For anyone hoping that Lewis Hamilton will face stiff competition in his battle for his 6th Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship, it is worth recalling that in 2018, Hamilton won 6 of the remaining 9 races after the mid-season break. If history repeats itself, then clearly this would be enough for Hamilton to retain the title seeing how he already has a 62-point lead at the top.
In the modern era of Formula 1, if you are able to claim pole position you most likely will win the race. In 2018 after the mid-season break, out of the 6 pole positions achieved by Lewis Hamilton, he only failed to convert pole to victory on 2 occasions (Spa and USA). This in itself is pretty ominous.
Lewis Hamilton, despite the huge success already achieved this season, is still frustrated because he firmly believes he should have won all 12 races of the 2019 season so far. The area he believes is letting him down is – Saturday’s qualifying.
“There’s always things you’re able to learn from these races…Even though the last one (Hungary) was pretty strong there are still areas that can be better – for example, qualifying is still not perfect yet and so I’ve got to work on that.”
Therefore, if Hamilton finds an extra hundredth of focus and speed – more poles will come to him.
As for the races themselves after the mid-season break will it be a case of déjà vu for 2019?
2018 Belgium GP (Vettel) Ferrari – Ferrari desperately need to claim their first race victory of the 2019 season as soon as possible and Spa-Francorchamps is the perfect track to do it at but don’t be surprised if you see Charles Leclerc on the top step of the podium ahead of his German teammate this weekend.
2018 Italy GP (Hamilton) Mercedes – after the embarrassment displayed by Mercedes at their home race this season in Germany, I fully expect them to go all out in the hope of dominating Ferrari in front of the tifosi by once again being victorious on enemy soil.
2018 Singapore GP (Hamilton) Mercedes/2018 Russia GP (Hamilton) Mercedes/2018 Japan GP – Hamilton Mercedes: No one came close to Lewis Hamilton at these three races last year and his pole position on the streets of Singapore was legendary – do not expect to see many drivers ahead of the Brit for these three upcoming race weekends.
2018 Mexico GP (Verstappen) Red Bull Racing – we come to our first race which is too hard to call – what better way to celebrate the fact that Grand Prix racing will be in Mexico until at least 2022.
2018 USA GP (Raikkonen) Ferrari – The Iceman would need a miracle to achieve victory this year but Ferrari, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Mercedes will all fully expect to claim victory in Texas. Another classic awaits us!
2018 Brazilian GP (Hamilton) Mercedes – At this stage, I fully expect Lewis Hamilton to have claimed his 6th World Drivers’ Championship and for the Brit who idolizes the legendary Ayrton Senna, this could effectively be his victory lap…just one that is 71 laps long.
2018 Abu Dhabi GP – Hamilton Mercedes (Hamilton) – Nearly always, the final race of the season involves some unpredictability and false hope that ‘next year racing will be closer’. Anyone of the top 3 teams could win this battle at dusk.
Despite what has just been written, as the legendary Formula One commentator Murray Walker has said many times before ‘Anything can happen in F1 and it usually does.’
Who would have expected Robert Kubica to have claimed the first point for Williams ahead of his impressive teammate George Russell? Who would have forecast the calamitous performance displayed by Mercedes at their home Grand Prix in Germany? Who also could have predicted Valtteri Bottas being the first race winner of the 2019 season in Melbourne?
Thankfully, as much as Formula 1 enjoys displaying statistics in our direction, these drivers are humans and not robots (for now at least). Therefore, they are prone to human error, they are vulnerable to collisions and of course their cars are susceptible to mechanical failure. As well as this, we have unknown factors of how Alexander Albon will perform alongside Max Verstappen. Plus, will Valtteri Bottas edge his teammate and retain his place with Mercedes?
Obviously, it would take a very brave person to predict that Lewis Hamilton will not claim his 6th World Drivers’ Championship this year but hopefully his journey around the world to do so will be one which is spectacular to watch.