The Late F1 2019 Season Review

With 2019 behind us, so too has another season of Formula One and I have eventually got round to doing a review of the 2019 season in which Lewis Hamilton stormed to his 6th World Championship; stretching closer to Michael Schumacher’s all-time win (91) and Championship records (7) as Mercedes made history in becoming the first team to win both the Drivers and Constructors Championship 6 times consecutively. That would suggest F1 in 2019 was boring as Mercedes and Hamilton had it all their own way but apart from the earlier rounds of the campaign, there was action up and down the field was thrilling and action-packed. 2019 was also notable for me attending my first ever Grand Prix which was an unbelievable experience.

Lewis Hamilton won F1’s 1,000th Grand Prix. [Image from formula1.com].

For the 22nd time since 1995, the F1 season started in Australia where Valtteri Bottas returned with a thumping victory over Hamilton =with a message to whom it concerns. Charles Leclerc, in only his second race at Ferrari, took pole in Bahrain and looked all set for a sensational maiden win but for an engine issue saw him lose the lead to Hamilton who chalked up his first win of 2019. Leclerc did get his first podium though; he finished 3rd. China saw F1 mark its landmark 1,000th Grand Prix and saw a dominant Hamilton leapfrog Bottas at turn 1 for his second successive victory. Baky saw the tables turned as Bottas took the turn 1 initiative before dominating proceedings. read more

Verstappen’s Interlagos redemption, Mercedes struggle and the Ferrari’s collide: 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix Review.

Just when both Championships had been decided and it looked like F1 would be slowly winding down for the year, we get this! A chaotic Brazilian Grand Prix that was thoroughly worth the watch and perhaps the most dramatic since the rain-soaked German Grand Prix in July. The old school Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo is no stranger to dramatic races and the 2019 edition saw 52 overtakes, 46 pit stops (including a new world record), two unlikely maiden podiums, teammates colliding and woe for Mercedes. And all that without a drop of rain as Red Bull and Max Verstappen took their third victory of the season.

Verstappen really likes Interlagos. He produced a masterclass drive there back in a wet 2016 race and should have won here last year if not for that incident with Esteban Ocon while he was leading. He had been keen not to talk of it as redemption coming into the weekend but deep down there must have been a niggling thought there as the post-race team radio messages suggest. read more

F1 2019: Updates and what to look out for in the remaining two races

Both the Constructors and Drivers Championships have been decided with Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes ensuring a record-breaking sixth successive double success. So, with two races to go, you may be forgiven for thinking there is nothing left to play for as the F1 219 season winds down with the penultimate race of the season at Interlagos this weekend. That said, there are still several thongs to look forward to before the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi in two weeks…

Constructors-Battle for 6th

Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull all loo set to finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd for the third successive year and with McLaren holding a 42 point leade over Renault for 4th, it looks like the only tasty battle in the Constructors Championship is the battle for 6th. read more

Bottas wins but Hamilton secures meteoric sixth title: 2019 USA Grand Prix Review.

The Circuit of the America’s (COTA) is probably one of the best circuits designed by Hermann Tilke in recent times and it was the site of F1 history. Previously, only one driver had won more than Juan Manuel Fangio’s five world championships. Now, there is two as Lewis hamilton wrapped up the 2019 Championship for his 6th title. An absolutely phenomenal achievement.

Austin’s F1 future may well be under threat with the proposed plans for a Grand Prix in Miami but F1 reported the attendance as being above last years 269,899 and 111,580 for race day. That is all despite there being another significant race in Texas that weekend; the NASCAR Cup Series at the Texas Motor Speedway for the second time after both events clashed in 2014. read more

Hamilton on the brink of sixth title after surprise win: 2019 Mexican Grand Prix Review

The Mexican Grand Prix has only been back on the F1 calendar since 2015, but it has already become a fan favourite. That is shown in the organisers winning the FIA best Promoter Award four years running and shown again by a spectacular podium show in the stadium section. Well, not if you’re Sebastian Vettel who was not impressed with the trophy (after 120 career podiums, that’s just ungrateful). With several dramatic twists, turns and controversial moments, the 2019 race delivered even if it was slightly underwhelming that tyre management became the main factor in the race.

Qualifying saw the first bit of drama and controversy. With Valtteri Bottas having a pretty scary crash at turn 13 late in Q3, the pole position shootout was essentially neutralised. However, Max Verstappen set a purple sector to take pole position. Red Bull had looked strong for much of the weekend but pole was a relative surprise. read more

Long overdue win for Valtteri Bottas as Mercedes seal record equalling title: 2019 Japanese Grand Prix Review

There were so many questions heading into the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka this year and mostly, would we even have a Grand Prix. Typhoon Hagibis had already seen two Rugby World Cup games abandoned as a precaution. In the end, Qualifying was moved from its Saturday spot to Sunday morning before the race.

It has contributed to the debate of how the Grand Prix weekend should be structured as runners persist about how the Qualifying session could be edited. However, on track, Sebastian Vettel marched to a rather unexpected pole position and out-qualified Leclerc for the first time in nine. read more

Preview Talking Points coming into the Japanese Grand Prix

With five races remaining of the 2019 F1 season, it is the turn of Suzuka to host the 16th round of the Championship with the Japanese Grand Prix. Situated in Ino, the famous figure of eight circuit has seen some entertaining and decisive races over the years with no fewer than 12 world champions ships being decided in Japan but could the 2019 edition add to that?

The Drivers Championship
The top five of the Drivers Championship. [Image from BBC Sport].

Well, in the Drivers Championship, it cannot. After his surprise win in Russia, Lewis Hamilton is almost o the verge of a sixth world championship. Hamilton sits top of the standings on 322 points with a 73 point lead over his teammate Valtteri Bottas in 2nd. With Bottas not winning a race since round four in Azerbaijan and the recent set of races going against him, it would seem his title challenge is over. Charles Leclerc is in third with 215 points, 34 adrift of Bottas in second so it looks a very long shot for Ferrari’s young superstar to mount a very late title challenge. read more

Vettel’s surprise fifth Singapore win: Thoughts on the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix

There is something special about seeing the sight of Formula One cars under the lights in the Singapore night. Since the Marina Bay circuit hosted its inaugural race in 2008, it is one I look forward too every season and is always full of incident and revelations. A round 14 of the 2019 season, it represents the stat of the final third of the season and sets up a potential Championship battle thought over a matter of weeks ago.

Ferrari’s pace in Singapore was a real turn for the books. The tight, slow turns of the 23 turn circuit were thought to favour Mercedes and Red Bull who were expected to be fighting for the win. It was not expected to favour Ferrari. That was how it looked after the Friday practice sessions when Ferrari were 0.8s off the race as first Max Verstappen and then Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets. However, the nose and aero upgrades brought by Ferrari made the difference from Saturday onwards as Vettel headed a Ferrari 1-2 in final practice. It could have been that in Qualifying too as Vettel made mistakes on his final Q3 run before abandoning his final effort. Instead, Leclerc produced a stunning effort for his third successive pole position and fifth of the season. As the Monogasque said after Qualifying, it was not expected at all… read more

Leclerc and Ferrari at the double: 2019 Belgian and Italian Grand Prix Review and Ratings

Formula One returned from its four-week summer break with a back to back of power-hungry circuits beginning with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps; the longest circuit on the calendar followed the weekend after with the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

The first of those resulted in tragedy with the death of F2 driver Anthoine Hubert following a horrific incident in the Feature Race. Juan Manuel Correa is still in an induced coma and hopefully, he can recover from his injuries. It was a big loss in the paddock especially for Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly on the F1 grid who grew up with Hubert. Both put in strong performances in the circumstances but for Leclerc, he produced a stunning performance to win his maiden Grand Prix win and the 108th different race winner in F1 history. read more

Thoughts and Reflections on a sombre 2019 Belgian Grand Prix

Spa Francorchamps is a true racers circuit loved by both fans and drivers with challenging turns such as Eau Rouge and Blanchimont but it also marks the beginning of the second half of the F1 season. Traditionally, the teams bring engine updates and all the manufacturers did in 2019 which resulted in several grid penalties. There were a few driver announcements as the 2020 grid behind to take shape (two of these I have already commented on) but there was also a tragedy.

The F2 feature race ended with a horrific incident on the second lap involving Guiliano Alesi, Anthoine Hubert and Juan Manuel Correa I did not watch the incident live but the clips I have seen of it; horrific does not do it justice. I will not be describing the incident though as I don’t feel it proper to describe it here. However, while Alesi was passed fit by the medical team, Correa is still in intensive care but tragically, Huber succumbed to his injuries at the age of 22. read more