On a couple of occasions I have written about what potential storylines may develop throughout the 2019 Formula 1 season.
With the series returning to action this weekend, it’s time for an update and looking at what storylines are worth looking out for in the races that remain of the 2019 season.
When will Lewis Hamilton clinch the title?
The previous two championships of 2017 and 2018 were both clinched at the Mexican Grand Prix. But with Hamilton already having a sixty two point advantage and the latter part of the season being where Hamilton is strongest, going off the last two seasons, it does raise the question of exactly when he will clinch his sixth title.Embed from Getty Images
Is there a fight back from Bottas?
As much as Hamilton could clinch the championship early, Valtteri Bottas could take inspiration from Hamilton and dominate the remainder of the season to get himself back in the title fight, however unlikely this may seem.
He’ll need a strong end to the 2019 season as he traditionally tails off in the final stages of a season.
Will Max Verstappen remain a title threat?
Over the last few races before the summer break, Max Verstappen managed to haul himself closer into the title fight and is just seven points behind Bottas going into the Belgian Grand Prix.Embed from Getty Images
It therefore asks the question whether Verstappen will be able to become more of a title threat or at the very least to see how long he can stay in mathematical contention for the title.
The other aspect of this is if Verstappen can’t catch and potentially overhaul Hamilton in the standings, could he get ahead of the second Mercedes of Bottas by the end of the season.
How many more races can Red Bull win?
The 2019 season is another year where Mercedes have come to dominate, and unlike 2018 when ten Grand Prix weren’t won by Mercedes, this season is a lot closer to a season such as 2016 where Mercedes won all but two races.Embed from Getty Images
To add to this there was a lot of focus put on Red Bull’s partnership with Honda this season and it has already managed to deliver two race victories, in Austria and Germany.
It’s therefore interesting to see how many more races Red Bull-Honda can win in 2019 especially considering that Mexico is later in the year, where in the past two seasons Red Bull has been very competitive. Not to forget they were also in contention of winning in Brazil in 2018.
Will Ferrari get a race victory in 2019?
Scuderia Ferrari have had a disappointing season so far, especially when taking into consideration their preseason form.Embed from Getty Images
Red Bull have managed to claim two victories so far with the rest having been won by Mercedes. Can Scuderia Ferrari get a race victory, helping the sport avoid seasons such as 2014, 2015 and 2016 where only two teams managed to win during the season.
They have had chances already in 2019, being in contention in Bahrain, Canada and Austria and were strong in Belgium, Italy and in the USA in 2018.
So will the team manage to finally get it all together and claim a victory in the remaining races.
Will the two Ferrari drivers lose touch with Max Verstappen?
Heading into the Belgian Grand Prix there is a twenty five point gap between Max Verstappen in third and Sebastian Vettel in fourth, effectively a race win.Embed from Getty Images
On the flip side of Ferrari winning one of the remaining Grand Prix of the season is the possibility that the two Ferrari drivers could end up losing touch with the top three in the championship as the team continues to struggle with their 2019 challenger.
Who will finish fourth in the constructors standings?
The top three of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull broke clear early on in the season of the rest of the grid in the constructors championship, leaving the remaining seven teams to fight over fourth, as has been the case in the last couple of seasons.
Fourth is currently held by McLaren, having had a solid campaign. Although they are in fourth and with a sizeable thirty nine point advantage, it doesn’t mean they will still be the ‘best of the rest’ by the end of the season.Embed from Getty Images
Despite their issues in the first half of the season, perhaps Renault are one of the more obvious challengers to McLaren.
Can George Russell score a point?
Due to plenty of retirements as well as the disqualification of the two Alfa Romeo cars, the German Grand Prix saw Robert Kubica score a world championship point.Embed from Getty Images
It means that only George Russell has failed to score a point yet in the 2019 season out of the twenty drivers.
It’s not impossible that there will be a similar race like the German Grand Prix at some point in the remaining races of the season for Russell to take advantage of and claim his first points in the sport.
How will Alexander Albon do at Red Bull?
Alexander Albon has earned himself a mid-season promotion after taking Pierre Gasly’s seat at Red Bull Racing as, in part, the team evaluate who will partner Verstappen in 2020.Embed from Getty Images
Gasly’s best finish in his twelve races at Red Bull was a fourth at the British Grand Prix with the Frenchman managing to finish inside the top five only one other time. Albon’s highest finish so far this season is a sixth, which he achieved at the German Grand Prix.
Albon may take time to match Gasly’s fourth place finish as he gets acclimatised to different personnel and a car with a different set of characteristics but it will be intriguing nonetheless to see how Albon performs in the remaining races and whether he can match and surpass Gasly’s Red Bull Racing results.
How will Pierre Gasly do at Toro Rosso?
With Albon going to Red Bull, Pierre Gasly has been moved the other way, going from Red Bull back down to Toro Rosso.
Considering that Kvyat, who occupies the other Toro Rosso seat, was demoted from Red Bull to Toro Rosso in 2016, it will be worth seeing how Gasly copes with spending the rest of the season in the midfield.
As Albon will need time to adjust to Red Bull Racing it will be an interesting comparison seeing how quickly, if at all, Gasly adjusts to the 2019 Toro Rosso.
Can Red Bull overhaul Ferrari in the Constructors’?
Red Bull currently finds itself forty four points behind Ferrari in the constructors’ standings and although that may sound like a lot, it isn’t outside the realms of possibility that the Austrian team could overhaul the Italian team by the end of the season.Embed from Getty Images
You would think that if Red Bull were seriously aiming to finish second in the constructors standings then they would have hired Kvyat to replace Gasly, rather than Albon. Despite this the points gap between Ferrari and Red Bull will be worth tracking throughout the remainder of the season to see what ultimately unfolds.
Who will finish sixth in the drivers’ championship?
Thanks in part to Gasly’s demotion from Red Bull, the battle for sixth in the drivers’ standings has opened up considerably.
The gap between Gasly in sixth and the next driver, Carlos Sainz, is five points. There being a further twenty seven points gap between Sainz and eighth placed Kimi Raikkonen.
It may be tempting to now put Alexander Albon as the favourite to finish sixth by the end of the season. This certainly isn’t impossible, but Albon is currently forty seven points behind Gasly in the standings. While Albon is forty two points behind seventh placed Sainz.Embed from Getty Images