It’s been an interesting first half of the 2015 Formula 1 season with yet more expected dominance from Mercedes.
The title is set to be another head-to-head between Mercedes team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, the German narrowly losing out to Hamilton in 2014.
So far this season Hamilton has taken an incredible ten pole positions, only missing out on the Spanish Grand Prix to Rosberg. Only six of the 2015 races have been won by the current world champion though as he has not always been able to capitalise on his front row start.
Image: Twitter, @LewisHamilton
The season kicked off in Melbourne in March with only 15 cars on the grid. Marussia were unable to begin, Williams’ Valtteri Bottas was out with a back injury and Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat and McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen (replacing Fernando Alonso who was out with concussion) didn’t actually make it to the grid on race day.
It was a drama-filled start to the season with Alonso’s concussion during testing which led to a lot of questioning regarding the new McLaren Honda and whether the car was even safe enough to participate.
There was also controversy surrounding Sauber as Giedo van der Garde took the team to court to ensure he was able to compete for them in 2015 as a previous contract stated. The conclusion to this came when van der Garde decided on an out of court settlement instead, though he did show a sense of humour about the situation.
Wanted to get a drink, but all seats are taken. Story of my life…. pic.twitter.com/WjgdfpcOSg
— Giedo van der Garde (@GvanderGarde) April 20, 2015
It’s been a better season for Sebastian Vettel who has taken two wins so far, in Malaysia and Hungary, but for his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen there has been more bad luck, though he will stay with the team into 2016 after rumours of a move for Bottas were quashed.
Bahrain provided one of the most spectacular F1 endings as Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull engine exploded just as he crossed the finish line. Engines have been a pretty big issue throughout 2015 with Red Bull blaming Renault for all issues with the car and even threatening to pull out of F1 altogether.
The McLaren Honda’s have had an abysmal season with numerous retirements and most finishes being firmly at the back of the grid. Jenson Button has retired from four of the races, achieving his highest points in Monaco after an 8th place position but if rumours are to be believed the 2009 world champion will be retiring at the end of the season to become one of the new Top Gear presenters.
— Radio Times (@RadioTimes) July 29, 2015
His team-mate Alonso has had a mammoth five retirements, the same amount as his past three seasons at Ferrari, but did secure a fantastic fifth in Hungary. The Honda relationship seems to be rather strained of late as engine failures have been high on the list of McLaren’s problems.
Monaco is usually a race that is won from pole but this year was not the case. With the introduction of the virtual safety car (where no real car is out on track and all drivers must maintain a certain speed with no bunching up) for the first time in Monaco it provided some unusual Mercedes errors. Hamilton’s engineering team completely miscalculated a pit stop meaning that he pitted from first and ended up in third, leading to Rosberg winning the race yet again.
In Austria there were some dodgy qualifying spins from both Mercedes cars and whilst Hamilton looked uncomfortable on the track Rosberg went on to dominate the race. A huge collision between Raikkonen and Alonso brought the scare factor, ensuring yet another DNF for the pair.
At the British Grand Prix in Silverstone Williams really failed to capitalise on a massive opportunity that was handed to them. With the two Mercedes cars having a poor start both Williams cars moved into first and second but the team refused to allow Bottas to pass Felipe Massa, letting Mercedes gain on them and ultimately leaving them off the podium.
— Silverstone (@SilverstoneUK) August 5, 2015
The Hungarian Grand Prix was by far the most exciting race of the season. With the tragic news earlier that week that Marussia driver Jules Bianchi had passed away from injuries sustained in the Japanese Grand Prix many of the drivers were spurred on to race for the Frenchman.
Hamilton had an awful weekend, finishing down in sixth, whilst an unusually aggressive Ricciardo stalked and overtook cars like they were his prey, giving him a podium finish, alongside team-mate Kvyat who, in second, became the first Russian ever to finish in this position.
Rosberg had a perfect opportunity to gain on Hamilton’s mistakes and move higher in the championship standings but a collision with Ricciardo left the German with a puncture and only an eighth place finish.
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) August 22, 2015
The award for the outstanding driver so far has to go to Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen. At the age of 17 he doesn’t even have a normal road driving license but his sheer hard work, dedication and confidence on track have led to him currently being tenth in the championship standings. He’s an overtaking genius and definitely a world champion in the making.
For now there are only eight races left of the season, Hamilton ahead of Rosberg by 28 points. We will have a Mercedes champion this year but which one is still yet to be decided. And if that seems a bit boring to you then focus more on the middle runners, they are definitely the most interesting and entertaining right now.
What do you think of the season so far? Leave your comments below.