This week’s rankings come ahead of another triple header that begins in Belgium this weekend.
Official F1 Insta
Mercedes AMG Petronas (-)
Lewis Hamilton Qualified P1, Raced P1
Valtteri Bottas Qualified P2, Raced P3
Unstoppable. That is Lewis Hamilton. That is Mercedes this year and probably next year as well. Questions were rightly raised after Max Verstappen claimed victory on F1’s 70th birthday. Hamilton answered those questions in style at Barcelona. Catalunya was quite hot and should have played into the hands of Red Bull. Instead, the brit waltzed his way into pole position and a enjoyed an uninterrupted victory as he lapped everybody up to and including Lance Stroll in P4. F1’s test track also proved to be the location of yet another one of Hamilton’s record-breaking moments; the Englishman surpassing Michael Schumacher to become the driver with the most podiums at 156.
Lewis Hamilton now sits 37 points clear of Max Verstappen on the driver standings and 43 points clear of supposed rival Valtteri Bottas. Belgium is a much cooler country than Spain so Mercedes should avoid any tyre talk this weekend. Despite two back to back winless years in Belgium in for the German team, Hamilton looks set to extend his lead at the top of the driver’s championship this weekend.
Better than the rest
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing – Honda (-)
Max Verstappen Qualified P3, Raced P2
Alex Albon Qualified P6, Raced P8
Thank god for Max Verstappen. Were it not for the sprightly Dutchman, Mercedes would be running a comfortable one-two every weekend. Verstappen drives the wheels off of his car every week to ensure we get just a little bit of entertainment at the front end of each race, and Spain was no different.
Albon has some work to do if he is to keep his seat
The talking point here though, is the midfield, where Alex Albon languishes. The car has improved and Albon’s support staff has supposedly improved as well. The results have not improved. This was Albon’s best grid position since week one and a real opportunity to impress and prove the critics wrong. Instead he was brought in to pit early and put out on hards into traffic. Albon would race 20 laps on those hards, exactly the same length as his initial soft tyre stint, and he would lose time as a result. P8 was not a good enough result amidst driver market-fuelled speculation over the young man’s future. Albon needs to impress at Spa, the GP where he made his debut one year ago, if he is to ward off the critique.
3. Racing Point BWT – Mercedes (+3)
Sergio Perez Qualified P4, Raced P5
Lance Stroll Qualified P5, Raced P4
Cheating allegations aside, it was a very good weekend for the Pink Panthers. Barcelona is a track that theoretically reveals the grid’s true vehicle performance. If that theory is to be believed, Racing Point have got, unquestionably, the third best car on the grid. P4 for Stroll and P5 for Perez, positions that would have been reversed were it not for a questionable blue flag penalty, gave the Silverstone-based team their best result since 2017. With Perez now COVID-free and Stroll continuing to impress, Racing Point have affirmed their position as kings of the midfield.
That is, of course, unless their car is found to be totally illegal. Thankfully for Lawrence Stroll, there is good news on that front as well. The brake ducts saga finally resolved itself a few weeks ago with Racing Point fined $650000 and docked 15 points, a deficit which they have already made up on their competitors. Ferrari and McLaren added their voices to Renault’s and appealed the leniency of the punishment, believing it to be setting a soft example. McLaren backpedaled on their convictions quickly and now, as of two days ago, Renault have followed suit. The French team cited the positivity surrounding the new Concorde Agreement as their inspiration for this peaceful gesture. Now that the original protestors have taken a step back, the path forward appears clear for Racing Point to chase that elusive podium in Belgium.
4. McLaren – Renault (-)
Lando Norris Qualified P8, Raced P10
Carlos Sainz Qualified P7, Raced P6
After a an exhilarating start to the year, McLaren have seemingly stabilised in their position as a strong midfield team. While their competitors have suffered from wild inconsistency, the Brits have been steadfastly consistent as both drivers found points yet again in Spain.
Belgium will present a great opportunity for McLaren to keep impressing
Carlos Sainz overcame cooling issues to have his best weekend in a long time and will now focus on the daunting task of catching up to the Mercedes-powered Racing Points. Both drivers have been vocal in their appreciation for Spa as a racetrack and both drivers will be looking to impress yet again this weekend for McLaren.
The only question mark for Sainz is whether he is moving from an exciting project to a sinking ship next season
5. Scuderia Ferrari (-2)
Charles Leclerc Qualified P7, DNF
Sebastian Vettel Qualified P11, Raced P7
Were it not for the total inadequacy of rival teams, Ferrari would be a lot lower on these rankings
Were it not for inconsistent brilliance of Charles Leclerc and Seb Vettel, Ferrari would be a lot lower on these rankings.
In reality, 2020 has been an absolute horrorshow for the Scuderia which was perfectly summed up in Catalunya. Leclerc looked promising until his engine failed, forcing him to retire. Vettel raced well to earn points at P7. If you focus on the results, Ferrari’s weekend wasn’t that bad. What was horrifically bad, was the communication.
Ferrari’s insta, rightly focusing on bikes rather than their actual car
Confusion ran supreme as Leclerc hobbled into pit lane, the Monegasque asking his engineer fairly basic questions regarding the safety of the car and the strategy moving forward. The only response he got was, “copy,” or,”I’ll get back to you.” Communication was so bad that Leclerc’s team even failed to put his seat belt back on in time, and it wasn’t any better for Vettel. Midway through the race, the German asked his team whether they should adjust to a one-stop , only for Vettel’s engineer to completely ignore him. Three laps later, and the engineer boldly suggested a new strategy, a one-stop. Vettel, having pushed his tyres during that three-lap gap, was understandably outraged. Thankfully for Ferrari, the 33 year-old had the skill to push his soft tyres for 36 laps, much longer than any driver, and come away with points on the day. Ralf Schumacher has publicly condemned the miscommunication in the latest of a slew of negative headlines surrounding the team.
The car is sub-par, the team is disorganised. The only things keeping Ferrari relevant are their history and their drivers, both of whom will need to pull off a miracle to finish strongly in Belgium.
6. Renault F1 Team (-1)
Daniel Ricciardo Qualified P13, Raced P11
Esteban Ocon Qualified P15, Raced P13
It looked so good in Britain. Alas, Renault are still garbage. Admittedly, this week was filled with abnormalities like Ocon’s embarrassing FP3 crash and Ricciardo’s totally limp performance. That is no excuse for the lack of pace that saw both drivers fail to get out of Q2. Neither is it an excuse for putting both drivers out on a flawed one stop strategy.
Ocon was totally baffled by the lack of performance as Renault enjoyed their first non-scoring performance of the year. Daniel Ricciardo is focused on Spa-Francorchamps and Ocon will hope to thrive on the track where he made his debut in 2016. Now that Renault have given up their Racing Point appeal they too should be focused on their own performance from now on.
The teams that are in between
7. AlphaTauri Honda (-)
Pierre Gasly Qualified P10, Raced P9
Daniil Kvyat Qualified P12,Raced P12
Yet another solid and impressive performance from F1’s middle child. Stuck in between the midfield and the backmarkers, AlphaTauri are moving in the right direction in 2020. Gasly was unable to add a third 2020 victory over Alex Albon this weekend but was still impressive as he ran out to P9. Kvyat was less impressive but still raced well to hold off Ocon’s Renault and maintain P12. Belgium will be a tearful event for many members of the F1 community but it should still provide Red Bull’s sister team an opportunity to score points.
Pierre Gasly will be emotional this weekend as it marks the anniversary of his close friend, Anthoine Hubert’s death. The FIA have announced that they will retire Hubert’s number 19 and incorporate it into a logo that all F1, F2 and F3 cars will run this weekend. There will be one minute’s silence at the start of the race to honour Hubert’s memory.
The race for last place
8. Williams Mercedes (-)
George Russell Qualified P18, Raced P17
Nicholas Latifi Qualified P19, Raced P18
Based on the actual race in Barcelona, Williams should be dead last on these rankings. For the first time since week one, neither George Russell nor Nicholas Latifi progressed beyond Q1 and their race pace left much to be desired as well.
William’s drivers have a secured future under Dorilton’s money umbrella
No, Williams are atop the backmarkers because of an off-track move. Williams have been bought out by Dorilton Capital in a move that should secure the team’s foreseeable future. The historic move, which was completely supported by Sir Frank Williams, will see complete ownership of the 152 million euro company change hands to the American investment group. There are still question marks as to who is actually behind Dorilton but the group have insisted that Williams will remain in Grove, Oxfordshire and that the team should see an injection of funds in the coming years. Given the team’s upward trajectory, this move could propel Williams up the constructor’s championships in the very near future.
9. Alfa Romeo F1 Racing Team (+1)
Kimi Raikkonen Qualified P14, Raced P14
Antonio Giovinazzi Qualified P20, Raced P16
For the first time this year, Kimi Raikkonen made it out of Q1. The eccentric Finn backed that up with a competitive performance that might even have put a smile on his face. The feel good stories continued for the legend as Raikkonen became the most driven F1 driver in history after lap 37. Having driven 83846 kilometres (two full laps around the Earth), the record is certainly one to be proud of.
Exciting times for Kimi Raikkonen
On the other hand, the car is still pretty garbage and Antonio Giovinazzi is still yet to make it into Q2 this year. The Italian driver has struggled in what is a make or break season for the youngster. The pressure is only getting more intense for Gio as rumours abound that Nico Hulkenberg is interested in an Alfa drive next season. On top of that, some very promising Ferrari academy drivers are coming through the F2 grid this year and the Mick Schumacher, Callum Ilott and Robert Shwartzman would love to be driving his car in 2021.
10. Haas Ferrari (-1)
Kevin Magnussen Qualified P16, Raced P15
Romain Grosjean Qualified P17, Raced P19
In reality, the competition between 2020’s backmarkers is very tight. Haas take last place this week by virtue of not having any feel-good stories surrounding them. A financial takeover and a legendary record are nicer stories to read than nothing.
The interesting story surrounding Haas is undoubtedly their driver lineup. With the new Concorde agreement signed, Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean have expressed their desire to re-sign for next year. Whether Gene Haas and Gunther Steiner are as interested in that idea is up for debate. With promising Ferrari academy drivers in the pipeline and names like Nico Hulkenberg, Sebastian Vettel and Sergio Perez potentially becoming available next year, Kmag and Grosjean will need to seriously impress to keep their drives.