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F1 2018: The story of the World Championship after 7 races

CONTRIBUTOR
Editor's Pick
658   //    19 Jun 2018, 13:32 IST

Canadian F1 Grand Prix
Vettel leads the Canadian Grand Prix 2018

After seven rounds of the F1 2018 World Championship, there is just one point separating the top two drivers, Sebastian Vettel stays ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the title battle.

Seven Races - Three Drivers & Three Teams rule it so far!

The honey-badger Daniel Ricciardo holds the key to Red Bull's success so far, thanks to his splendid performance in China and Monaco which are the only wins for the team in 2018.

Defending World Champion Lewis Hamilton won two races for Mercedes - a lucky win Azerbaijan after the race leader and his teammate dropped out due to a puncture in the closing stages and the story in Spain was complete dominance till the chequered flag.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel won the opening two races in Melbourne and Bahrain. Despite Qualifying on top in other races he failed to convert it into wins. Vettel stormed back to victory in the last race at Montreal, Canadian Grand Prix.

Extremely competitive midfield: Renault and Mclaren look strong while Force India is playing the catch-up game.

Renault and McLaren are jostling for 4th position with Renault having the edge till now. Force India is playing catch up with the two Renault-powered teams after a dreadful first couple of races. Sergio Perez, the only man to have a podium other than the top 6 drivers, is holding a 6 point lead over Force India teammate Esteban Ocon who has had mixed fortunes till now but there have been occasions on which he has been very solid, like Monaco.

Canadian F1 Grand Prix
Hulkenberg leading the train of midfield cars

Early surprise fades slowly: Haas and Toro Roso were the talk of the town for the midfield battle.

Behind Force India, Toro Rosso and Haas are tied for 7th position in the constructor's standings with 19 points each, their seasons have been contrasting as Toro Rosso has blown hot and cold this season with Pierre Gasly's 4th position in Bahrain being the highlight for them.

Haas cars are sometimes the best of the rest in terms of performance behind the big three but the performance as a whole unit has cost them dear, be it the drivers (Grosjean in Azerbaijan and Spain) or the pit stop crew in Australia. It is no secret that they have been massively under-achieving this season and most certainly wouldn't be happy with the position they are in.

AUTO-PRIX-F1-AUS
Grosjean retires from the Australian GP after a pit stop disaster

Ricciardo and Bottas, the underdogs in the title battle?

The Driver's Championship is getting intense with every race as it is looking like Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton will be locked into another duel this year for their fifth World Driver's Championships and if they are to falter, Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas are waiting to pick up the pieces. Max Verstappen will be looking to prove his naysayers wrong after a horrid start to the season. 

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Race leader Bottas retires from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2018.

The Triple Crown looks good for Alonso but not the Mclaren

Fernando Alonso who has just won Le Mans 24 hours is level on points with Hulkenberg and ahead of his fellow countryman Carlos Sainz, in a car that looks inferior to the two Renaults. Kevin Magnussen has had a good season till now but it could have been much better had it not been for the pit-stop error in Australia. 


Nico's hunt for his first F1 podium is quite possible this season.

The 7th position, which is the position behind the big three, should actually be named after Nico Hulkenberg, such has been his prowess that he has spent over 40% of the laps in that position in 2018. His teammate Carlos Sainz Jr is showing consistency as well, especially in qualifying as he has made Q3 every time this season (becoming the only driver to do so besides Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Ricciardo).


Nico Hulkenberg  of Germany  and Renault  in the paddock...
Nico Hulkenberg is having his best F1 season so far

Battle of the future champions Gasly vs Leclerc

Pierre Gasly has done a solid job for Toro Rosso and has shown tremendous potential in the brief time he has been in F1.

The rookie Charles Leclerc has been the star of the season till now. After a difficult first couple of rounds, it looks like he hasn't put a foot wrong and has consistently made into Q2 and been in the top 10 a fair few times in a car that does not look like it is really top-10 worthy. 

Canadian F1 Grand Prix - Qualifying
Charles Leclerc starring in Formula One after dominating F2 last year

Vandoorne has to buckle up as F1 teams eye F2 driver Lando Norris

Stoffel Vandoorne has had an underwhelming season so far, on qualifying performance, it doesn't look like the gap between Fernando and Stoffel is huge but in terms of results. If the Belgian doesn't improve, he will sooner or later come under pressure as McLaren reserve driver Lando Norris is leading the F2 Championship and will be ruffling some feathers of F1 drivers in the near future.


The failed romance between Williams and Stroll

Lance Stroll had one good overall performance in Baku and has consistently made positions on the 1st lap but has made silly errors at times, and with Williams really struggling with their car, which is also hampering his performance. , things are not looking very bright for him right now.

Lance
Lance Stroll crashes in his home race, Canadian GP 2018

Ericsson and Hartley is a contrasting story to their teammates

Marcus Ericsson and Brendon Hartley have shown that they can be there fighting for points (the latter more likely to do it given that his car is superior to that of the former) if an opportunity presents itself but they will be looking to narrow down the gap to their respective teammates in terms of results. Sergey Sirotkin and Romain Grosjean are the only drivers to have not scored any point till now: while Sirotkin has had an uncompetitive car, Romain Grosjean has had the worst start to the season of all the 20 drivers. Sometimes, he has been unlucky but he has made mistakes as well which have not helped his cause.

All in all, it looks like it will turn out to be a good season with the top 3 teams closely matched on performance and midfield is as close as it has ever been. In-season development of the car and engine reliability will be pivotal to the fortunes of all the teams and drivers will try to remain as cool as possible, especially those at the sharp end of the standings to provide consistent results.

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