Five highs from 2019 F1 season
A list of the five high points of F1 in 2019.
The 2019 F1 season was diverse where on-track action varied heavily, and the favored team was never the same as it was a few races prior, barring the first several grand prix.
The season has had ups and downs as it’s gone by, and with that, here we try to sum-up five highs and five lows, which covers the whole season. Some lesser magnitude highs and also lows are also carried here – does the list match with yours?
Here are the five highs from F1 2019 – not in any fixed or ranking order:
Lewis Hamilton’s sixth F1 title win:
Love him or despise him, Hamilton’s F1 title win in 2019 was well and truly deserved this year, as his performance was consistent all-through, and he worked well with Mercedes to eke out good strategies, which helped him score the victories.
The six-time champion fought his teammate Valtteri Bottas in the first four races, but after winning four more on the trot, Hamilton started to pull away in the standings, and ultimately took another world title to sit just behind Michael Schumacher.
Max Verstappen vs Charles Leclerc:
Following their fight at the Austrian GP, we were treated to many duels between Red Bull’s Verstappen and Ferrari’s Leclerc, which certainly were the highlight of 2019. They had tussles at Suzuka, Abu Dhabi, and Silverstone – which is regarded as their best.
It went long as the lead Red Bull driver and the new-to-Ferrari Monegasque traded blows several times that race, even in the pit lane. All their fights had fans entertained by the aggressive and competitive nature, which boiled over on occasion, as it did in Suzuka.
Rookie-mania – Alexander Albon, Lando Norris and George Russell show:
It is rare for three drivers to have their debut at the same time but the Australian GP saw Toro Rosso/Red Bull’s Albon, McLaren’s Norris and Williams’ Russell start their F1 career together – all coming off after a solid year in F2.
The trio all found their feet well, with Norris beating teammate Carlos Sainz in qualifying 11-10, Albon stepping up to Red Bull from Toro Rosso in the middle of the season, and finishing eighth with consistent performances, and Russell outperforming Robert Kubica by a large margin as well, even though the points tell a different story.
Together with Verstappen and Leclerc, the 2019 F1 rookies have shown that the future of the sport is in safe hands and that we have the next crop ready to take the mantle from the likes of Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and co.
After years of disaster with Honda, and another year of misery in 2018, McLaren did kind of became a joke in F1 as even Fernando Alonso decided to quit. In 2019, though, the British team fought back handsomely to top the midfield fight.
They secured the best of the rest with an all-new line-up, and outscored 2018’s Formula 1.5 winner, Renault – from whom they take engines – by an impressive 54 points. Even more impressive, however, was their return to the podium after 2014 with Sainz in Brazil.
It gave voice to a lot of McLaren fans, who have had a difficult years while supporting their team. The driver pairing of Norris-Sainz was a pleasant surprise for everyone as the team moved away from having a world champion driver in their car.
Crazy grand prix races:
While F1 may have had a number of abysmal races in 2019, the middle and latter half of the year treated us to some very intoxicating and dramatic grand prix, where the German GP topped the charts as per the fans with Brazil GP coming close – both won by Verstappen in unusual circumstances, where he shared the podiums with three midfield drivers.
To add to the list, the British GP had its own set of dramas where Hamilton won while another win of his in Hungarian GP was received well. Among others, the double win for Leclerc in Italian GP and Belgium GP left a good mark too. Besides that, the win for Verstappen in Austrian GP and Bottas in Japanese GP drew good numbers.
Notable mentions which missed the cut:
While we had some standout points as mentioned above, there were some other performances as well, which helped in making the 2019 F1 season a memorable one –
Robert Kubica’s F1 return:
While Williams’ Kubica may have failed to beat Russell in terms of overall performance, his F1 return was a highlight enough, as the Polish driver was able to bounce back from a near career-ending injury which took place earlier in the decade.
Kimi Raikkonen’s switch from top to midfield:
Going from a top team to one of a lower caliber can often be troubling, as grip and downforce levels drop. To add to that, it is not often that a F1 champion stays back even after losing his drive from a top team, but Raikkonen is a different class.
He accepted the switch from Ferrari to Alfa Romeo Racing in stride and had a drama-free season, as he consistently delivered. The Finn’s move, in fact, showed the pure love for F1 and racing.
Toro Rosso’s performance, podiums for Pierre Gasly, Daniil Kvyat:
Being in the shadow of a successful senior F1 outfit is a big task and Toro Rosso, which is a breeding ground for the future Red Bull drivers, stood out as solid outfit in 2019 where they not only finished sixth in the standings – their first since 2008 – but also had two podiums.
It was two of the most surprising moments of 2019 when Kvyat got the podium in German GP while Gasly – having being demoted to Toro Rosso – got his in Brazil GP. Both, though, made for an interesting and fresh result.
[This story was written by me for FormulaRapida, with help from Darshan Chokhani]