After an intense System 1 season thus far, we head into the ultimate stretch with a triple-header to complete the yr in type, beginning with the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Two races will probably be held in Bahrain earlier than we head to Abu Dhabi, and the world championship could be all sewn up by way of who’re the champions, however there’s a lot to play for – and speak about – as F1 heads to the Center East…
1. The ultimate run-in
It was virtually unthinkable that we’d get 17 races on this season when the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the world and compelled the cancellation of the beginning of the schedule again in March, however now we’re about to tackle the ultimate three races of 2020.
The outer observe will probably be used for the second spherical in Bahrain
Bahrain ought to have been the second race on the calendar nevertheless it quickly grew to become clear that the most secure factor to do was postpone the occasion, so it finds itself in a later slot than normal and internet hosting two races as a substitute of 1. This weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix takes place on the same old full circuit structure that we’ve turn out to be accustomed to, after which subsequent week will see a particular outer circuit used to offer a really completely different problem.
With Abu Dhabi to comply with, we’re heading for a spectacular end as all three races will happen underneath lights on the finish of the yr for the primary time.
2. Ferrari within the combat for P3
And whereas the setting goes to be spectacular, so too is the racing with quite a bit nonetheless at stake as we embark on the ultimate set of races. Ferrari have had a troublesome yr however standout outcomes – normally from Charles Leclerc – have stored them in with a sniff of the battle for third place within the constructors’ championship. After which Sebastian Vettel joined the enjoyable in Turkey.
Vettel’s third place was his first podium of the yr, and with Leclerc ending fourth the hole to Racing Level in third has been minimize to simply 24 factors. It may have been even higher, as Leclerc had caught and passed Sergio Perez on the final lap in Istanbul, and if he hadn’t outbraked himself three corners from the top the hole would have been 18 factors.
Regardless, if each drivers are on type for these remaining three races, Ferrari have each likelihood of being within the body to the very finish.
3. Hamilton after extra data
Within the final three races, Lewis Hamilton has matched after which overwhelmed the document for many F1 wins in historical past, after which equalled Michael Schumacher’s document of seven drivers’ championships. You would possibly suppose that will be sufficient for the yr, however there are nonetheless extra data up for grabs.
Hamilton’s stunning win in Turkey took him to 10 victories for the yr, and the document for many wins in a single season is 13 – shared by Schumacher and Vettel. Schumacher’s whole got here in an 18-race season in 2004 in comparison with 19 for Vettel in 2013, so the Ferrari legend has the sting by way of proportion wins.
Historical past of the Most Wins in F1 Report
If Hamilton wins all three of the remaining races, he’ll match the benchmark set by the 2 Germans, but additionally register the very best proportion of wins in a season in F1 historical past. Schumacher’s 2004 effort is simply second on this regard to Alberto Ascari who gained six of eight races in 1952 to register 75% (though his choice to tackle the Indy 500 meant he solely entered seven of the rounds). 13 wins in 17 races this yr would give Hamilton a win proportion of 76.47%.
It’s a giant ask to win all three, however Hamilton’s personal private greatest is 11 wins in a yr, and as that got here in a 19-race season he has an opportunity of at the very least placing up new milestones for himself by way of victories and proportion win price.
4. Schumacher chasing a championship
Whereas now we have been specializing in Hamilton matching or beating Schumacher’s data in latest weeks, there may be nonetheless one other Schumacher after a championship of his personal.
Mick Schumacher – son of seven-time champion Michael – is main the System 2 championship standings with simply two rounds remaining, each in Bahrain. His benefit is 22 factors, and with a most of 48 obtainable per weekend, he’ll want a robust pair of races on the total circuit to make sure the battle doesn’t go right down to the ultimate spherical on the outer observe.
Callum Ilott is Schumacher’s primary rival, with Yuki Tsunoda 44 factors off the lead in third place. Mathematically, the highest 9 drivers are all nonetheless within the body however it could take one thing really distinctive for a lot of, so the primary focus is on the highest six.
Tsunoda is 2 factors away from Christian Lundgaard and 7 forward of Robert Shwartzman and Nikita Mazepin, so the latter two have to outscore Schumacher by at the very least three factors to have any likelihood of holding their very own hopes alive.
It’s actually not inconceivable, however it’s unlikely issues will probably be wrapped up this weekend, with Schumacher needing a minimal of 27 factors after which a complete host of different outcomes for that to occur.
5. The place we stand within the driver market
Schumacher’s title shouldn’t be prone to simply be talked about relating to the F2 title battle over the approaching weeks, with the German anticipated to signal for Haas in 2021.
Ferrari has made clear they’re planning to advertise one in every of their gifted kids – Ilott and Shwartzman are additionally members of the motive force academy – however given they’ve each been confirmed as doing the Younger Driver Check in Abu Dhabi for groups with finalised line-ups (Ilott for Alfa Romeo, Shwartzman for Ferrari) then it seems much more probably Schumacher will probably be within the Haas after the ultimate race and subsequent yr.
Mazepin is predicted to companion him as Haas choose to run two rookies subsequent yr earlier than the massive alternative offered by the 2022 rules, however thus far an announcement has not been forthcoming.
The offers are anticipated to be a formality, so the likes of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg are ready on Purple Bull and what they are going to do with Alex Albon. Which means the market has slowed down, with tremendous licence factors additionally an element for the Haas pair and AlphaTauri’s plans to advertise Yuki Tsunoda. If any of them fail to safe the licence within the subsequent two weeks, foolish season may all kick off once more.
6. The shut battle for P4
Perez is ready to see what’s going to occur along with his future in F1 however he has a extra fast goal of ending fourth within the drivers’ championship in thoughts. The Mexican’s spectacular drive to second in Turkey means he has moved into P4, three factors away from Leclerc and 4 forward of Daniel Ricciardo.
The McLaren pair of Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris – in addition to Albon – can’t be totally counted out both however they’ll all want a robust run of type all through this triple-header to shut a niche of 25 factors or extra.
Perez is the person in type, scoring top-six finishes in 5 of the final six races (ending seventh within the different) and he would have had back-to-back podiums however for a weird pit technique name in Imola. However as we’ve seen on quite a few events this yr, it may all change immediately.