After 21 thrilling open cockpit racing all across the world, here are the three outstanding and disappointing characters from the 2018 Formula 1 season.
The curtain has finally closed on the 69th season of the Formula One World Championship.
Reigning five-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes AMG-Petronas capped off his stellar season with a winning drive—his 12th—of 2018 in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit.
The huge break between last weekend’s finale and next season’s opener at Albert Park in Australia—more than a hundred days—is enough for F1 fans to reminisce and look back at what happened in the entire year.
Here are the standouts and the disappointments in the 2018 F1 season:
Zero – Vettel’s Title Challenge
Four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel was meant to challenge the half-a-decade dominance of Mercedes with his Scuderia Ferrari. And halfway through the season, he did lead the standings over Hamilton. However, he made mistakes after mistakes in his next races, throwing away his chances for the title.
Hero – The Haas Package
That's all folks! The 2018 season is wrapped. ✔️#HaasF1 closed the 2018 F1 Championship with its fifth double-points result of the season and a strong fifth-place finish in the constructors’ standings.
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) November 25, 2018
Only three years into its brief Formula 1 history, Haas has already shown that they could be leading the midfield pack in the near future. After two successive eighth-place finishes, the United States-based team finished fifth this year, thanks to its superb package, to its excellent drivers, and, in part, to Force India losing its points halfway through the season.
Zero – Ricciardo’s Cursed RBR14
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 28, 2018
How could anyone explain why a car from the third-best constructor on the field had the most retirements out of 20? Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo described that car—his car—as cursed. He managed to retire eight times compared to his teammate’s three, while driving virtually the same RBR14.
Hero – God-Sent Halo
— Sky Sports F1 ? (@SkySportsF1) August 27, 2018
The much-debated introduction of halo this season as protection in the premier open-cockpit racing has caused criticisms over its aesthetics and, to some, its capabilities to save a driver. However, the halo soon proved its purpose, protecting Alfa Romeo Sauber’s Charles Leclerc from an oncoming McLaren MCL33.
Zero – Bottas, Period
Bottas didn’t win a race this season… ?
— Matt Gallagher (@xMattyG) November 25, 2018
— WTF1 (@wtf1official) November 25, 2018
Only eight podium finishes—none a victory—and a fifth-place finish in the Drivers’ Championship is a hugely disappointing showing from Valtteri Bottas, given he drives the same all-dominant Mercedes F1 W09 EQ Power+ Hamilton has.
Hero – Alonso’s Brilliant Swan Song
At the tail end of his F1 career, two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso was given what the greatest driver on the field definitely does not deserve: an uncompetitive McLaren car for four straight years. Nevertheless, the Spanish legend has managed to bring the best out of his bottom-of-the-pack MCL33, finishing 11th overall in his final season.