After another thrilling race in Hungary, the Formula One teams head into their summer break with plenty to think about.
It was just another day at the office for Lewis Hamilton who bagged his 8th win this season, further strengthening his spot to claim a sixth F1 career world title.
However, Max Verstappen’s performance in the previous two races offers some hope for spectators that they might still get an action-packed title race towards the end of the year.
With Ferrari and Red Bull desperately hoping to close the huge gap Mercedes have created, the mid-season pause in proceedings allows each team to sit down and assess their weak points.
With only nine races left on the F1 calendar, we take a look at how each team fared in terms of their performance so far:
It's summer break time! 😎
— Formula 1 (@F1) August 5, 2019
Lewis Hamilton is sitting comfortably up at the top of the leaderboard with 250 points. If he continues to set a high bar in terms of his driving standards, the season might be over very soon. Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel share the record for the most wins in a season (13), so the reigning champion may end up more focused on setting new benchmarks than coping with his rivals on the grid.
As for his teammate Valtteri Bottas, he may sit second in the standings but his future with the team was a major talking point heading into the break. Reserve driver Esteban Ocon is waiting in the wings for his opportunity to drive alongside Lewis Hamilton in 2020.
Lewis Hamilton doubted that he could catch Max Verstappen after his second pit stop
— Formula 1 (@F1) August 5, 2019
The Scuderia has had an eventful but inconsistent campaign so far. Mercedes might be out of reach for Binotto’s team when it comes to the constructors’ title. Instead, they are looking over their shoulders at an in-form Red Bull ready to take second place.
Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel have failed to win a race so far but they hope that this break will allow time to try to work out what is required of them to become worthy competitors once again.
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) August 5, 2019
Does the break help or hinder Red Bull? Verstappen’s performances in contrasting conditions in Germany – where he emerged triumphant at the end of a chaotic race – and Hungary suggest the car is in good shape, despite being unable to hold off a fast-finishing Hamilton at the Hungaroring.
The Dutchman – so often backed by fanatical and colourful support in the crowd at European races – has dazzled, but the same cannot be said for colleague Pierre Gasly, who has registered just 63 points and has failed to record a podium finish.
— Aston Martin Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) August 6, 2019
Eight-time winners of the constructors’ title, McLaren have made strides in the first half of the year, even if neither of their drivers are yet creating much of a ripple when it comes to actually winning a race.
Still, Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz Jr have impressed, the latter finishing in the points in eight races. While a trio of retirements have hampered Norris, the British teenager will have learned plenty in the opening months of his F1 career.
Round of applause for the team. 👏
A huge effort from the whole crew as we hit the halfway point of the season fourth in the constructors' standings and still pushing. 👊 pic.twitter.com/TbyvHl8qdf
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) August 5, 2019
The only team outside of the top three to earn a spot on the podium this season. That came in Germany, where Daniil Kvyat earned some redemption. After being dropped by Red Bull and then losing his seat at Toro Rosso before returning this year, he is now being linked with a return to his previous team.
Rookie Alex Albon has often found himself in the hunt for points and the pair enjoyed an entertaining tussle at the Hungarian Grand Prix, with good clean racing helping to keep them in the midfield battle.
— Toro Rosso (@ToroRosso) August 4, 2019
Yet to register a podium finish and out-performed by McLaren, things have not gone to plan. Technical issues have hampered their progress, but this is not what Daniel Ricciardo expected following his arrival. The Australian, along with Nico Hulkenberg, has barely figured at the head of the field.
In something of an understatement, team principal Cyril Abiteboul admitted following Hungary that the first half of the year was “well below” their objectives. You don’t say, Cyril…
🎙 “Daniel’s attitude on track must be an inspiration for us as we head towards the summer break, with a first half of the season well below our objectives.”
Cyril Abiteboul – #HungarianGP, Sunday 👇
Full report 👉 https://t.co/KMcN5Xsw6U#RSspirit pic.twitter.com/FeVOqd7HAa
— Renault F1 Team (@RenaultF1Team) August 4, 2019
Not much was expected following Alfa Romeo’s return to F1, but Kimi Raikkonen has done his utmost to keep them relevant. Former world champion Raikkonen has amassed a respectable 31 points, though team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi has been unable to match such assured displays. They need the 25-year-old Italian to start picking up points, and he may want to do so for the benefit of his own career, too.
— Alfa Romeo Racing (@alfaromeoracing) August 4, 2019
Having made a strong start after the takeover in the middle of last season, Racing Point appears to have taken a backwards step in 2019. Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll – whose father purchased the team – have been distinctly average and lacked consistency, the Canadian scoring their only points in the past eight races with top-10 finishes at Montreal and Hockenheim.
It’s been a rollercoaster first half of the season – but these guys have been mega throughout! 🤜🤛
— SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team (@RacingPointF1) August 4, 2019
After improvements each year since joining the grid in 2016, Haas have been unable to maintain the momentum. Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean have both taken points at the same race just twice this season, though the main cause for concern will be the seven retirements in the first half of the campaign.
Reflecting on a tricky opening half of 2019.
Time to recharge over the summer break and be back stronger in September 🔋
And thanks as always for the support from all our fans 💪 pic.twitter.com/NJFvTmpZf3
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) August 5, 2019
This season can already be considered a write-off for Williams. They struggled to even get a car ready for pre-season testing and have had to start from the back of the grid, more often than not due to a lack of pace. Robert Kubica scored their only point in Germany but George Russell remains on zero.
It’s been a tough first half of the season, but we are Williams and we will never stop fighting 💪
— ROKiT WILLIAMS RACING (@WilliamsRacing) August 5, 2019