What we learnt this Formula One season


After 19 races across the world, the 2017 F1 season comes to an end this weekend at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. With the championships sealed last month in Mexico, we look at the year’s talking points:

Hamilton is the greatest this generation

Not too long back, Michael Schumacher’s 68 poles and 91 wins seemed like it would defy another generation. But over the last four years, Hamilton has run rampage over the record books with 72 poles and 62 wins. In this time, he has won nearly 50 per cent of the races each year. This season he has won nine of 19, and could finish again with double-digit wins. While he is tied with Sebastian Vettel on world titles (4), he has a 15-win advantage over his arch rival. With stable regulations for the next three years, those 91 wins don’t seem too far away. It’s safe to say he is the best this generation, but, just 32, he could end up among the greatest ever.

Ferrari needs to look itself in the mirror

After last year’s technical overhaul, Ferrari showed it can innovate, coming up with a car that looked fast out of the blocks. Despite some dips, mostly track-specific, the team was able to compete with Mercedes in the developmental race – an Achilles heel over the years. Although the car was not as quick as Mercedes on Saturdays, where the Silver Arrows could crank up their power unit for just one lap, the Scuderia was rapid on Sundays. But reliability issues after the summer break and Vettel’s desperation in Singapore meant the team squandered 75 points in the three races of the Asian swing. This will go down as the year Ferrari lost the plot.

There’s no drama like engine drama

Despite all the talk and promises, it was another season where Renault and Honda, the two other power unit manufacturers, failed to make progress, either in terms of performance or reliability. While the French outfit can claim three wins, thanks to Red Bull, the Japanese company again fought reliability issues every weekend. It was no surprise that McLaren has dumped Honda for Renault while the tensions between Red Bull (and sister team Toro Rosso) and Renault hit an ugly note in Brazil. Toro Rosso will now link up with Honda next year. If both the car companies fail, it will hurt the show, with Fernando Alonso, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen fighting for scraps, and Mercedes and Ferrari making it a two-horse race again.