The Truths Following the F1 Eifel Grand Prix at Nurburgring
There is little doubt that Mercedes-AMG Petronas is going to win a seventh consecutive Constructors’ Championship in 2020.
And that means little drama when it comes to looking at the standings the rest of the season, unless you honestly care who finishes third or fourth.
Merecedes’ championship will draw the team equal with the legendary Team Lotus that won seven championships between 1963 and 1978. And the total is only one title shy of McLaren’s total of eight Constructors’ titles.
So, by the end of 2021. Mercedes could be third in the all-time list of Constructors, with Williams (9) being the next target in 2022. Catching Ferrari (which has 16 Constructors’ Championships) appears to be out of the question … for now.
The maximum Constructors’ Championship score for a race weekend is 44 points (25 for first place, 18 for second and one for the fastest lap). This means that if Mercedes scores a 1-2 along with fastest lap in Portugal, and Red Bull does not score any points, Mercedes will have a lead of 224 points. Since a maximum number of points available from the last five races is just 220, that means that the Constructors’ Championship can be finished by Oct. 25 and with five races remaining.
The Drivers’ Championship
The Mercedes domination of F1 continued with Lewis Hamilton scoring his 91st career victory and with Valtteri Bottas failing to score it means that Hamilton is now 69 points clear in the Drivers’ World Championship.
With six races remaining, Hamilton can now afford to finish second to Bottas at every race for the rest of the season and he still have enough points to be World Champion by a decent margin.
The truth is that barring an earthquake or another wave of COVID-19 through the paddock at the next race, the World Championships this year are decided. But who knows? Earthquakes can happen in Formula 1 and in the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, one cannot anything for granted.
Hamilton knows that and even referred to it in the post-race press conference at the Nurburgring.
“So many different things in this crazy pandemic can still happen,” he said. “So I’ve got to focus on staying healthy and continue to try to deliver weekends like this one.”
It is a fair point. The World Championship isn’t done until it is done, and there is no relaxing along the way as Hamilton aims to get his seventh World Championship and draw equal with Michael Schumacher’s record. If all then goes to plan he will go into 2021 with an eye of setting a new all-time record of titles.
With Red Bull in a fairly solid second place in the Constructors’ Championship, any drama left in championship may just be on the battle for fourth in the Drivers’ Championship.
Hamilton, Bottas and Max Verstappen are 1-2-3 and well clear of the rest, but Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez, Lando Norris, Alex Albon and Charles Leclerc are all closely-gathered with Ricciardo just 15 points ahead of Leclerc.
So, if one of these drivers gets a podium and others do not score in a race, it can result in big changes from week to week. Others, such as Carlos Sainz or Pierre Gasly could still join the fight with a few good results.
At the Nurburgring Racing Point moved to third in the Constructors’ Championship, overtaking McLaren, but Renault is right with them as well, while Ferrari has fallen back and is in danger of pushed to seventh as it has collected only 80 points and Scuderia AlphaTauri has thus picked up 67. That is a pretty small gap in F1 terms these days.
The announcement that Honda is quitting F1 at the end of 2021 is a blow to Red Bull Racing but there is still a chance that the Red Bull-Honda partnership could deliver the goods before the Japanese drop out.
Masashi Yamamoto, the general manager of Honda’s Motor Sports Division says that although the company is leaving Formula 1—reportedly to put more emphasis on battery-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell technology—it is still going to try to out on a high note at the end of 2021.
“Going forward we are going to be making the absolute most of each race as it come, as I say, to get as many wins as we can,” Yamamoto said.
The good news for Yamamoto and his engineers is that they now have nothing to lose. The company has already decided to get out of the game, and so they have no worries about taking risks. If they go wrong, it makes no difference. That may not win World Championship success in 2021, but it might bring a lot more race victories.
Verstappen seemed fairly happy with his runner-up result at the Nürburging as he felt that Red Bull is getting closer to Mercedes.
“Overall it was a good race,” he said. “I was just trying to follow Lewis, once Valtteri dropped out. I think the pace was good. We were just trying to do our own race. They were just a little bit too fast. But on the last lap, I thought ‘I’m just going to give it a go and see what happens’ and we just managed to get the fastest lap and that one extra point.
“From our side, it was a positive weekend, so I’m very pleased with that. You just keep on working to try to close the gap further. We brought new parts so the car definitely improved. We’ll try and keep learning more about it because, of course, the weekend was a bit shorter than expected. So at the next race we can try it all over again.”
There was much lauding of Renault, as well, as the team scored its first podium since 2011.
But there is still a long way to go.
When the Safety Car came out and bunched up the cars, third-place Daniel Ricciardo was 71 seconds behind Hamilton. The margin of 14.6 seconds back to third place on the final results sheet was rather misleading, given that Hamilton had built that final lead over the 10 laps of racing that followed the Safety Car.
It was still worthy of celebration for Enstone-based Renault.
“I feel we’ve been knocking on the door, particularly the last four-five races we’ve been so close and finally had the opportunity and we took it,” Ricciardo said. “I felt it was coming and it’s nice to have made it happen, so I’m very, very happy for everyone. To see Renault there down below the podium, I know it’s a big day for everyone.”
It’s a good bet that the F1 Constructors’ Championship will be wrapped up with five races to go and the Drivers’ Championship soon after. Will you still tune in for the last few races? Does F1 need to change its points structure to keep interest going through the final race of the season? Join in the discussion. Let us know what you think!
Source: Read Full Article