with the R.S.19.

The biggest hit came in Bahrain, when Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg retired simultaneously from sixth and seventh places.

In their fight with McLaren, they have had their moments, but still have work to do if they want to get fourth place back.

Ratings: Daniel Ricciardo: 6.5/10  Nico Hulkenberg: 6.5/10  Renault: 6.5/10

Alfa Romeo Racing – Best Finish: 7th  Points: 32

A revitalised Kimi Raikkonen has helped Alfa Romeo establish themselves amongst the midfield. Image sourced from PlanetF1.

After completing its takeover of the much-loved Sauber team and signing former World Champion Kimi Raikkonen alongside the promising Antonio Giovinazzi, the team have had a mixed start to 2019.

Raikkonen seems to be back in his groove without the pressure of Ferrari on his shoulders and has scored multiple points finishes. On the other hand, Giovinazzi has had his struggles.

Kimi lies eighth in the championship with the bulk of Alfa Romeo’s points thus far, while Gio sits in a lowly 18th.

Although the team currently seventh in the Constructors’, they are just a few points behind Toro Rosso and Renault.

Ratings: Kimi Raikkonen: 7.5/10  Antonio Giovinazzi: 5/10  Alfa Romeo: 6/10

SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team – Best Finish: 4th  Points: 31

Lance Stroll’s fourth place at Hockenheim has helped Racing Point stay in touch with the midfield pack. © WRI

With the duo of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll, the team formerly known as Force India have also had a rather mixed year.

Having struggled with upgrades and the overall pace of the car, Racing Point have had a tough time.

They have sneaked into the top ten at some races, but claimed an unlikely fourth place in Germany with Lance Stroll after an incredible strategy call from the team. Additionally, the Canadian also briefly led the race.

The team still have work to do, and are still rebuilding after the takeover from Lawrence Stroll, which will take time.

Ratings:  Lance Stroll: 5.5/10  Sergio Perez: 6.5/10  Racing Point: 7/10

Rich Energy Haas F1 Team – Best Finish: 6th  Points: 26

Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean have clashed on track numerous times, to the annoyance of Haas’ Team Principal Guenther Steiner. Image sourced from ThisisF1.com

Haas have had several issues to overcome, with tyre struggles on track and controversy off it with title sponsor Rich Energy, which is another article in itself.

The team have struggled with the Pirelli compounds in races, despite being able to do so in Qualifying.

Therefore, a lot of races have seen Haas qualify well and fall down the order fast, with their contrasting performance in Austria being a prime example.

Furthermore, Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen have come together on track on a number of occasions. As a result, Team Principal Guenther Steiner has been critical of the pair’s lack of composure

Haas clearly have the pace, but needs to cure their tyre issues and develop upon the upgrades being applied.

Ratings: Kevin Magnussen: 7.5/10  Romain Grosjean: 5.5/10  Haas: 5.5/10

ROKiT Williams Racing – Best Finish: 10th  Points: 1

The maturity shown by George Russell has warranted praise from many within the F1 paddock. © David Davies/PA

Having been on a downward spiral over the last few year, 2019 has been no different for th once-dominant Williams team.

They have spent a lot of the season at the back, struggling with the cars lack of downforce.

However, there have recently been some signs of improvement, as George Russell almost made it into Q2 at the Hungaroring, missing out by just 0.050 seconds.

Moreover, Williams are also the only team to bring both cars home in every race this season.

Their strong reliability record was rewarded at Hockenheim, when Robert Kubica inherited tenth place after Alfa Romeo received post-race penalties. This marked the Pole’s first F1 points finish since the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hopefully, Williams’ upward trend can continue as no one enjoys seeing such a historic team struggle at the tail end of the grid.

Ratings: Robert Kubica: 4.5/10  George Russell: 8/10  Williams: 5/10

It has been a very hot and cold first half of the season in 2019, but it ended on a high in Hungary. We will be hoping to pick up where it left off when the paddock returns in Belgium.

Do you agree with these ratings? Let us know how you would rate everyone so far in 2019.

 

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