Despite the dominance of Mercedes and Mercedes-powered cars, this brand new era of Formula 1 has proven to be one of the most exciting years in recent times. The volume and pitch of the engines may have been turned down, but, the on-track action has been cranked up a notch. Fires, sparks and upside-down cars are just a handful of thrilling moments this year has had to offer – and we’re only half way into the season!
10. Bumps and bruises
There have been several collisions and mistakes this year, some of which have been caused by the new BBW (brake by wire) systems – Kamui Kobayashi’s incident at the beginning of the Australian Grand Prix and Lewis Hamilton’s failure whilst qualifying in Germany were both down to the new style of brakes. Whereas Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen have had spectacular crashes this year, with the former colliding with Sergio Perez in Canada. Not forgetting that Massa was one of two drivers (the other being Esteban Gutierrez) to have been flipped upside-down during a race – both drivers escaped with no injuries, thankfully.
9. Curse of the team orders
They’re back, again! Twice this year we have seen the dreaded calls over the radio to force one driver to allow their team-mate through. The first was in China where the Red Bull duo were on differing strategies, Sebastian Vettel replied “tough luck” but later yielded the position. With one more stop to make, Nico Rosberg found himself stuck behind Lewis Hamilton in Hungary, but despite the team asking Hamilton to let Rosberg through, the Briton stood firm and ignored them, knowing that Rosberg would finish ahead if he let him by.
8. Susie Wolff’s F1 outing
Silverstone didn’t quite go according to plan and further problems in Hockenheim looked like it just wasn’t meant to be. But Williams got the car up to scratch and Wolff became the first woman in 22 years to take part in an F1 weekend. Her best lap was of 1:20:769, just 0.277 seconds behind Massa who finished the session in 11th place. Not bad!
7. Alonso vs. Ricciardo in Germany
Alonso and Ricciardo’s fight at Hockenheim was some of the best racing we’ve seen so far this season with the Ferrari coming out on top, on this occasion. Lets hope we get more wheel-to-wheel racing during the second half of the year!
6. Felipe Massa and Williams on pole
After an unusually messy session for the Mercedes’ drivers, it was the Williams duo who capitalised on their problems to produce two faultless laps to take the front row. It became Massa’s first pole in eight years and Williams’ first front row lock out since 2003. Unfortunately they couldn’t hold on to take the win, but it was nice to see Williams back where they belong.
5. Rosberg controversy
Nico Rosberg was forced into the spotlight after he – to some – purposely crashed in qualifying to secure pole position in Monaco. This rattled team-mate Hamilton who was quoted saying “we’re not friends” to a reporter despite knowing the German (or Monegasque?) since the pair were karting team-mates. They have since kissed and made up, although for how long?
4. Marussia in the points
Following their debut in 2010 as Virgin Racing – now known as Marussia – the Banbury based team have been in a struggle to score their first points in Formula 1. However, after recruiting Max Chilton and Ferrari academy driver, Jules Bianchi, things slowly began to get better. And in Monaco of this year, Bianchi found himself in eighth place. A 5 second penalty was later added to his time for starting in the wrong grid slot, but the Frenchman took ninth place and scored his, and Marussia’s first ever F1 points.
3. Hamilton vs. Rosberg in Bahrain
Under the floodlights we finally got a feel of just how quick the Mercedes car was. But what also became evident, was just how evenly matched this team-mate partnership is. The respect between both drivers made it even better to watch with the two switching positions almost every lap. Two different driving styles at the same calibre gave us a fantastic end to the race and could make double points in Abu Dhabi even more important.
2. Ricciardo’s first win
It was once thought that Mercedes could win every race this year; that was until both cars were hit with reliability problems in Canada. But it was an unlikely candidate that took full advantage of the situation, for it was not the defending four time World Champion, but his new team-mate! Ricciardo managed his tyres well, pushed when he needed to, and proved that Mercedes weren’t unbeatable.
1. Alonso vs. Vettel in GB
Two World Champions wheel to wheel throughout Silverstone – what more could you want? Albeit, it would have been much better if the two weren’t moaning about one another over the radio, but they laughed about it afterwards.
What has been your favourite moment this year?