Another race, another Mercedes win. But that doesn't begin to tell the story. While Rosberg was dominant, the star performances came further down the field. Lewis Hamilton recovered well from 20th on the grid, having suffered a brake failure in qualifying, leaving him rooted in 16th before an inevitable gearbox change put him even further behind. His fight back was impressive, though it was made easier by his Mercedes car's dominance.
An action-packed race that will live long in the memory. From Lewis Hamilton seeing the red mist and hunting down his Mercedes’ teammate like a finely tuned predator to Valtteri Bottas and Fernando Alonso fighting their way through the field to Jenson Button’s great defensive drive, this race had everything and I’m sure the fans won’t have minded waiting an extra hour after Kimi Raikkonen’s huge accident for the real fireworks to begin.
Well that wasn’t what was expected but it was certainly what the doctor ordered. Mercedes finally have someone to play with at the front in the form of Williams. Now maybe the track favoured Williams with 90 degree corners not as challenging on their tyres as the long sweeping corners of circuits like Circuit de Catalunya or Shanghai, and the short track reducing the advantage of pure speed. In qualifying they may have got lucky with Lewis Hamilton’s spin ruining both Mercedes’ final Q3 run, but many were left stunned when their advantage warming up tyres in qualifying didn’t hurt their tyre wear in the race.
The Canadian GP never disappoints. The first half of the race was intriguing but it was midway through the race that things got really interesting as it became clear that the Mercedes had a hole, let alone a chink in their armour. And not only that, there were five or six contenders to go for the win against the Mercedes and you had no idea who could and would win it. But it was Ricciardo who won out and took his maiden victory, holding off teammate Sebastian Vettel and making late moves on Checo Perez and Nico Rosberg.
Well it was certainly an eventful race, I can’t remember the last time that there were eight retirements in an F1 Grand Prix. Still it left the door open for some to punch above their weight as others made crucial errors or unreliability bit at just the wrong time. Up front, the expected battle never really materialised as Nico Rosberg seemed to have Lewis Hamilton completely covered until Hamilton’s vision issues ended the fight outright.
It may have been a slow burner but there was plenty of intrigue buried within this year's Spanish GP. There always is when the benefit of one strategy is razor thin over another. In this case, it was the debate between a two stop and a three stop and it all hinged on whether you could run in clear air. If you could, a three stop seemed to have the edge.
Let’s be honest, it wasn’t a classic as Lewis Hamilton showed all of his best qualities and teammate Nico Rosberg got stuck in the pack and could never recover. But down the grid, cars being out of position due to a wet qualifying meant that some had to fight through the field to recover some points, while others just didn’t have the pace to maintain their position through the race.
Wow. What a race! And in Bahrain too. Sunday's Grand Prix did away with the traditional Middle East snooze and instead we had a mid-afternoon thriller in the desert as the latest breed of thoroughbreds showed just what F1 2014 can be like. We saw great racing all through the field (well from 21 of the drivers, though I still can't decide if Maldonado's move on Gutiérrez was a desperate dive or a freak racing incident) and the result wasn't set in stone until the chequered flag.
Malaysia proved some F1 fans' biggest concerns. Just like in Melbourne, a Red Bull came home as best of the rest 24 seconds behind the winning Mercedes. Though this season does seem unpredictable in most facets, the race winner appears it could be as predictable as 2013. What's worse, it appears that Mercedes have a lot to spare. And yet, I'm still excited about the necessary direction that F1 is going in.
I think there’s one word that describes the latest generation of Formula One racing: different. There were bits that looked exciting and bits that certainly need tweaking. One thing that Formula One can certainly rely on is the talent of its latest drivers. And yet it was a man who, relatively speaking, is becoming an old boy in Formula One who was dominant come race day.
I’m not sure there’s such a thing as a bad Brazilian Grand Prix, and Sunday’s race proved it. The atmosphere and the charisma of the circuit saw to that. Add to that the narrow track with close, inviting walls and a very indecisive (and localised) weather system and you are guaranteed a dramatic race at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace. Unfortunately, as so often happens when rain is considered a factor, the watching public spent the whole race waiting for the heavens to open as they had all weekend but instead mother nature played a high stakes game of chicken with each of the eleven F1 teams.
It wasn’t a classic, and there isn’t exactly a championship riding on it, but Texas proved the perfect environment for some of the drivers who are still fighting for their F1 lives to thrive. There were some great moves and great driving throughout the field as many drivers took a few more risks now that the championship is sealed for Sebastian Vettel. And while he was showing his ominous speed once again for a record eighth win in a row, he was by no means the star of the show.
It was a slow burner in Abu Dhabi, but despite most people’s worries, there was still enough action to go round, with some great close racing and interesting strategy choices. Not much could have been squeezed between Fernando Alonso and Jean-Éric Vergne at 180mph going through turn three before Alonso took the bumpy route. The fact he carried on after an impact over 15g (Ferrari claimed that it was as high as 25g) is a credit to Alonso’s commitment.
I try to use this series to praise the drivers who haven’t received credit for their weekend’s work, but on the day that Sebastian Vettel joined the absolute elite, how can you not lead off without mentioning the now four-time champion. Who said this man couldn’t overtake? Who said that Sebastian Vettel couldn’t win if he didn’t do it from the front? Well on Sunday, Vettel proved the nay-sayers wrong with a great drive.
There’s just something about Suzuka. It has a special aura unlike any other race track today. It may lack the glitz and glamour of Monaco, but it has character in abundance. On top of that, I think it is the biggest drivers’ circuit on the current calendar. Silverstone and Spa are still challenges, but they have been sanitized in recent years with big run offs and not a grain of gravel in sight. At Suzuka, it is a narrow ribbon of tarmac, doubling back on itself in a figure of eight layout, and if you get off line, you will be punished.
So Sebastian Vettel starts on pole, opens up a lead only for his good work to be ruined by a mid-race safety car, leaving him to do it all again, which he did impeccably. Sound familiar? That's because it is. The Korean GP seemed to follow the same script, at least up front, as the Singapore GP that preceded it. Fortunately for the fans, it still provided us with the best Korean race in its short history.
It probably doesn't take an expert to guess who I thought was driver of the day in Singapore. Forget the phenomenal speed that Sebastian Vettel achieved over the weekend for just a second and you will realise the remarkable pace that Kimi Räikkönen showed.
I can no longer do it. Sebastian Vettel has all but secured his fourth title in four year, as well as his place amongst the all time greats in the sport. I don’t think that there can be any doubting about that. The man is arguably the best man in the history of the sport at leading from the front and proving untouchable if he leads at the end of lap one, especially when you consider that he has to contend with DRS, whereas his predecessors didn’t.
It appears that even Spa needs a little weather and volatile tyres to spice up the action. There was intrigue in the midfield and between Mark Webber and the Mercedes, but up front, it was a one man show, who I’m sure was on screen about three times during the entire Grand Prix, such was Sebastian Vettel’s dominance.
There’s nothing quite like a nail biting championship fight is there? And while I still hold out hope that there are enough competitive teams that could mix up the drivers’ championship, one of the titles is already as good as wrapped up halfway through the season. Despite this, two of the chasing teams have had seasons to be proud of, while Ferrari must have a severe case of déjà vu, as they appear to have ruined another chance to get Fernando Alonso his dream: a championship with the Scuderia. Surely they can’t recover from here?