The Battle For The Formula 1 Driver’s World Championship

Lewis Hamilton at the 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix:  Source: Mercedes AMG

With Nico Rosberg’s win in the German Grand Prix, he extended his championship lead on teammate Lewis Hamilton to 14 points.  This was largely due to Hamilton’s qualifying troubles and gearbox change which saw him starting Sunday’s race in 20th.  Even with that starting position, Lewis Hamilton managed to climb the field and finish on the third step of the podium behind Williams’ Valtteri Bottas.  Hamilton and his great drive kept him in the Driver’s Championship running with Rosberg:

Lewis Hamilton
If Hamilton hadn’t finished where he did, things would have been a lot worse for the world champion.  Even a 14 point deficit is going to to be hard for Hamilton to make up with the way Rosberg has been performing.  Nico Rosberg has won four times this year, finished second five times and has only one DNF.  Even if Hamilton was to win the next eight races, he could still lose the championship, (although highly unlikely) because of the addition of double points in the last race.  Lewis Hamilton is going to have to secure some great finishes in the next races and hope Rosberg suffers a poor result to take back the championship lead. 

Nico Rosberg
Speaking of Nico Rosberg, he is having the season of his career.  His average finish is up 4.2 places since last year (to 3.2) and he is on pace to win the Driver’s World Championship if he continues his form and reliability through the second half of the season.  The highest Nico has ever finished in the driver’s championship is 6th last year.  

With only one retirement this year to Hamilton’s two, the car performance has been fantastic for Rosberg. Another thing Rosberg has going for him is his second-half of the season results. In 2013, Rosberg’s average finish through the first 9 races (through Germany) was 8.3.  For the last 10 races of the season it improved to 6.7.  Nico has performed better in the second half of the season, so look for him to be on fire when Hamilton is coming after him.  
Red Bull
Third in the points standings is Red Bull rookie Daniel Ricciardo.  He currently has 106 points and is 84 points out from Nico Rosberg.  Ricciardo has been significantly better than his four time world champion teammate Sebastien Vettel.  Ricciardo has 4 podiums so far this year and an average finish of 7.0.  Compare this to Vettel’s 82 points, 2 podiums and 8.9 average finish, and it looks like Ricciardo should be the number one driver for the team.  If things continue this way for Vettel this could be his worst performing season since 2008. 

The current points standings in the Driver’s Championship.

The driver’s championship is down to the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Roseberg.  The latter is coming off a win in Germany and a 14 point lead when Formula 1 goes to Hungary this week.  Hamilton has won at this track four times, including the last two years.  Even better for Hamilton is that his teammate has an average finish of 12.6 at this track over the course of the last three years, compared to his 2.0.  Hungary is one of Hamilton’s best and Rosberg’s worse tracks to race at historically.  

Hungary could be just the place for Lewis Hamilton to take the fight back to Rosberg and put himself in the championship lead.  

Which driver do you think will win the Driver’s World Championship?  Let me know in the comments below.  

          – Drew Bennison 

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