Friday,16 November, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1402, (19 - 25 July 2018)
Friday,16 November, 2018
Issue 1402, (19 - 25 July 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Who will laugh last?

The battle for the driving championship heats up and will probably stay red hot to the end

Vettel’s Ferrari

Since the golden days of Schumacher, Alonso and Raikkonen, the world of Formula One has been starved for two or three drivers fighting for the championship along with their teams. Remember Raikkonen losing the title in the last race in 2003 to Schumacher, Alonso fighting with Schumacher in 2006 for the world champion to the end of the season and winning it? Raikkonen winning the world championship with Ferrari in the last race beating Hamilton and Alonso, who were in front of him on the driver’s championship standings with only couple of points, in the Brazilian Grand Prix?

Then came the era of manufacturers supported by talent. With the changes to engines and massive development programmes on cars pushed by FIA rules and regulations, huge gaps started to appear among teams, something many fans and enthusiasts were not used to. Sebastian Vettel winning the world championship with RedBull in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Yes, Vettel earned them all and had all the talent needed to put himself among the elite in the hall of fame, but it was the start of an era which asked which car had the upper hand up until a new regulation popped up.

Then came Mercedes to win the title with their unbeatable silver arrows in 2014 and 2015 by Hamilton, 2016 by Nico Rosberg, and 2017 by Hamilton again. 


Vettel

In 2017, the start of the season was a tap on the shoulder for many F1 fans who might have felt bored the past year from the lack of competition. Now there is a battle to watch between Vettel who was given a fast car by Scuderia Ferrari, nearly good enough to run after Hamilton’s Mercedes. When Vettel won the first race of the season, it was war already declared. But it wasn’t easy for the Mercedes team to let Ferrari snatch the title. They did everything, technically, strategy wise, but that strategy thing wasn’t good enough for Ferrari to beat it.

The competition was epic at its start, but it didn’t last long. It was actually the start for Ferrari to believe they are not way behind Mercedes and with a whole newly developed car and solid strategies they have a good chance in 2018. On the other hand, Mercedes were never convinced that their car needs any additional tweaking for the next season. They believed it to be as good as it can get.


Hamilton

The 2018 season started with the same heat like 2017, but kept going and still goes. Even for RedBull, who were expected not to win anything they did, with their talented Daniel Ricciardo. Max Verstappen was busy crashing into cars.


Next race

With the calendar right in the middle of the season, Vettel and Raikkonen are both backed up by a stronger Ferrari team that provided the most powerful power plant among the teams. Many questions are being raised regarding whether Ferrari will keep pushing or rather manage its energy and full attack near the end of the season; the same with Mercedes. With all the changes in regulations, especially with the three-engine limit for every driver for the whole 21 races of the season, there is no fear the excitement might fade when reaching the end of the season. If anything, it might reach the screamer level of excitement. We’ll see.

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