This Formula 1 season has been a delight insofar as before it started most people thought that Lewis Hamilton would likely repeat as champion, if not so nearly as comfortably as he did last year. What happened instead is that Max Verstappen has finally emerged as a true contender. With seven races to go, no one seems to have any idea how it will go.
That’s because there are certain races — like, for Mercedes, the Italian Grand Prix and the Russian Grand Prix — where teams going in know they have a bit of an advantage, because of track layouts, and also weather. But in the final seven races — Turkey next, followed by the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, likely Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Abu Dhabi — Red Bull boss Christian Horner and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff say that they aren’t sure any of them favor a particular team.
Horner offered the following this week, via MotorSport.com:
“For sure Mercedes will be strong in Turkey, they won there last year. But then we start getting to Austin, we should be there or thereabouts, and in Brazil and Mexico, we’ve always been strong.
“We don’t know anything about Qatar, we don’t know anything about Jeddah. And then it’s Abu Dhabi.
“So you can say it’s 50/50 in what is left on the table, with which favours slightly one team more than the other.”
While Wolff had this to say:
“I’ve stopped trying to anticipate whether it’s historically a strong race for us, because everything changes with the new regulations,” he said.
“Definitely we knew that Monza and Sochi would be coming more towards us, but the reality is we are where we are, and this is the points gap.
“I doubt that any of the two teams will make massive swings up or down, it’s just about continuing to do the best possible job.
The championship will possibly be decided by two races — Saudi Arabia and Qatar — that simply haven’t happened before and are almost complete unknowns, adding another layer of uncertainty. Bettors, meanwhile, currently have the championship winner as a coin flip. May every Formula 1 season proceed like this.