One more season, one more trophy within the cupboard for Lewis Hamilton. By winning his sixth world title, the 34-twelve months-former became statistically the second most profitable driver in F1, behind easiest Michael Schumacher.
But whereas Mercedes had been busy hoovering up facets for each and each the drivers’ and constructors’ titles, the the leisure of the season’s leisure became happening in other locations – and it at all times fervent Sebastian Vettel.
Even if 2019 brought him easiest one speed arrangement shut and one pole articulate, he got high marks for turning what can had been a leisurely twelve months of racing into a thriller. Right here’s why…
The one when Seb misplaced it
Because the rigidity became mounting on the four-time world champion to end the bustle of errors that had begun within the second half of 2018, team-mate Charles Leclerc became taking many of the facets – and all of the glory.
But then, in Canada in June, Vettel came motivate with a bang to dominate qualifying and valid his first pole in virtually a twelve months – since the previous July’s German Colossal Prix.
Had Vettel’s dropping curse been lifted? It regarded as if the F1 circus became rooting for him to arrangement shut in Montreal.
But then Hamilton applied rigidity whereas chasing him down, and the errors returned. The German went off on to the grass impending a chicane, then returned to the track aggressively ample to push Hamilton towards the wall. That precipitated the stewards to arrangement pack up their clipboards and suppose him with a five-second penalty.
Cue Vettel shouting: “Where the hell else became I purported to sprint? I had grass on my wheels. They’re stealing the speed from us.”
That wasn’t the end of it. Vettel took the chequered flag, nonetheless as soon as he found he wasn’t the speed winner, he went into one more rant.
“No, no, no,” he stated over team radio. “Not love that. You will beget to be an absolute blind man – you sprint on the grass, how are you purported to retain watch over your automobile? This is the circulation world.”
The German’s outrage precipitated him to disrupt the unprecedented podium celebrations, park his automobile by the FIA officials as an different of in front of the ‘amount two’ board in parc ferme, and storm off into the Ferrari garage. He became then compelled by an FIA unswerving to fulfil his podium duties.
On the formulation, he swapped the ‘amount 1’ board in front of Hamilton’s automobile for the ‘amount two’ where his can beget to composed had been. A bemused Hamilton, who will deserve to beget felt for his rival, dragged him up to part the tip step of the podium – as soon as Vettel had in the end arrived.
Unsportsmanlike behaviour? Not a chunk of of it… followers loved it a lot Vettel became voted driver of the day. And Ferrari even joined in with the refusal to accept defeat, upholding their long custom of flying a flag at the factory in Maranello following a speed arrangement shut.
Three poles… or even two
One more driver slightly cheerful to dispute the stats this twelve months is Max Verstappen. The loss of his pole articulate in Mexico in October became now not the principle time he is been stripped of a high-three articulate attributable to a penalty, nonetheless it is the one he appears to be like to refuse to accept.
He became handed a three-articulate grid penalty after failing to leisurely below yellow flags on his last qualifying lap when Valtteri Bottas crashed, and even admitted his mistake within the put up-qualifying data conference with a worried suppose.
Nevertheless, his eight profession victories beget virtually all come amid some make of drama. Snatch the one in Austria in June – Verstappen’s first arrangement shut of the twelve months and his second at the team’s home speed.
The Mercedes pair had been out of contention for the arrangement shut with engine cooling points, and so a contest blossomed between Verstappen and Charles Leclerc. A spicy on-track war seen Verstappen recede down the Ferrari and circulation with factual two laps closing.
Accurate as Hamilton had performed to Vettel in Canada three weeks earlier, Verstappen compelled a mistake and made Leclerc bustle extensive. At the least, that is one formulation of taking a beget a examine it. One more, whenever you halt up within the Ferrari camp, is that Leclerc became pushed elegant off the track.
There became a protracted wait to opinion if Verstappen would retain his speed arrangement shut. The verdict – that his victory stood – became now not called till hours afterwards. The Dutchman called it “laborious racing”.
Two weeks later… Ferrari assault, as a pair
Ferrari came motivate with chunk at the British Colossal Prix. Verstappen and Leclerc faced off in regarded as one of essentially the most intense battles of the neatly-liked F1 age.
It even extended to the pits as they stopped for new tyres. The speed to rep motivate heading within the appropriate direction as rapidly as most likely meant a facet-by-facet duel that the Silverstone pit lane factual wasn’t designed for.
They battled laborious nonetheless fairly, and Leclerc held off Verstappen till a security automobile on lap 20 ended their fight.
Enter Vettel to absorb the topic. But as an different of taking the fight to Verstappen, he piled into him. The German set himself to the motivate of the sphere, and left the Red Bull driver to drag home in fifth.
Vettel now not easiest composed a 10-second penalty, nonetheless moreover one more two superlicence facets so to add to these from the 2018 US Colossal Prix, and the Canadian Colossal Prix after the “grass on my wheels” incident. They wouldn’t be the last.
A bittersweet Italian Colossal Prix
There are heaps of rules for a Ferrari driver. But amount 1, at the front of the guideline book in monumental font, is: ‘Construct now not mess up in front of the Tifosi.’ Leclerc adhered to it. Vettel did now not.
Leclerc produced the particular pole-to-flag victory in September – with a controversially lower nook and an aggressive defensive sprint thrown in for factual measure. He did all that at an F1 circuit steeped in history, averting Hamilton to alter into the principle Ferrari winner at Monza since Fernando Alonso in 2010. Scenes.
But what of Vettel? Ah, successfully. First, he misplaced a articulate on lap one to the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg. Then it got worse.
Below no rigidity from any one, the German misplaced retain watch over and spun at the Ascari chicane. Then it got worse composed.
Attempting to re-be a part of the track, Vettel did one thing to horrify Ferrari followers and driving instructors alike. Mirror, signal, manoeuvre? Forget it. Apparently with out looking, Vettel returned to the track and crashed into Lance Stroll, who then needed to swerve dangerously to steer particular of a collision with Pierre Gasly.
It became a heavenly sprint to come from a driver so skilled, and one more jaw-dropping moment in an already dramatic speed.
Then it got even worse.
The stewards slapped Vettel with a 10-second end-sprint penalty, and added three extra facets to his over-crowded superlicence. Three extra after that may perhaps mean a ban.
So became that the end of Vettel’s dramas for the season?
Construct now not be foolish.
Ferrari implode, and the others rep a sprint on the podium
The within vitality war to be amount 1 at Ferrari reached snapping point at the Brazilian Colossal Prix in November, with a shatter and a double retirement.
Leclerc had been beating Vettel repeatedly on and off the track all season – even when the pair performed with some distance away retain watch over autos within the paddock.
Within the closing phases of the war for third at Interlagos, Leclerc made a elegant lunge down the within of his team-mate at Flip One.
Vettel wasn’t cheerful. He in truth wasn’t cheerful. He responded by deploying DRS to assault motivate on the formulation to Flip Four.
The duo went wheel-to-wheel down the straight, As Vettel became pulling away, he became in on Leclerc and the autos made contact. The final consequence: suspension injury for Leclerc, and speed-ending punctures all spherical.
The feud had in the end erupted – and history had repeated. The sprint emulated one Vettel had made on Imprint Webber at the 2010 Turkish Colossal Prix in their Red Bull days.
It became heartbreaking for Ferrari, nonetheless a joy to sight two midfield groups – Toro Rosso and McLaren – invent it on the podium. It became an extremely sweet moment for Red Bull’s newest reject, as he obtained a lope speed with Hamilton on the last straight across the line. For this became Pierre Gasly’s moment.
Gasly – demoted from Red Bull to Toro Rosso in August – and Carlos Sainz joined Max Verstappen on the podium to beget a shiny time a speed that may perhaps now not be forgotten any time rapidly.
The one where Mercedes made a mess of issues
What occurs when it pours down within the course of a speed, and autos come a cropper on a nook lined – inexplicably – with soap?
Whereas you happen to’re Vettel, you stutter the particular speed – for as soon as – by coming from last to second, whereas much of the sphere crashes or retires.
Such became the uncommon enviornment in Germany in July, one made even odder by a rare Mercedes glum-up. The team arrived wearing 1900s-fashion outfits to beget a shiny time 125 years in motorsport. They left having been sucked into enacting a fat-on tribute to Wacky Races.
To mediate, after a disappointing French Colossal Prix the previous month, that the F1 neighborhood had debated whether the sport became getting used. Germany equipped a speed for the ages – and a pair of surprises.
Snatch, let’s stutter, the drivers to trek off. Bottas – positive. Hulkenberg – understandable. Leclerc – a chunk of of a shock. But Hamilton? The a pair of world champion came to ache at a nook lined, by the appears to be like to be like of it, in soap suds. Had Dick Dastardly paid a secret sprint to to Hockenheim? No one regarded in a space to reward – or seize any motion.
That you just may perhaps now not rep that extra or much less drama in a game of Mario Kart.
On the opposite hand, essentially the most heavenly moment of the speed became when Racing Level took a ****** on slick tyres within the closing phases because the rain subsided, and Lance Stroll took the lead.
All bets had been off on who would in the end stand on the podium, and so to add to his list of dramatic victories, Verstappen obtained, with one more expose of masterful driving. Daniil Kvyat composed some champagne on the third step next to Vettel.
The one with the bromance
Away from Vettel’s antics, there are heaps of issues to be taken from 2019.
There is the bromance between Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz; the shut midfield war and resurgence of McLaren; the autumn of Renault’s performance; the ladder Williams and Haas proceed to climb towards reaching aggressive make; the Red Bull mid-season driver swaps ensuing within the invention that their skills pool is dry; and the power discussions about the 2021 regulations.
But what is for particular, is that Formula 1 in 2019 has equipped moments of laughter, tears, frustration, boredom and disbelief. And long may perhaps it proceed. To find you in Melbourne in March, Sebastian?