Who Will Finish P3?
A Strength and Weakness Analysis of the contenders
The season may be over when it comes to the battle for the top prize in both the Constructors's and Drivers' Championships. However, there are still millions of dollars of prize money to play for in the Constructors' Championship. As we head into the last three races of the season, the battle for P3 is heating up with a different team grabbing the advantage every weekend. So, I decided to analyse the strengths and weakness of the contenders as well as predicting their final position, going into the first race of the Bahrain double-header.
Racing Point BWT Mercedes
The Pink Panthers is Starting to Look Good. Photo: SkySports- https://www.skysports.com/f1/news/12433/12056749/renault-withdraw-appeal-against-racing-point-punishment
The Pink Mercedes flattered to deceive during the first half of the season but is now starting to find its pace. It certainly has momentum after the Turkish Grand Prix where Lance Stroll took his maiden pole position and Sergio Perez finished in second. The team is starting to come together and they certainly have both drivers performing at a very high level. If they can hold it together in the last three races, their season will have the perfect climax and finish on top of the midfield.
Through the past few races, only Sergio Perez has maximised the potential of the car. Ever since his return from illness, Lance Stroll has not found his feet. He has had the opportunities to finish high and get good points, even a win, but he has fizzled out on Sunday. They have needed help from both drivers to secure good points finishes. However, only one has been present every weekend and this has prevented them from gaining through strategy due to which they have lost a lot of points.
If Sergio Perez can keep performing at the present level and Lance Stroll can up his game, the team should be able to convert their momentum into a solid P3.
Mclaren's season is on a Downward Trend. Photo: Formula 1- https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/article.why-mclaren-chose-to-announce-their-2020-line-up-now.DVK3exqQODoGVsiXGI2oc.html
Mclaren possibly has the best driver lineup of the entire grid. Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris are the only chance Mclaren have to get third place this season with their car. Both Carlos and Lando have got podiums this year and have been scoring points consistently. Their consistency is their biggest strength. They are regularly the only team with both cars finishing in the Top 10. For a large part of the season, they have also had the one of the best chassis on the grid.
Mclaren started the season off as clearly one of the top 3 teams. However, they have been going downwards in the second half. Their recent aero upgrades don't seem to be working and development has stalled as the focus has shifted to fitting the Mercedes engine in next year's car. Though they are regularly in the points, they seem to be unable to break into the top 6 due to poor Qualifying performances
Their form is not very good right now and with possibly no new developments to the car, they should be unable to get any significant result in the remaining 3 races. With the chance of big points hauls seeming bleak, they look like they have lost the chance at finishing third, something which seemed pretty likely at the midpoint of the season.
Renault have Momentum Behind Them. Photo: XPB Images/James Moy
Their biggest strength is Daniel Ricciardo. He seems to be at his all-time best and has been getting the results to show for it. With Daniel's two podiums in the last four races, Renault have the wind in their sails and are surely on an upward trajectory. They have a great package that has done reasonably well at high-speed tracks and should do well at Bahrain, especially on the Outer Circuit next week.
Renault have been a one-man team. 96 of their 136 points have come from Daniel Ricciardo. Though Esteban Ocon is in his first year after a one-year gap, he is no rookie and 14 races is enough time to learn the car and become comfortable. He has been reasonably close to Ricciardo on Saturday but on Sunday, while Daniel has found podiums, Ocon has been far off from the points.
Though Renault have the momentum after strong showing from Ricciardo, without two drivers scoring a large number of points, they will be unable to catch up to Racing Point who are already 19 points ahead. Ocon needs to step up and Renault need to put together two great weekends in Bahrain to have a go at third.
Ferrari Need a Miracle to Finish Third. Photo: Autosport- https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/153193/ferrari-no-big-differences-between-vettel-and-leclerc
Ferrari seem to be back to fighting for podiums. After a disappointing season where Sebastian Vettel has looked like a rookie rather than a four-time World Champion, and Charles Leclerc struggling to get out of the midfield, Ferrari seem to be back to being a top 3 team. The boost of a third and fourth at Turkey should give both the team and Vettel a huge amount of confidence to carry into the final triple-header and they can hope for an improvement in their points tally.
Ferrari's problem for the entire season has been low power output from the engine and a car with high drag. They have constantly struggled at high-speed tracks like Spa and Monza. With two of the final three races being held at Bahrain, they are bound to struggle for results unless Seb and Charles can pull a rabbit from their hats.
Considering their lack of consistency, the nature of the upcoming tracks and the large gap to P3, they seem to have the least chance amongst the contenders of getting to third which, till last season, would have been considered as a failure for the Scuderia.