It is easy to think the year is over now that Hamilton and Mercedes have been crowned the respective kings of F1 for 2017. If anything that makes the final races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi that much more interesting: with points no longer a worry for most of the top drivers, the gloves can come off. Racing purely for position should make the final races very exciting, as every driver pushes at the maximum to get a win or podium out of 2017. Those further back who do need points will be pushing just as hard so they can scrape up those precious points and try to improve both their team’s and their own standings. The drivers seem to have figured out how to pass with the new cars, which should make for some titanic battles to close out one of the more interesting Formula 1 seasons in recent memory.
Even more so, 2017 has been a genuinely historic year for Formula 1. We have seen track records fall at every single track on the calendar as drivers wrestle their cars through corners faster than ever. Lewis Hamilton is now the ultimate pole master, claiming more poles than Michael Schumacher. Even more impressive is the rate Hamilton nabs poles: 1 in every 2.9 races he has qualified in. The only drivers who eclipse him are Ayrton Senna (1 in 2.5) and Jim Clark (1 in 2.3). And yes, while it was a bit of a shame that only two drivers were realistically in the championship all year long, the fact that those two drivers were from different teams has made the story very interesting. My one prediction at the start of the season was that the season would be endlessly entertaining on paper, but somewhat dull on track. That has largely been the case, but the latter half of 2017 has been much more dramatic both on track and off. If 2018 is anything like post-Italy 2017, then we are in for one hell of a thriller.
There are still lower championship positions to earn as we head into the penultimate event in Brazil. Valtteri Bottas is still within striking distance of Vettel and could steal away 2nd in the standings. The battle for 4th will be entertaining as well as Raikkonen and Verstappen find their A-game as Ricciardo faces trouble. Meanwhile, the battle between Haas, Renault, and STR in the Constructor’s points is incredibly tight (6 points between them) and will have real consequences in their prospects for 2018. After all, their final position dictates how much they earn from F1’s television earnings. This makes Brazil and Abu Dhabi key races for these teams as they duel to the end of the year.
The 2017 Brazilian GP will be held on November 12. Brazil has a high chance of being a rain race, so you will want to tune in for the action. We’ll be back with more analysis and coverage afterwards!