Google+ Jack Leslie F1: The story of the F1 2016 season so far

16 August 2016

The story of the F1 2016 season so far

The F1 2016 season has been a pretty mixed back, with a few “meh” races mixed in with some absolute classics. 
© Octane Photographic
With the summer break and shutdown now well underway, it gives us a great chance to reflect on what’s happened so far.


After pre-season testing, 2016 kicked off in style at the Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne. Strong starts from the Ferrari drivers saw Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen lead early on, before Mercedes played a strong strategic move. 

This saw Nico Rosberg rise up the order to take victory, with Lewis Hamilton bouncing back from a poor start to finish second. But the headlines were dominated by a major shunt for Fernando Alonso that caused a red flag. 


Alonso was deemed not fit to race in Bahrain and so he was replaced by Stoffel Vandoorne, who scored a point on his F1 debut. Up front, Rosberg’s positive momentum continued with a commanding victory Raikkonen, with Hamilton bouncing back from a collision with Valtteri Bottas at the first corner to conclude the podium. 

Haas F1 arrived in fine form, having scored points in its first race with Romain Grosjean, the Frenchman impressed once again in Bahrain to finish fifth. Pascal Wehrlein also caught the attention of many, proving Manor was becoming a solid midfield contender. 
© Pirelli


The Shanghai International Circuit produced a thrilling Chinese GP, with Rosberg claiming a third victory of the season. It was controlled out front, but behind it was all kicking off. The Ferraris collided on lap one, with Vettel eventually finishing second. 

Daniil Kvyat emerged from it all with a strong third place, his first podium. Hamilton damaged his front wing on lap one and could only recover to seventh. Meanwhile Daniel Ricciardo lost a strong result, having led on lap one, after an early puncture. 


He went from hero to zero in the space of just a few weeks, with the Russian GP almost certainly costing Kvyat his seat at Red Bull. On lap one in Sochi he collided with Vettel twice, taking the German driver out of the race and finishing a lowly 15th. 

Hamilton suffered another reliability problem in qualifying but finished second, leaving Rosberg alone out front to take a fourth win and commanding lead in the standings. Raikkonen was third for Ferrari, while Fernando Alonso, Kevin Magnussen and Grosjean put in great performances to finish sixth, seventh and eighth. 


The Spanish GP has been arguably the best race of the season so far. Of course, the two Mercedes drivers famously collided on lap one, with both retiring on the spot. This left the Red Bull and Ferraris to battle out front, at times it looked set to be a four-way fight for the win. 
© Octane Photographic

Max Verstappen, in his first race for Red Bull after a mid-season promotion, ended up taking victory. He broke several records in the process, with Raikkonen and Vettel completing the podium. Ricciardo dropped out of contention with a poor strategy and a puncture. Carlos Sainz Jr. was an encouraging sixth for Toro Rosso. 


Having lost a potential victory in Spain, Ricciardo was eager to get things right in Monaco. But sadly it wasn’t meant to be. The Aussie and Hamilton both drove brilliantly but an unprepared pit crew cost Ricciardo the lead and he had to settle for second. 

Hamilton claimed his first win of the season, as the momentum started to swing in his favour. Sergio Perez excelled in the wet-to-dry conditions and finished third, with Vettel and Alonso next up. Rosberg struggled to seventh, while the Sauber duo collided and there were several disruptions for crashes and incidents. 


Hamilton has always gone well in Canada and his splendid form continued in Montreal with a second consecutive victory, as well as his fifth at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Vettel moved into the lead at the start but errors and an inferior strategy cost him a shot at first place. 

On a one-stop strategy, Hamilton stormed to the win, with Vettel second and Bottas fighting from seventh on the grid to third. It was an eventful race for Rosberg, with brief contact on lap one with Hamilton, a puncture and a late spin meaning fifth was the end result. 


A new addition to the calendar for 2016, the Baku City Circuit is certainly one of the most unusual tracks to ever feature in F1. Rosberg had the advantage throughout the weekend, particularly after Hamilton crashes in qualifying and had to start P10. 

He put in an unchallenged lights-to-flag victory but there was plenty of movement further back. Vettel was second, with Perez a hard-charging third after a late sprint. Raikkonen was fourth and Hamilton held onto fifth despite a late engine issue, which he had to fix himself due to the new radio rules. 
© Octane Photographic


After a difficult weekend in Baku, F1 returned to the Red Bull Ring with Hamilton determined to claw back ground in the championship. It almost looked like that wouldn’t happen after dropping behind team-mate Rosberg in the final round of pitstops. 

Tensions between the two were already high after Spain. On the final lap, the Silver Arrows cars collided as Hamilton tried a move around the outside. He was able to continue into the lead, while Rosberg suffered front wing damage and fell to fourth, behind a hard-fighting Verstappen and Raikkonen. Jenson Button was a strong sixth and Wehrlein scored Manor’s first point of the season with 10th. 

Great Britain 

Difficult conditions for the British Grand Prix failed to faze Hamilton, he put in a stunning drive to win on home soil. Perfectly timed switches from wets to intermediates and then dry tyres put him in control, finishing seven seconds clear of Rosberg. 

But Rosberg was penalised for an illegal radio message after a late gearbox scare and dropped to third, elevating Verstappen to second. Ricciardo and Raikkonen were next up. The tricky weather caused several incidents, with Turn 1 proving to be a particularly challenging. 


Hamilton entered the Hungarian GP one point behind his team-mate and a victory at the Hungaroring elevated him into the lead. There was controversy in qualifying when Rosberg took pole despite the yellow flags coming on his lap. 

Hamilton passed Rosberg on lap one and went on to claim a record fifth win at the track, with the second Mercedes car shadowing him and finishing a close second. Ricciardo put in a storming drive to third, with Vettel fourth and Verstappen fifth. Jolyon Palmer lost a potential point with a spin in the closing stages. 


In great form, Hamilton arrived in Germany on a roll and extended his lead in the standings further with a commanding win at the Hockenheimring. It was a race of mixed strategies as Ricciardo moved ahead of Verstappen to claim second. 

Rosberg dropped from first to fourth and struggled to take the fight to the Red Bulls, while Ferrari’s fading form saw Vettel and Raikkonen finish fifth and sixth. Button put in one of his strongest races of the year to finish eighth, while team-mate Alonso dropped down the order late on conserving fuel. 

What will the rest of the season deliver? Let’s wait and see!

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