Used F1 driver Jolyon Palmer, who left Renault all around the 2017 season, is segment of the BBC team and affords perception and analysis from the level of admire of the opponents.
The Formulation 1 season resulted in Abu Dhabi on Sunday with a podium that summed up the season completely – the three prominent drivers of the year had been all on it.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton received the trail, from Crimson Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. For me – and I suspect many others – they had been the pleasurable three drivers in 2019. Staunch no longer rather in that designate.
That is my evaluate of the F1 grid in 2019.
The five finest drivers of the year
1. Max Verstappen
By diagram of deciding on the accurate driver of the season, Hamilton and Verstappen had been almost inseparable. Hamilton received the championship, but if I had to scheme shut accurate considered one of them, I could maybe well maybe hiss Verstappen accurate edged it.
His relentless traipse and repeatedly high level triggered team-mate Pierre Gasly to be demoted from Crimson Bull to Toro Rosso in the summertime ruin. And now the strain is mounting on Alex Albon, Gasly’s substitute, as Crimson Bull desperately see anyone who can feature somewhere advance Verstappen’s level.
Within the foremost segment of the season, Verstappen’s victory in Austria, done whereas lapping his team-mate no topic being in the encourage of him on the foremost lap, underlined his dominance over Gasly, who has excelled in opposition to every his varied F1 team-mates, Brendon Hartley final year and Daniil Kvyat this.
Three trail wins, extraordinarily few mistakes and being a fixed thorn in the aspects of Ferrari and Mercedes reveals how factual Verstappen has been.
This used to be underlined by the truth that he carried out the season conveniently third, forward of every Ferraris, no topic being in a slower automobile by diagram of absolute traipse and being wiped out by every of the Italian team’s drivers at some level.
The best wide scheme back for Verstappen are that a foremost pole position in Hungary may maybe well maybe aloof have been followed up with but any other in Mexico as wisely as Brazil, had been it no longer for some foolhardy utilizing to no longer encourage off previous a yellow flag.
That rate Verstappen but any other rob. Potentially he can have exercised extra caution in Belgium Turn One as wisely, but except that Verstappen’s season used to be flawless.
2. Lewis Hamilton
Equally as spectacular as Verstappen, this used to be a nearly accurate season for Hamilton, accurate thru which he used to be strongly in contention for victory at almost every single trail.
When Hamilton leads out of Turn One, the trail is dreary. This used to be demonstrated as soon as extra in Abu Dhabi, even if team-mate Valtteri Bottas couldn’t bid him from the encourage of the grid. When he doesn’t, he’s repeatedly a component in the fight for victory anyway.
Hamilton has had considered one of his finest seasons and it has long previous beneath the radar, for the reason that title has been successfully wrapped up since June.
Nonetheless winning 11 from 21 races proves his dominance, particularly due to menace he’s had for the reason that summer season ruin from Ferrari and Crimson Bull.
Within the conclude, I if truth be told have marked Hamilton down in the encourage of Verstappen easiest because he went off route whereas leading in Germany and hit Albon in the chaotic final couple of laps in Brazil.
Truly, there used to be nothing to buy from the 2. Confidently subsequent year we can seek for them in a pleasurable title fight. That may maybe well maybe very wisely be a mouthwatering prospect.
3. Charles Leclerc
Ferrari have had rather a extensive range of stick this year – and rather rightly. They have been disappointing in every set apart.
Abu Dhabi used to be a accurate microcosm of their season. As Hamilton and Mercedes waltzed to a straightforward rob, Verstappen showed up every Ferraris.
Each and every drivers hit the wall on Friday. Leclerc missed a final qualifying lap because of a pointless strategic timing ‘gamble’. The team had been investigated for a gas irregularity sooner than the trail even started, and finally learned guilty. And they also’d a seven-second pit cease with Sebastian Vettel as wisely for factual measure.
Leclerc can most steadily fetch lumped into Ferrari’s woeful season; he has in any case made an even few mistakes, similar to crashing in Baku qualifying, in the trail in Germany or hitting Verstappen on the foremost lap in Japan.
Nonetheless here’s easiest his second season in F1, and basically he has been a revelation. Taking the pole position trophy for his seven poles reveals how rapidly he has been – and he added two beautiful victories as wisely.
Leclerc has brought a total lot of ask marks upon the diagram forward for Vettel, because of how vital he’s ended up shading his team-mate as the season has long previous on, blended with Vettel’s have mistakes.
Actually, Leclerc has crushed Vettel on every single measure – he outscored him in the championship, took extra wins, extra poles and conveniently received their qualifying head-to-head. And that used to be no topic Ferrari starting the year favouring Vettel, and imposing team orders – most steadily in the German’s favour – a total lot of cases.
Races similar to Bahrain and Belgium designate how factual Leclerc may maybe well maybe moreover be. Confidently, with but any other year’s expertise and a second season with Ferrari, he can cleave the mistakes and radically change a season-long menace. Whether Ferrari can preserve up their segment of the cleave rate is a uncommon topic.
4. Carlos Sainz
Sainz is but any other man who has had an unprecedented year, and accurate managed to pick sixth in the championship with an even final-lap fling on Nico Hulkenberg in Abu Dhabi. With every Gasly and Albon, his rivals for that plight, spending half a year in the vastly sooner Crimson Bull, that is severely spectacular.
Sainz hasn’t been the quickest this season. He’s if truth be told been out-agreeable by rookie team-mate Lando Norris 11-10 in the top-to-head – even if the Spaniard is de facto forward when taking into fable easiest lessons accurate thru which an even comparability may maybe well maybe moreover be made. Nonetheless he’s been relentlessly actual in the races and finally that’s what counts.
Sainz’s first laps have repeatedly been actual, and his trail-craft has been incredible as wisely. He has made several pleasurable overtakes in the year, and barely had contact with varied drivers, despite most steadily being in the thick of the midfield chaos.
A vital podium in Brazil used to be thoroughly deserved. It is accurate a disgrace he didn’t if truth be told fetch to stand up there as the stewards dithered when handing Hamilton a penalty.
McLaren have had an even season, with tall development from final year. Nonetheless they have rather a extensive range of work to attain in the event that they and Sainz can construct any better subsequent year.
Consolidating fourth in the constructors’ championship and getting nearer to the wide three is forever the aim in 2020.
5. Sergio Perez
This used to be a extraordinarily tough call between Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo, but in the conclude I’ve given Perez the nod for the reason that Racing Level used to be no longer as factual a automobile as the Renault and the Mexican all but matched the Australian’s functions total.
It has been an beneath-the-radar but extraordinarily actual season as soon as extra for Perez. 5 high-seven finishes in the previous 9 races leapt him as much as 10th in the championship, forward of Norris and almost catching Ricciardo, no topic having a slower automobile all the design thru the season.
There have been a few mistakes along the diagram, particularly in a barren patch in the midst of the season similar to at Germany and Silverstone, the set apart Perez went a stout eight races in a row without scoring.
Nonetheless both aspect of that trail he failed to fetch in easiest two varied races and undoubtedly punched better than his automobile, with four finest-of-the-rest finishes, on account of a few trim trail performances.
The the rest of the grid
This season has been a accurate fall from grace for Ricciardo, since winning races with Crimson Bull final year. The switch to Renault hasn’t been anyplace advance a success. Actually, the team have dropped backwards by 31 functions and a position in the constructors’ championship though they splashed out on the wide-cash signing of the Australian.
Nonetheless Ricciardo is no longer in payment for any of that. As a driver he has if truth be told been very actual this year, outshining Nico Hulkenberg 14-7 in qualifying and 54-37 in the functions.
All individuals who has raced alongside Hulkenberg charges him highly – along with myself – so Ricciardo beating him in that diagram, in his first season with the team, is an spectacular birth, in my opinion at least.
The Pierre Gasly that drove the Toro Rosso in the second half of the season used to be very factual. Each and every rapidly and consistent, he scored an even making an try second position in Brazil in what used to be my well-liked moment of the season.
Sadly, the Gasly that started the year in the Crimson Bull by no means got going. This used to be the final Jekyll-and-Hyde season, with one of the vital pleasurable and one of the vital worst. Very mysterious.
George Russell, Albon and Norris have had actual rookie seasons. For Russell, he’s had no opponents and a terrifying automobile, which has made gauging his performance advanced. Nonetheless for what it be price beating team-mate Robert Kubica 21-0 in qualifying used to be factual. He had flashes of traipse and barely set apart a foot unsuitable.
Albon’s Toro Rosso half-season used to be encouraging. His Crimson Bull second half started in an encouraging vogue, and fell a little bit of of flat in direction of the conclude of the season. He may maybe well maybe attain with kicking on a little bit of subsequent year, but confidently a stout cold climate of team integration can reduction.
Norris’ season started very wisely. He used to be rather repeatedly forward of Sainz in qualifying in the foremost half of the year and used to be held encourage by disaster in the races.
As the year went on, Sainz extra and extra established himself over Norris as the lead McLaren driver, but functions in six of the previous eight races designate that Norris aloof did a actual job. He’s my rookie of the year.
At the more than a few conclude of the spectrum, Kimi Raikkonen had a extraordinarily factual first half of the season in the Alfa Romeo, sooner than slipping encourage, along with his team, in the second half.
A sequence of silly errors kicked off the second half of the season, but on the total Raikkonen has aloof confirmed he has what it takes at 40, as he showed Antonio Giovinazzi the diagram, beating him in all but three races.
It used to be a tricky year for Haas, and in explicit Romain Grosjean, who used to be most steadily out-conducted by team-mate Kevin Magnussen.
A quantity of incidents and an even amount of radio whining didn’t reduction the Frenchman’s trigger, however the team fell a ways from factual midfielders to ninth in the constructors’ this year, and for the most segment had no clue why that came about.
They desperately want to be conscious the tyres extra, as this has been their Achilles’ heel since day one. At some point they would maybe well maybe moreover be trim like a flash, enjoy in Barcelona after they had been finest of the remaining. The following they’re fully nowhere.
Lastly, Kubica had the worst season of all. It used to be a vital success for the Pole to fetch encourage onto the grid after his rally accident in 2011, and the terrifying injuries he suffered. Nonetheless that is the set apart it ends, sadly.
I was a Kubica fan in his BMW days and when he used to be at Renault in 2010, and I hope folk will pick into fable him as that driver, in position of the tail-conclude Charlie who limped around in a extraordinarily wretched Williams automobile this year.
Both his appropriate arm and hand – which have easiest partial circulate, and which seem like roughly a passenger in the automobile – had been preserving him encourage, or so vital time away merely left him rusty. Or perchance every.
Both diagram, his performances this year weren’t a upright illustration of a driver who is supremely naturally proficient.