This year Formula One has had not one silly season but two.
The British Grand Prix was followed by a three-week break because of the cancellation of the race in Germany and another four-week recess ensued after the last race in Hungary at the end of July.
F1, however, returns in Spa this weekend and nine races will be packed into 14 weeks, ending with the final round in Abu Dhabi on 29 November. This is how the teams fared through the first half of the season, in order of their world championship standing.
Constructors’ championship 1st 383pts
Lewis Hamilton 1st 202pts
Nico Rosberg 2nd 181pts
The team will romp to both world championships after winning eight of the 10 races so far. They deserve their success, too, because they are a class apart but they have also shown that they can wobble under pressure. It is a shame that no other team has been capable of harassing them on a consistent basis. Williams and Ferrari punished their poor starts in the last two races, at Silverstone and in Hungary, when they moved off the line like tractors. Lewis Hamilton’s 21-point lead over his team-mate Nico Rosberg is not a fair reflection of his total dominance; he has led for 340 laps in 2015 and scored 81% of the maximum 250 points available.
Constructors’ championship 2nd 236pts
Sebastian Vettel 3rd 160pts
Kimi Raikkonen 5th 76pts
The best of the rest but are still more than half a second off Mercedes’ pace – and that’s a big gap in Formula One. Significant improvements have been made to the engine but they still have a lot of work to do on the chassis.
Sebastian Vettel, with wins in Malaysia and Hungary, has shown that he is capable of producing results but Kimi Raikkonen’s future continues to attract speculation. Raikkonen has scored 84 fewer points than his team-mate and needs to finish with a flourish if he is to retain his lucrative seat.
Constructors’ championship 3rd 151pts
Valtteri Bottas 4th 77pts
Felipe Massa 6th 74pts
They continue to impress, especially when you look at their modest level of funding beside the big-budget teams, with whom they rub wheels. They have consolidated, however, rather than kicked on from their magnificent 2014, when they were third with 320 points, putting behind them their annus horribilis of the previous year; ninth with five points.
They like the rain as much as a barbecue, however. For Williams, it looks like acid rain and they melted away at Silverstone once the weather turned. Silverstone also showed us that they will have to brush up on their strategy in the weeks ahead. Valtteri Bottas, who has not had everything his own way against Felipe Massa, might have won the British Grand Prix with a better call from the pit wall.
Constructors’ championship 4th 96pts
Daniel Ricciardo 7th 51pts
Daniil Kyvat 8th 45pts
The team goes into the second half of the season encouraged by their double podium finish in the last race in Budapest. They have improved their chassis, which didn’t look as good as Toro Rosso’s at the beginning but their dud Renault engine still resembles something they found in Exchange and Mart, despite upgrades at Silverstone.
Daniel Ricciardo, a revelation in 2014, has been frustrated by the car’s lack of competitiveness. His team-mate Daniil Kvyat has improved after a dodgy start and impressed in Monaco, and also in Hungary, where his podium finish was a maiden one.
Constructors’ championship 5th 39pts
Nico Hülkenberg 9th 24pts
Sergio Pérez 13th 15pts
They have succeeded in punching above their middleweight division in recent years and are doing so once again after bringing in their B-spec car at Silverstone. They started the season slowly because of budget worries and were basically running last year’s car.
The form of their drivers will also give them confidence in the second half of the season. Nico Hülkenberg has looked a stronger driver since winning Le Mans in June and really caught the eye in Austria later that month. Sergio Pérez, who appeared the stronger driver a few months ago, now looks second best.
Constructors’ championship 6th 35pts
Romain Grosjean 10th 23pts
Pastor Maldonado 14th 12pts
Lotus have been boosted by their switch to a Mercedes power unit but money is short and speculation that Renault might take them over means they go to Spa feeling unsettled.
They have had reliability issues and Pastor Maldonado continues to drive erratically. His team-mate Romain Grosjean has often been terrific in qualifying but less consistent on race days.
Constructors’ championship 7th 31pts
Max Verstappen 11th 22pts
Carlos Sainz Jr 16th 9pts
The most interesting of the smaller teams. In the early races they often looked a stronger – particularly in qualifying – outfit than Red Bull, their senior team, although they have suffered reliability issues.
Max Verstappen, the most eye-catching young driver out there, was fourth in the Hungarian Grand Prix and has had team followers talking about their days with Sebastian Vettel. He also looked very good in China but his team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr, although overshadowed, has also been impressive.
Constructors’ championship 8th 22pts
Felipe Nasr 12th 16pts
Marcus Ericsson 18th 6pts
Better than last year, both with their Ferrari engine and their aero, but they have fallen back in recent months and face a challenging second half. Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr – who was a wonderful fifth on his debut drive in Australia – have both been solid. They badly need the upgrades and the new technical director, Mark Smith, is going to be a busy man.
Constructors’ championship 9th 17pts
Fernando Alonso 15th 11pts
Jenson Button 17th 6pts
Kevin Magnussen 21st 0pts*
So far, they have failed to live up to their modest expectations. They knew life would be difficult with the new engine suppliers, Honda – but not this hard. Even their “success” in the last race in Hungary, where both drivers finished among the points, may be a false dawn because Spa and Monza will punish their lack of power. The sight of Fernando Alonso pushing his car in qualifying in Hungary will be one of the abiding images of the year. Only twice, in China and Hungary, have Alonso and Jenson Button both finished.
*Magnussen stood in for Alonso in Australia
Constructors’ championship 10th 0pts
Roberto Merhi 19th 0pts
Will Stevens 20th 0pts
Manor Marussia have struggled to keep up, even with McLaren. Their 2014 car has simply not been competitive and a lack of money means they go into the second phase of the season with no real hope of doing any better. Merely remaining in the sport is commendable after last season, when they nearly went under and when Jules Bianchi suffered what proved to be fatal injuries in Japan. Will Stevens has generally had the better of Roberto Merhi, although neither have scored any points.
This article was written by Paul Weaver, for theguardian.com on Monday 17th August 2015 15.52 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010