Formula One Open Wheel

What We Learned from the First Half of the F1 Season

The Big Picture:  We love a professional racing series that has recess. And time outs. Well, the time outs are an exaggeration. At any rate, Formula One has a policy that no one works on the cars for one month right in the middle of the season. So, here without further ado, here is our mid-season version of What We Learned, featuring short summaries of the races that happened, and a listing of the 20 fulltime F1 drivers, their place in the points, and what they did on their summer vacations.

The Events:

  • Australia – Ferrari strikes back, and Sebastian Vettel wins the season opener.
  • China – Lewis Hamilton scores his first grand slam victory of the season!
  • Bahrain – And then it’s Vettel’s turn to win again.
  • Russia – Valtteri Bottas mixes it up when he claims his maiden victory.
  • Spain – Hamilton wins as Vettel fumes.
  • Monaco – Vettel wins again, while Hamilton fails to place on the podium.
  • Canada – Hamilton earns his third victory of the year and second grand slam of 2017.
  • Azerbaijan – Daniel Ricciardo gets his first (and so far, only) win of the season in F1’s version of Demolition Derby. Canadian rookie Lance Stroll earns his first podium.
  • Austria – Bottas gets to win again because Hamilton had to change his gearbox thus incurring a grid penalty. By the way, this is a dumb rule.
  • Britain – Hamilton earns his third grand slam of the year in front of his home crowd and his fifth win at his home race. Delirium ensues.
  • Hungary – Vettel’s performance of the year thus far came during an otherwise boring race when the German experienced steering issues but still brought home the win. Bottas and Raikkonen both podium in front of a crowd with numerous Finns in attendance. Delirium ensues.

The Drivers and How They Spent Their Summer Vacations:

  • Fernando Alonzo – 15th place, no wins. Checked on his new museum and went to the Greek Isle of Mykonos.
  • Valtteri Bottas – 3rd, two wins, a possible title contender. Chilled at home in his native Finland.
  • Marcus Ericsson – 20th place, no points. In the UK supporting his brother, who was racing.
  • Romain Grosjean – 13th, no wins. He posed upside down on a paddle board, no idea where he was.
  • Lewis Hamilton – 2nd place, four victories,definite title contender. Jet setting, including sailing and off-road racing. Worked with UNICEF in Cuba.
  • Nico Hulkenberg – 10th, no firsts. No idea what he did.
  • Daniil Kvyat – 17th, no wins. Boating and beaches with the girlfriend.
  • Kevin Magnussen – 14th place, no wins. Flying with his grandfather and befriending farm animals.
  • Felipe Massa – 11th. No information.
  • Esteban Ocon – 8th place, no wins. Beach holiday with friends in his home country, Spain.
  • Jolyon Palmer – 19th. Climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa.
  • Sergio Perez – 7th. Near the ocean and fishing.
  • Kimi Raikkonen – 5th place, four podiums. No idea what he did this summer.
  • Daniel Ricciardo – 4th place, a win, five podiums. Mountain biking and then beach vacay with teammate Verstappen.
  • Carlos Sainz, Jr. – 9th. He didn’t tell us about his vacation!
  • Lance Stroll – 12th place, a podium. Golfing vacation in Turks and Caicos.
  • Stoffel Vandoorne – 18th. Went to Montenegro with friends.
  • Sebastian Vettel – 1st place, four wins. Notoriously private Vettel, of course, isn’t talking.
  • Max Verstappen – 6th, five DNFs with a podium. Let’s see, had a vacation on the beach with Ricciardo, went boating with friends, and met his fans at a Red Bull event.
  • Pascal Wehrlein – 16th – Worked out and spent time on a boat.

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By Lisa Davidson

Lisa Davidson is a graduate of the University of Arizona and spent her corporate career as a Controller. She is a lifelong writer who has been covering open wheel racing since 2000 and is the author of historical articles and co-author of one book She and her husband, photographer Jeff Davidson, have two daughters and make their home in Murrieta, CA.