Looking Back At The 2018 Formula 1 Season
November 28, 2018
The curtains have officially been drawn on another Formula One season. It was certainly a year where existing champions prevailed and the gap between the top and bottom of the rankings widened yet again. In the modern day of sport, money continues to monopolise and have an influence on the outcome of events, with the F1 being a fine example of such.
It was Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes who stormed to the top of the rankings – upsetting zero F1 betting odds – to get their hands on the F1 Championship, as the best racer in the best car was unsurprisingly crowned the champion for the second year running. This is not to throw shade on another incredible season by the Englishman, but the lack of competition throughout the year amounted in a routine drive from Hamilton on most racing occasions. The 33-year-old equalled his career best of 11 races in a single season, as he showed once again why he is considered one of the greatest F1 drivers in the history of the sport.
Cruising into second, again without hitting many speed bumps along the way, was Sebastian Vettel. The German won the opening two races of the calendar year but couldn’t keep up with Hamilton in the second half of the season, when the Mercedes driver found his second wind after the German Grand Prix. Vettel’s search for a fifth world title and a first Championship in Ferrari colours drags on once more, despite the early promising signs of 2018.
The race for the third spot in the F1 rankings was the most competitive, with Kimi Raikkonen, Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas commencing in a three-way battle for the bronze medal. Justifying his nickname as the ‘Iceman’, Bottas kept his cool to cement the position as his own, despite retiring on the final day of the season. The Finnish man was a frequent podium finisher throughout the year, establishing himself as his nation’s most successful driver of all time in the process. Both Verstappen and Bottas do deserve some healthy recognition though, with the duo pushing Raikkonen right down to the wire.
As usual, there were joys, upsets and controversies once David Croft had announced ‘lights out’ throughout the year. The 2019 season is expected to be just as thrilling as ever and we are already counting down the days until March next year.
History In The Making For Hamilton
Five times was certainly the charm for Hamilton, who now stands alongside Juan Fangio in having the second most Championships in the history of the sport. Certainly no stranger to rewriting the history books, the boy from Stevenage has been breaking records since his debut way back in 2007. After finishing third and second in his first two races, he became the youngest ever driver to lead the Championship rankings as a 21-year-old.
Since then, it has simply been onward and upwards for England’s greatest ever F1 star. Michael Schumacher’s iconic seven titles remain in Hamilton’s reach – a record that was deemed unbeatable in our generation. There is still plenty of work to do but at the age of just thirty-three, the odds will be in Hamilton’s favour to do so. Many predicted great things for the F1 driver when he first took to the wheel eleven years ago, but not even his most optimistic fans could have envisioned a story like this. The potential achievement would arguably put him down as the nation’s all-time sporting great but expect some sterner competition for that top podium spot next season.
Verstappen – A Year To Remember
On the topic of young stars making a breakthrough and creating waves of excitement in the F1 world, it would be rude to not mention Verstappen, who finished the overall season in fourth place. Despite a bumpy start, which saw the German be involved in an accident during the opening six races, Verstappen ended the F1 season in emphatic fashion with six podium finishes in the last seven races.
The performances in the second half of the season saw Verstappen surge up the rankings and eventually claim a respectable fourth-placed finish. It could, potentially, have been better, had Esteban Ocon not collided into the Red Bull driver and prevented the youngster of his third win of the season in Brazil. Just two points separated Verstappen and Raikkonen for the bronze medal, but all things considered, it feels as though the Dutchman is now destined to embark upon a very successful Formula One journey.
The final race of the 2018 F1 season saw several racers depart from their teams, but there was no greater farewell than Fernando Alonso’s exit from the sport. In a career that spans 17 years and 312 races, the Spaniard is a familiar name to all modern fans and his presence on the track will certainly be missed from all those involved in the sport.
As a two-time world champion, Alonso is regarded by many as one of the greatest Formula One drivers of all time and he will be leaving behind a legacy that any fellow Spaniard will have trouble eclipsing. Unfortunately, though, 2018 was not the most fitting send-off for the 37-year-old, who endured 6 retirements throughout the season.
Despite this, it will take more than just a frustrating year to stain the reputation of the F1 legend. His last race was celebrated in heart-warming fashion from his fellow racers, who performed some doughnuts on the track in honour of his official retirement. The doors may have closed on an all-time great, but also a new space opens up for a prodigy to takeover. Recognised for his success on the track, but also his class and persona off it, fans of the sport collectively waved adios to the Spanish icon.
So, when will the F1 be back?
The first scheduled event for the 2019 F1 season is set to commence on March 17th in Melbourne, Australia. Already though, questions and predictions are flying around for the upcoming season. Will Hamilton win three in a row? Can Vettel claim his first Championship since 2013? Will the F1 ever see a dark-horse title winner?
All these queries will be answered throughout the entirety of 2019 and we can’t wait to witness it all over again. For now, though, it truly is ‘lights out’ for the year.
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As an experienced sports writer, Josh has been published across various different platforms, writing about his beloved club Manchester United and other footballing topics. He also covers a range of other sports, specialising in UFC and Formula One.