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F1 2018 In Depth: The Front, Middle and Back of the Grid

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F1 2018 In Depth: The Front, Middle and Back of the Grid

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton after setting pole position for the 2018 Spanish Grand Prix

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton after setting pole position for the 2018 Spanish Grand Prix

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton after setting pole position for the 2018 Spanish Grand Prix

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton after setting pole position for the 2018 Spanish Grand Prix

Miguel Salazar, Discoverer Feature Writer

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Australia, Bahrain, China,  Azerbaijan and Spain. These are the places were we have witnessed the first five races of the 2018 Formula One season. They have been hectic, but some clear division has been made in who are the frontrunners, best of the rest and the stragglers thus far in the season.

Front Runners

The same three teams that have dominated F1 the past two decades are the ones that are currently in contention for everyrace win. Many a fan had the teams that they expected to be here clear like  Alejandro Gomez who stated that, “I was expecting the Mercedes drivers [to be at the top], Hamilton and Valtteri, but instead Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel are winning a lot and are also in the podium [consistently].”

Red Bull, the team that won drivers and constructors titles from 2010 to 2013 straight have managed to win a crazy race in China with a strategy change under the safety car on the fly and some passing masterclass from the honey badger himself, Daniel Ricciardo. They are also fostering one of F1’s biggest prospect, Jos Verstappen’s son Max, who set the record for the youngest racer to win a grand prix in 2016 and placed in third in Spain. Ferrari, the team that dominated the 2000’s with drivers like Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen currently reliving their glory days, Sebastian Vettel has secured pole position in 3 out of 5 races so far this season winning in Australia and Bahrain. His teammate Kimi Raikkonen, has managed to get onto the podium in 3 of the races. Finally Mercedes, has dominated throughout 2015 and 2016 and started feeling the heat last year when Ferrari began to challenge them for the drivers and constructors championships. Nevertheless, they came through and secured both with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. This year the britton has set pole position in two races so far and has managed to win the same amount of races while landing on the podium twice, which places him first in the drivers race. Meanwhile, the Flying Finns has not managed to win a race thus far, hitting debris in Baku after leading through the safety car and losing what seemed to be a very probable win due to dumb luck. However, he at least has been able to secure 3 podiums.

Best of the Rest

These are the teams can have good performance and reliability but still don’t have the pace or results that the top teams have. Although they may fluctuate from race to race some of the teams or drivers that have shown good and consistent results and could be placed as the best of the rest. McLaren is noteworthy here due to them having two time world champion Fernando Alonso as their first driver. They currently stand fifth in the constructors championship.Agustin Jaramillo an F1 fan stated that, “From the passed years Fernando Alonso was not doing that well due to the fact that he had engine problems with the supplier, Honda, but now as the MacLaren has partnered with Renault, he is performing extremely well, getting into the points and finishing most races. I am also impressed with [Sergio] Checo Perez.” Miguel Maldonado stating, “I believe the best midfield team to be MacLaren but we are yet to see of their engine is reliable”

Drivers like Kevin Magnussen can be put in this category, that although not finishing races like Australia due to a mistake in the pit box, has brought in good points for Hass placing fifth in Bahrain, sixth in Spain and even managed to top the official F1 power rankings after Australia. Renault is a team that also stands out as a consistent points scorer since they are currently placing fourth in the constructors standings. They have scored points in all races so far and would have scored more if not for Hulkenberg being taken out of the last two races due to other drivers’ mistakes.  Finally Sergio “Checo” Perez could also be seen in this group because although not at the helm of the most power full car, he was able to come in on the podium at third at Baku.

Praying for Points

At the end of the pecking order we can find young teams like Williams, Toro Rosso and Sauber.

Although Toro Rosso are eight in the constructors they have moderate inconsistent performances due to drivers that are still young and inexperienced.Teams like Williams have just not had the drivers or car to make it anywhere, they are currently las in the constructors championship.

When asked about the bottom of the field Maldonado stated, “Despite Sauber not being like and amazing team, the actually are a very bad team, Leclerc appears to be very good driver for instance in the last race he stood in the midfield for quite a long time. Sauber has really improved since last year. In the first five races of 2018 they have managed to score more points than the whole of the 2017 season.

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F1 2018 In Depth: The Front, Middle and Back of the Grid