So far in the 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championship we’ve had surprise podiums, wheels popping on the last lap and a race with eight retirements. So with half of the season’s race done, Jasmine Butler and Melissa Chappelhow look at how the drivers have faired during the eventful first nine races.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team
44 – Lewis Hamilton: 9/10
We really wanted to give Lewis Hamilton 10/10 but not everyone is perfect, even if they have an almost perfect scoresheet. Hamilton has again dominated this season with six wins from nine races, broken many sporting records and shocked us with some of the most impressive pole laps we’ve seen in the history of the sport: Styrian Grand Prix, in the wet (still amazed at that lap). The Brit really has a high chance to runaway with the 2020 championship, which would be his seventh and see him break another record matching Michael Schumacher’s seven championship wins.
77 – Valtteri Bottas: 7/10
Valtteri Bottas has had a very consistent season with a win, three second place and three third place finishes to his name out of the nine races so far in 2020. It is no secret that the Finn is a good driver, however being paired with Hamilton, is not bringing out his full potential. He is known as Lewis’ wingman, some believe unfairly so, but Bottas would score higher if he gave more and challenged his teammate more regularly. We know he’s a capable race winner, we know he has the pace, but why are we not seeing Bottas out and out challenging Hamilton for the race leads rather than hanging back?
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
33 – Max Verstappen: 7/10
Max Verstappen has been the closest contender to the Mercedes duo for the entirety of the 2020 season (so far). Verstappen is in what is regarded as the second fastest car onthe grid – the RB16 – and has consistently been chasing down Hamilton and Bottas, he is also the only driver to break the Mercedes 1-2 finishes on more than one occasion. Verstappen claimed the victory at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, but as for many of the drivers, the Tuscan Grand Prix was one to forget. His retirement from this race marked his second of the second of the season. What really rubbed salt in the wounds was it was a power train issue, which saw the Dutchman fly backwards down the order putting him in the perfect place for a later collision. With mechanical issues ironed out Verstappen has the kit and talent to continue the Mercedes chase for the remaining races.
23 – Alexander Albon: 6/10
Alexander Albon has been in the shadows of his team mate Verstappen since he joined the Red Bull outfit at the mid-point of the 2019 season, and has struggled to consistently match the pace of his team mate. Albon seems to constantly be fighting for his place at the team, despite showing that he has earned his place there. He’s scored his first career podium this season at the Tuscan Grand Prix and that is to be applauded. The RB16 appears to not be suited to his driving style, however the British-Thai racer has, in the face of it all, has produced the best results he can with it.
McLaren F1 Team
55 – Carlos Sainz Jr.: 7/10
It was a frustrating end to the first half of what has been a season of consistent improvement for Carlos Sainz Jr. when he was involved in the heavy restart accident at Mugello last time out. Sainz has performed superbly with consistent finishes in the mid points and scored a career best second place finish at the Italian Grand Prix which saw him almost in reach of taking his first F1 win. The Spaniard has given his all in his final stint with McLaren before he moves to Scuderia Ferrari from 2021. It’s fair to say McLaren has a much improved car in 2020 and with a dedicated team and driver pairing at the helm, Sainz has produced some of his best career results to date.
4 – Lando Norris: 7/10
2020 marks Lando Norris’ second season in Formula 1, and with McLaren. He’s been a true whirlwind of fun, but let’s not let this overshadow his performance over the first half of the season. Norris has showed determination to match his performance on the opening round of the season at the Austrian Grand Prix, where the Brit scored his first F1 career podium taking third place, however he has struggled to be in podium contention for much of the season, with the closest being fourth place at the Italian Grand Prix. Like Sainz, Norris has finished consistently in the points, and matching similar pace at each grands prix, only failing to score a top ten finish at the Hungarian Grand Prix, where he finished in thirteenth place.
BWT Racing Point Formula One Team
18 – Lance Stroll: 8/10
The Canadian driver has silenced his critics this year. Before it was announced that Sebastian Vettel will be replacing Sergio Perez for 2021, many people belived it should be Stroll to lose his seat and he was only in a car because of ‘Dads Money’. However, he has gone from strength to strength, gaining his second podium in his Formula 1 career, outscoring his team-mate 4-3 in races and already beating his points tally of the 2019 season.
11 – Sergio Pérez: 5.5/10
Sergio Pérez has always been a strong contender in the midfield pack and so far this year he has only finished the points so you’re probably wondering why the low score? Yes, he may have missed a two races due to contracting Coronavirus but in terms of race pace, his team-mate seems to be the stronger. In two of the three races he has finished higher than Lance Stroll, that was down to Stroll retiring from the race and the other, Stroll was only one place off. He has a lot to prove going into the second half of the season and ultimately prove why another team should pick him up for 2021.
Renault DP World F1 Team
3 – Daniel Ricciardo: 7/10
If you would have told us at the beginning of the season that Daniel Ricciardo would be fighting for podiums in the Renault, then we would have laughed. Ricciardo is just 1 point away from equalling his 2019 points total with and that will largely be down to the stellar performances he put on at Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps and Mugello. This guy has the determination to do great things in the strong and it’s thoroughly enjoyable watching him put in a great shift every weekend.
31 – Esteban Ocon: 6/10
Esteban Ocon hasn’t been bad, but he largely hasn’t been great. He has currently been outperformed by his team-mate eight to one in races and seven to two in qualifying. Yes, it must be had coming back to Formula One with a year out and a race winner in Daniel Ricciardo as your team-mate but I expected better and for him to push, not sit in the shadows.
5 – Sebastian Vettel: 5/10
The 2020 season has seen four time world champion, Sebastian Vettel, nowhere in the top ten, let alone in contention for a podium place finish. With his seat already spoken for, prior to the season starting, the least fans could’ve expected was a strong farewell from his six season with the Scuderia, but that is far from what came to fruition. The German’s best race finish in the SF1000 was sixth at the Hungarian Grand Prix, he failed to reach Q2 at the team’s home grand prix at Monza, and then both Vettel and Leclerc retired from that same race.
16 – Charles Leclerc: 7/10
It is no secret that the SF1000 is one of the poorest cars to come from the Scuderia in its years in Formula 1. Charles Leclerc has achieved what his teammate Vettel couldn’t: Podium place finishes – he’s had two, including second place at the opening round of the season at the Red Bull Ring. Leclerc is awarded two points more than Vettel due to his podium places and finishing ahead of his teammate seven times while battling with the same terrible piece of kit. Who’d have thought at pre-season testing we’d have seen a Ferrari in second place?
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
10 – Pierre Gasly: 7/10
Pierre Gasly is now a Formula 1 race winner and what an emotional and joyous moment that must have been for him. The driver hasn’t had the easiest rides in Formula 1 over the past two years. Getting demoted to Toro Rosso from Red Bull and losing his best friend in Anthoine Hubert, that takes a toll on a man. But not Gasly. He has come back fighting, trying his hardest that it should be him in that Red Bull seat. If we were Helmut Marko, we would put him back where he belongs.
26 – Daniil Kyvat: 5.5/10
Daniil Kyvat has well and truly been in Gasly’s shadow. He is again another driver who has been lacking compared to his team-mate, being outqualified seven to two and out raced five to four. He’s struggled to finish in the points and if he has, it’s usually been ninth or tenth. When there’s talks of big driver change ups at the end of the season, we would be scared if I was Kyvat.
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN
7 – Kimi Raikkonen: 5/10
Fan favourite and Formula 1 legend Kimi Raikkonen has only had one top ten finish this season, which leaves him sixteenth in the drivers championship standings. However, Raikkonen has out-performed his teammate Antonio Giovinazzi seven times out of the nine races we’ve seen so far this season. During the crazy Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Raikkonen was up in second place following a safety car and restart!
99 – Antonio Giovinazzi: 4/10
Antonio Giovinazzi has retired twice this season due to being involved in collisions with fellow drivers at Spa-Francorchamps and at Mugello. Along with poor results, underperforming against his team mate, the collisions only added to the Italian’s woes. His best race finish came at the opening round of the season in Austria with a ninth place finish, but with the slow pace of the Alfa Romeo C39 Giovinazzi has a lot of work to do if he wants to see himself in the top ten any time soon.
Haas F1 Team
8 – Romain Grosjean: 4/10
We will be very surprised if we see Grosjean in a Formula One car next year. He is one of the three drivers yet to score a point this year and doesn’t look like he will anytime soon. He doesn’t have a great Formula One history either and has never really contended for podiums so unless he has the best second half of the season, we don’t hold hope for him.
20 – Kevin Magnussen: 4/10
Magnussen holds the candle for Haas F1 Team at the moment, scoring their only point this year. He has had a season marred by retirements, only finishing four out of nine races so far this year. This year was supposed to be great for Haas F1 Team but they’ve just taken a step backwards.
63 – George Russell: 6.5/10
If you’re not a seasoned Formula One fan and are looking at George Russell’s results, you’re probably thinking why has he been scored so high? I do not see another driver put in a shift as much as I do in Russell. Every week we hope that he’ll finally grab his first point because he deserves it. Since joining Formula One last year, he has outqualified his team-mate thirty to zero!! The guy knows tracks like the back of his hand and makes an underperforming William’s car thrive, we cannot wait to see him in a Championship contending car.
6 – Nicholas Latifi: = 4/10
Nicholas Latifi won’t be very impressed with his first Formula One season so far but you have to cut him a little slack. He’s joined Williams at a time of great struggle and still manages to put in a good performance. He still hasn’t scored any points though and his team-mate George Russell is constantly beating him in the team-mate head to head battles. We hope he can do something great in the second half of the season.