Boom! And just like that, the Formula 1 Championships of the 2017 Formula 1 Season are concluded. While I expected the Constructors’ Championship to be concluded earlier in the season (and it did!), I was really hoping that the Drivers’ Championship goes down to the wire in Abu Dhabi. However, now that we know that they aren’t, can we have Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel start at the back of the grid in Brazil and Abu Dhabi? It was fun to see the two quadruple World Champions battle with the mid-field drivers and try fight their way back to the podium. Why not have a repeat of this for the fans in the next few races since there’s barely any championship weightage to it (unless you’re Toro Rosso, Renault and Haas)?
Mithila Mehta and I have partnered with Firstpost for the 2017 Formula 1 Season and will feature in their Firstpost Pole Position videos all through the season. Basically, we’re now available in text, audio and video!
The fightback also allowed us to see the difference in the Ferrari and Mercedes racing cars and how fast they allowed Vettel and Hamilton to fight back. While the Ferrari was able to climb up through the mid-field far easily, the Mercedes struggled in the dirty air each time it came close to overtaking a car. Eventually, Vettel ended up 4th after a few interesting scraps (notably with Felipe Massa) while Hamilton finished 9th after a much-cheered scrap with Fernando Alonso. Will Mercedes be fixing this issue with their car for the 2018 Formula 1 Season?
Hamilton’s Win A Karmic Payback
Lewis Hamilton did the unthinkable in the 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix when he returned 3rd place to teammate Valtteri Bottas. Hamilton had asked his team for a swap and swap-back option so that he could chase the Ferrari cars ahead. However, when he couldn’t chase the Ferraris, everyone expected Hamilton to keep the 3rd place and the 3 extra points that come along with it because that’s what ruthless multiple championship winning racers do! Let’s remember, Hamilton was trailing Vettel before Hungary and scoring 3 extra points would aid his championship challenge. However, Hamilton did the unthinkable. He let Bottas through at the last corner to settle for 4th. His move was un-Formula 1 like! Even his team-boss Niki Lauda didn’t come out in support of his noble gesture.
I am a BIG believer in karma. At that point, Hamilton showed that he was willing to win, but in a fair manner. Suddenly, he seemed like somebody who was unafraid to lose. His 4th title against a spirited but unreliable Vettel-Ferrari combination could be karmic payback.
Battle For 6th
Toro Rosso, Renault and Haas are separated by 6 points in the Constructors’ Championship and will fight tooth and nail in the next two rounds to clinch 6th place and earn the extra millions that come along with it. Renault’s pair of Hulkenberg and Sainz seems more formidable and I would expect them to come out on top barring unreliability that cost them a good result in Mexico. Toro Rosso’s fresh pairing of Hartley-Gasly might find it tougher to help their team retain 6th place, but if they manage to do so, their 2018 contracts would be a certainty (maybe they anyway are!). Finally, if Haas manage to jump the two teams, Grosjean-Magnussen will earn some credibility in the paddock.
Battle For 7th
Now that Force India have sealed 4th place (also the ‘best of the rest’) in the Constructors’ Championship, their drivers would be free to race in the last two rounds of the season – an exciting prospect by all means. In the second half of the season, Sergio Perez has been shadowed by Esteban Ocon’s consistency, speed and string of good results. Could Perez’s ‘best of the rest’ position (7th) in the Drivers’ Championship be under threat from Ocon? The Force India drivers have already entertained us at various races this season and I don’t think this story has concluded just yet.