With the Summer break coming to an end this blog post is going to look at what you should expect from the rest of the season. Especially considering that the title race seems to be over with Lewis Hamilton 62 points ahead of Valtteri Bottas, it is more a matter of time for Hamilton to claim his sixth world championship title. But elsewhere in the field there is still so much on the line, with teams scrapping for valuable points and drivers fighting for their seats next season.
For example, the fight for the second top spot is just heating up. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has been for many the outstanding performer of the season, closing the gap to Bottas to just 7 points in the drivers’ championship with both the dutchman and the fin laying claim to two victories each so far. It’s clear that Bottas has been struggling at times with fortune not always going his way, the last race in Hungary was a borderline disaster. The battle for second looks far more competitive than that for first, and I would argue, with many probably agreeing, far more interesting.
And the constructor’s championship follows a similar narrative. Mercedes are already clearing space in their trophy cabinet as they have run away with the title this year, yet second place is still very much up for grabs. The gap between Red Bull and Ferrari has been significantly reduced to 44 points recently thanks to Verstappen’s great run of results, and the fight between the two teams is very intriguing for several reasons. Firstly, Ferrari are yet to even win a race this season with Verstappen picking up two victories by himself, however, Ferrari are favourites for the next two grand prix’s due to their all-out power and the nature of the two tracks. Secondly, the high-profile mid-season change at Red Bull saw Pierre Gasly demoted to Torro Rosso and Alex Albon taking the Frenchman’s place. It was certainly a risky move by Red Bull, but one they hope will give the team more points as they push Ferrari right to the end. Finally, the internal competition for the top dog spot at Ferrari with Charles Leclerc challenging the former world champion Sebastian Vettel, could this have a knock-on effect on the teams performance for the remainder of the season? The battle for second place in the constructor’s championship is certainly one to watch.
Putting the championship places to one side, there are plenty of seats still up for grabs across Formula One, one particular one to keep an eye on is the seat alongside Verstappen at Red Bull. As I spoke about in my last blog, there are three main contenders for the place; the recently promoted Alex Albon, the demoted Pierre Gasly and Red Bull’s old flame Daniil Kvyat. All three of which are going to be putting everything on the line to give themselves the best chance of driving for Red Bull in 2020.
On top of all of this it was recently announced that Esteban Ocon will be returning to the Formula One grid in 2020 driving for Renault, leaving Nico Hulkenburg somewhat in the dark as to where he will be next season. One spot I am sure he will be eyeing up would be a place at Haas, with tensions brewing between the two drivers, Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, reaching boiling point throughout the year. Other than Haas, Hulkenburg may be looking towards Robert Kubica’s spot at Williams, as the Polish driver has been consistently outperformed by his counterpart George Russell. Even though Hulkenburg can’t be sure that he will be lining up on the grid for next year, his options certainly aren’t few.
Even though both titles are pretty much spoken for there is still so many reasons to continue watching the 2019 season. You cannot underestimate how important getting second place in a championship is, not only for the monetary benefits but for the overall confidence and morale of the team. In addition to this there are so many personal battles between drivers who are fighting for status and places within Formula One. Even though the title races are over, there is still so much to fight for and for many on the grid and in the paddock, the 2019 season has just begun.