Two Faces Have I...
A restrospective on the 2019 Formula One Season
As the curtain descends on yet another season of F1, much of the winter break will no doubt be spent reflecting on the year gone by. A season which is probably best described as having being made up of two, very different, parts. You see, the quality of the 2019 season depends greatly on the half you choose to analyse, as well as the lense through which you chose to do so. From a championship perspective, its been abysmal. Yes, Bottas took victory in Australia and had a brief scrap with Hamilton during the first four rounds. But The brit regained the initiative in Spain and so began an unstoppable march to title number six. Ferrari spent much of the first half either cocking up their strategies or simply being nowhere in terms of outright pace, while Red bull's flashes of brilliance were much too sporadic to warrant a realistic title challenge. Mercedes's five consecutive one-two finishes and Hamilton's crushing form meant that both championships were never really in doubt. As a result, F1 fans who came in search of a prolonged title bout akin to the 2017 and 2018 seasons will have been left thoroughly disillusioned with 2019.
However, if one were to cast the big picture to one side and judge each of the 21 races in their own right, it would be impossible to asses this season as poor. Yes, there was generous helping of mediocrity. Australia saw Bottas cruise to victory without incident, Baku was a safety car-less let down, the highly publicised 1000th Grand Prix in China had absolutely nothing redeeming to say for itself, Spain again failed to give us an exciting race and then their was the highly elaborate sleeping aid that was the French GP. A two hour snooze fest that had viewers contemplating whether or not to write off the entire sport, let alone this season.
But I defy you to tell me that there wasn't many a race that had you firmly perched in the edge of your seat. Austria was easily the greatest comeback drive of Max Verstappen's career thus far, Hungary saw Mercedes serve up a masterclass in strategy and pace, Monaco had Verstappen hustling a visibly distressed Hamilton, Monza we saw Leclerc duel not one but two silver arrows to take victory while Germany and Brazil have been subject to near universal adoration and have each been hailed as two of the greatest races of all time.
So, as we steel ourselves for the off season and look back at 2019, let us accept the fact that as appalling a championship as it as been, it has given us some seriously spectacular racing. Which is surely what F1 is, in essence, all about.