A glimpse of things to come: Can Honda power Red Bull to one last triumph at Abu Dhabi?
The record books will state that the 2019 Formula One world championship was Mercedes’ sixth straight title wrap up. An astonishing accomplishment.
They will also note that Lewis Hamilton powered to ten or maybe eleven victories in his Mercedes W10, a complete all-rounder of a machine.
What the record books won’t be able to scream out loud enough, however, is that in the fastest of circuits on the calendar, it was the Ferrari SF90 initially and later the Red Bull RBR15 powered by Honda, that proved unbeatable.
In the Brazilian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen first dominated qualifying by snatching a sensational pole position from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and later led and retook the lead twice from Lewis Hamilton in the race!
In an era that truly belongs to Hamilton, this has rarely occurred. Kudos to Max and his trademark aggressive race craft. Congratulations to Honda too for their steady progress through the season.
In Red Bull, they’ve found a chassis partner that’s ready to get back to championship-winning ways. And boy did they display that in Brazil.
With Alex Albon running in a potential second place and Pierre Gasly ultimately gaining that spot we could have witnessed an all Red Bull, all Honda powered podium!
But Hamilton broke all hopes of that happening when a rare misjudgement punted Albon off the track at Turn 9.
The stewards felt it was Hamilton’s fault and penalised him, promoting McLaren’s Carlos Sainz from P4.
Hamilton’s loss was McLaren’s gain. Deep down he may not mind seeing his old team finish on the podium after almost 5 whole seasons!
To spice up what was already a dramatic race Ferrari teammates Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel took each other out of the race in a controversial manner.
Vettel’s veering move into Leclerc’s car resulted in a punctured rear wheel and a destroyed front that reminisced of his incident with Mark Webber back in 2010 at Istanbul.
The stars are just not aligning for the four-time champion. Can Ferrari sign off the season with a positive result at Abu Dhabi up next?
The spectacular Yas Marina circuit complete with fancy yachts and fireworks displays is a perfect venue for a grand finale. Or a sort of prelude to what’s in store for 2020.
The writer is a motorsports enthusiast who will cover the 2019 FIA Formula One™ season exclusively for Indulge.