After 21 epic races and the crowning of a British five-time World Champion, Formula One brought the curtain down on 2018 in Abu Dhabi last weekend.

Now, its time to reflect on how each Constructor performed and assess who has excelled and who flopped beyond expectations.  

*Order is based on final Constructor standings hence why Force India are seventh due to their change of entry, although their results from throughout whole season counts for both drivers.

 

Mercedes

Race/Driver Lewis Hamilton Valtteri Bottas
Australia 2nd 8th
Bahrain 3rd 2nd
China 4th 2nd
Azerbaijan 1st Ret
Spain 1st 2nd
Monaco 3rd 5th
Canada 5th 2nd
France 1st 7th
Austria Ret Ret
Great Britain 2nd 4th
Germany 1st 2nd
Hungary 1st 5th
Belgium 2nd  4th
Italy 1st 3rd
Singapore 1st 4th
Russia 1st 2nd
Japan 1st 2nd
USA 3rd 5th
Mexico 4th 5th
Brazil 1st 5th 
Abu Dhabi 1st 5th
Points 408 247
Pole Positions  11 2
Qualifying Head to Head 15 6
Hamilton clinches fifth title Mexico

Lewis Hamilton finished fourth in Mexico to become a five time F1 World Champion. (Photo: Wolfgang Wilhelm)

Having faced their toughest fight in the Hybrid era, Mercedes will be ecstatic at how this season has turned out.

With Ferrari the fastest car in opening half of season, the Silver Arrows did a brilliant job in keeping their cool in working away to reduce the gap with Lewis Hamilton’s Azerbaijan and Germany victories coming through incredible mix of luck and strategies, whilst he dominated in Spain, France and Hungary races. 

Their and Hamilton’s patience were eventually rewarded after summer break with a sublime run of dominance as a mixture of poor upgrades and mistakes crept into Ferrari’s title bid, eventually destroying their hopes and gifted Mercedes a fifth consecutive driver/team championship double. 

This season of course didn’t come with its faults with Austria an obvious low whilst Valtteri Bottas failed to win a race yet played the no.2 role brilliantly. He however should be disappointed in failing to win any races although Baku was within grasp if it wasn’t for debris puncturing his right rear after a second safety car period. 

In summary, this has been a slow burner of a season which came good through constant improvement and Ferrari suffering yet another title bid collapse but Bottas needs to rediscover his mojo for 2019.

Grade = B

 

Ferrari

Race/Driver Sebastian Vettel Kimi Raikkonen
Australia 1st  3rd
Bahrain 1st Ret
China 8th 3rd
Azerbaijan 4th 2nd
Spain 4th Ret
Monaco 2nd 4th
Canada 1st 6th
France 5th 3rd
Austria 3rd 2nd
Great Britain 1st 3rd
Germany  Ret 3rd
Hungary 2nd 3rd
Belgium 1st Ret
Italy 4th 2nd
Singapore 3rd 5th
Russia 3rd 4th
Japan 6th 5th
USA 4th 1st
Mexico 2nd  3rd
Brazil 6th 3rd
Abu Dhabi 2nd Ret
Points 320 251
Pole Positions 5 1
Qualifying Head to Head 17 4

If Ferrari had only one New Year resolution for 2018, it surely had to be ‘don’t repeat the mistakes of 2017’. 

Embed from Getty Images

Well after a bright start, they blew the opportunity of a driver and team double through their own undoing like they did last season. This time however, more of blame probably has to go on Sebastian Vettel for being too opportunistic at times.  

Six probable wins equalling 125 points were thrown away through Vettel’s own stupidity in making silly moves on both Mercedes and Red Bull drivers, although his Germany retirement was simply his own mistake in the wet.

We could argue that he threw away a possible win in China but ultimately, Max Verstappen was at fault for that one just like Vettel was during their clash in Japan. Either way, if he hadn’t thrown those points away, the gap to Hamilton would of been much closer.

Embed from Getty Images

As for Kimi Raikkonen, he has just been himself and thoroughly deserved his final Ferrari victory in USA through brilliant defensive tactics against a two stopping Hamilton.

Another great thing that I liked about Raikkonen this season was his cleverness in forcing Ferrari to effectively spell out a team order at a stage of season when both still could of won the title. Now that is what you call brutal brilliance in showing your team what you can still do when they favour the other driver. 

In summary, a strong season but still need to nail that consistency if want to really take title fight to the final race next year. 

Grade = B

 

Red Bull

Race/Driver Daniel Ricciardo Max Verstappen
Australia 4th 6th
Bahrain Ret Ret
China 1st 5th
Azerbaijan Ret Ret
Spain 5th 3rd
Monaco 1st 9th
Canada 4th 3rd
France 4th 2nd
Austria Ret 1st
Great Britain 5th Ret
Germany Ret 4th
Hungary 4th Ret
Belgium Ret 3rd
Italy Ret 5th
Singapore 6th 2nd
Russia 6th 5th
Japan 4th 3rd
USA Ret 2nd
Mexico Ret 1st
Brazil 4th 2nd
Abu Dhabi 4th 3rd
Points 170 249
Pole Positions 2 0
Qualifying Head to Head* 5 15

* Verstappen participate in Monaco Qualifying after a FP3 crash.

Verstappen Mexico

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – OCTOBER 28: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB14 TAG Heuer on track during the Formula One Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on October 28, 2018 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

This has really been a season of two halves for Red Bull depending how you view their season.

Reliability was a massive theme throughout the season with nine retirements caused by unreliability. The issues became more apparent in Daniel Ricciardo’s side of garage from Germany onwards with four of his five retirements between then and end of season being component related as he prepared to depart for Renault.

Focusing on the positives, this car grew throughout the season as evidenced after the summer break because Max Verstappen finished the season in strong form. He took 144 points and seven podiums from last nine races of season, which was only bettered by eventual champion – Hamilton with 195 points in same period plus eight podiums

If had to criticise one thing about this team is that they failed to anticipate the collision in Azerbaijan between both drivers, when it was obviously building to that end result throughout race. Although too early to use team orders, they could of at least allowed Ricciardo through with promise of a swap back if Ricciardo couldn’t get away to try and get third. 

In end, they lost 25 points and just about sums up a tough season of poor reliability against a car capable of podiums and three lucky wins in China, Monaco and Austria on top of a dominant Mexico weekend. 

Grade = B

 

Renault

Race/Drivers Nico Hulkenberg Carlos Sainz
Australia 7th 10th
Bahrain 6th 11th
China 6th 9th
Baku Ret 5th
Spain Ret 7th
Monaco 8th 10th
Canada 7th 8th
France 9th 8th
Austria Ret 12th
Great Britain 6th Ret
Germany 5th 12th
Hungary 12th 9th
Belgium Ret 11th
Italy 13th 8th
Singapore 10th 8th
Russia 12th 17th
Japan Ret 10th
USA 6th 7th
Mexico 6th Ret
Brazil  Ret 12th
Abu Dhabi Ret 6th
Points 69 53
Qualifying Head to Head 13 8

Renault

Renault have had quite the year compared to recent seasons and this quality lineup has really helped push them forward. 

For me, the overall consistency throughout this season of one driver picking up the points baton in races when other struggled has worked wonders against Haas, even if the second half of season brought its tough moments in Belgium, Russia and Brazil.

Renault therefore are probably well set up ready for Daniel Ricciardo’s arrival next season but more reliability work is needed in order to continue growing and consolidate this season’s progress. 

Grade = B

 

Haas

Race/Driver Romain Grosjean Kevin Magnussen
Australia Ret Ret
Bahrain 13th 5th
China 17th 10th
Baku Ret 13th
Spain Ret 6th
Monaco 15th 13th
Canada 12th 13th
France 11th 6th
Austria 4th 5th
Great Britain Ret 9th
Germany 6th 11th
Hungary 10th 7th
Belgium 7th 8th
Italy DSQ 16th
Singapore 15th 18th
Russia 11th 8th
Japan 8th Ret
USA Ret DSQ
Mexico 16th  15th
Brazil 8th 9th
Abu Dhabi 9th 10th
Points 37 56
Qualifying Head to Head 11 8

* Grosjean didn’t participate in qualifying for Azerbaijan and Canada Grands Prix. 

Grosjean

From a disasterous start with two botched pit stops in Australia, Haas has had a brilliant season by their standards.

Constantly benefitting from closer connections to Ferrari, Haas has really shown progress in all areas apart from results on Romain Grosjean’s side of garage but he did improve from Austria onwards. 

Its hard to pick a negative given how far this team has come in three season, but downforce probably cost them fourth place as evidenced by poor results in Monaco, Singapore and Mexico. 

Overall its has been an impressive season but if can rectify their downforce weakness and get both drivers firing on all cylinders from opening race, 2019 should be even better. 

Grade = B

 

 

McLaren

Race/Driver Fernando Alonso Stoffel Vandoorne
Australia 5th 9th
Bahrain 7th 8th
China 7th 13th
Baku 7th 9th
Spain 8th Ret
Monaco Ret 14th
Canada Ret 16th
France 16th 12th
Austria 8th 15th
Great Britain 8th 11th
Germany 16th 13th
Hungary 8th Ret
Belgium Ret 15th
Italy Ret 12th
Singapore 7th 12th
Russia 14th 16th
Japan 14th 15th
USA Ret 11th
Mexico Ret 8th
Brazil 17th 15th
Abu Dhabi 11th 14th
Points 50 12
Qualifying Head to Head 21 0

Vandoorne around Spa

McLaren shouldn’t be happy with how this season has gone because to let their solid start slide with a series of poor performances is simply unacceptable for a team of their standards. 

The only positive here really is the fact that Fernando Alonso had stayed with team because without his talents, McLaren probably would of been lucky to pick up the points that they did in Austria, Great Britain and Singapore and perhaps finish behind both Force India and Sauber.

As for Alonso, he was unlucky to end his F1 career with another top ten finish after his 2019 replacement – Carlos Sainz finished sixth in Abu Dhabi to pip his compatriot to tenth, but can at least take heart in only being amongst a few drivers who completed a qualifying clean sweep over their teammates. 

Either way, this car hasn’t done neither Alonso or Stoffel Vandoorne justice but their start to season saved them from embarrassment. 

Grade = D

 

Force India

Race/Driver Esteban Ocon Sergio Perez
Australia 12th 11th
Bahrain 10th 16th
China 11th 12th
Baku Ret 3rd
Spain Ret 9th
Monaco 6th 12th
Canada 9th 14th
France Ret Ret
Austria 6th 7th
Great Britain 7th 10th
Germany 8th 7th
Hungary 13th 14th
Belgium 6th 5th
Italy 6th 7th
Singapore Ret 16th
Russia 9th 10th
Japan 9th 7th
USA DSQ 8th 
Mexico 11th Ret
Brazil 14th 10th
Abu Dhabi  Ret 8th
Points 49 62
Qualifying Head to Head 16 5
Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Mexican Grand Prix - Practice Day - Mexico City, Mexico

Sergio Perez (MEX) Racing Point Force India F1 VJM11. Mexican Grand Prix, Friday 26th October 2018. Mexico City, Mexico.

Having endured a tough year of evolution in ownership, Force India should be happy with how this season has finished.

At start of year, I did wonder if Force India had overcomplicated their car design but they have actually done a solid job in improving the car throughout season even if would of finished fifth without change of owner.

The highlight of Force India’s season has to be Belgium because they had registered as an new entry under Racing Point at start of weekend, so to put both cars on second row in the wet then hold on to take 18 points from the race was incredible.

Ultimately, reliability and silly driver errors cost them a shot at fighting for at least sixth if had maintained their early momentum from second half of season. In end however, this has been a tough season on and off track so seventh is a great result.

Grade = C

 

Sauber

Race/Driver Charles Leclerc Marcus Ericsson
Australia 13th Ret
Bahrain 12th 9th
China 19th 16th
Baku 6th 11th
Spain 10th 13th
Monaco 18th 11th
Canada 10th 15th
France 10th 13th
Austria 9th 10th
Great Britain Ret Ret
Germany 15th 9th
Hungary Ret 15th
Belgium Ret 10th
Italy 11th 15th
Singapore 9th 11th
Russia  7th 13th
Japan Ret 12th
USA Ret 10th
Mexico 7th 9th
Brazil 7th Ret
Abu Dhabi 7th Ret
Points 39 9
Qualifying Head to Head 17 4

 

Leclerc - Sutton Images

Charles Leclerc was one of this season’s stand-out stars. (Sutton Images)

Charles Leclerc has definitely been the story of 2018 as he led a Sauber revival in his rookie season of F1. 

39 points, higher finish than experienced talent like Romain Grosjean and comfortably outqualifying teammate, Marcus Ericsson all highlight just what a talent Ferrari have on their hands as he makes the step up with Kimi Raikkonen replacing him next season.

If there is one fault with the Monegasque, its his wet weather skills as he really struggled to handle Germany when it rained, spinning off on a couple of occasions. Given his youthful age, hopefully he can rectify that in years to come otherwise Ferrari could be in trouble at wet races next season given Vettel’s poor record in rain this decade. 

Ericsson meanwhile made considerable improvement and Bahrain saw him end a 50 race run of no points since Italy 2015 where he also finished ninth. 

Overall, this has been a real year of progress for Sauber with both drivers maximising every power unit upgrade that Ferrari gave them.

Now the challenge has to be to continue to stride forward given that they have a now ex Ferrari talent alongside a Ferrari junior in their cars next season.

Grade = C 

 

Toro Rosso

Race/Driver Pierre Gasly Brendon Hartley
Australia Ret 15th
Bahrain 4th 17th
China 18th 20th
Baku 12th 10th
Spain Ret 12th
Monaco 7th 19th
Canada 11th Ret
France Ret 14th
Austria 11th Ret
Great Britain 13th Ret
Germany 14th 10th
Hungary 6th 11th
Belgium 9th 14th
Italy 14th Ret
Singapore 13th 17th
Russia Ret Ret
Japan 11th 13th
USA 12th 9th
Mexico 10th 14th
Brazil 13th 11th
Abu Dhabi Ret 12th
Points 29 4
Qualifying Head to Head 13 6

*Brendon Hartley failed to set a time within 107% rule in Azerbaijan and missed British Grand Prix Qualifying after a FP3 crash. 

Embed from Getty Images

Although a ninth placed constructor finish is disappointing, Toro Rosso should take heart from progress made under its new power unit deal with Honda. 

The biggest highlight has to be Pierre Gasly who has done a solid job in a decent if unspectacular car, with fourth in Bahrain being a top highlight whilst just being on cusp of points in races where he didn’t finish in top ten.

Compare that with Brendan Hartley then its clear to see why he has earned promotion to Red Bull for next season, especially as he was able to get into middle of points on a few occasions whilst the New Zealander highest finish was only ninth.

Overall a solid season with excellent work alongside Honda to develop the power unit despite results suggesting otherwise to ensure that next season should be a promising one. 

Grade = D

 

Williams

Race/Driver Lance Stroll Sergey Sirotkin
Australia 14th Ret
Bahrain 14th 15th
Canada 14th 15th
Baku 8th Ret
Spain 11th 14th
Monaco 17th 16th
Canada Ret 17th
France 17th 15th
Austria 14th 13th
Great Britain 12th 14th
Germany Ret Ret
Hungary 17th 16th
Belgium 13th 12th
Italy 9th 10th
Singapore 14th 19th
Russia 15th 18th
Japan 17th 16th
USA 14th 13th
Mexico 12th 13th
Brazil 18th 16th
Abu Dhabi 13th 15th
Points 6 1
Qualifying Head to Head* 8 12

*Lance Stroll failed to set a time in Qualifying for British Grand Prix after a spin. 

Embed from Getty Images

2018 has been absolutely diabolical for Williams with an uncompetitive car and all their points really coming from pure misfortunes of other drivers. 

Its hard to find any positives to take from this season at Grove other than the fact that rookie, Sergey Sirotkin has outqualified the more experienced Lance Stroll but overall a terrible season which is thankfully now consigned to the history books,

Next year is already looking promising with Robert Kubica partnering talented Mercedes junior, George Russell, but any improvement won’t disguise just how poor things have been this season.  

Grade = F

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