By Aiden Lindley ’22
Formula 1 has become more popular over the past several years, and in many European countries, Formula 1 has taken over motorsports. The high speed, high risk motorsport consists of 10 teams, 20 drivers, with one task in mind; build and drive the fastest car possible. Teams design and build open-wheel, single seater formula cars with powerful engines, and large amounts of downforce, resulting in very high speeds. Over the past 10 years, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have dominated their competition, but does the two-peat look favorable for Max Verstappen and Red Bull? Or does Charles Leclerc and Ferrari have what it takes to steal the crown?
Over the past 7 seasons, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have won more than 100 races and found themselves on over 180 podiums. The sun seems to be setting on this historic run. In an interview given after pre-season testing, Hamilton said “It’s too early to have those kinds of thoughts about the world championship, but at the moment I don’t think we will be competing for wins.” This skepticism has awoken the Formula 1 world as new faces continue to show up at the top of the leaderboard.
The 2022 season began on Sunday, March 20th in Bahrain, for the Bahrain Grand Prix. The 20 drivers took their first checkered flag after 57 laps on this 5.412 Kilometer/3.36 Mile circuit. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc took home the first 25 points as his teammate Carlos Sainz rallied close, in second. That’s right: A perfect 1-2 start for Ferrari to kick off 2022. Two different unfortunate malfunctions and errors caused both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, of Red Bull, to retire.
Despite the exciting start to the 2022 Formula 1 Season, incidents in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia this past week have officials at the FIA (Federation Internationale de L’Automobile) worried. A large Saudi oil depot and petroleum storage site was under attack in Jeddah on Friday, which obviously has its risks so close to a Formula 1 circuit. The FIA has confirmed that additional security measures have been put in place and the race will continue, starting with Qualifying on Saturday, followed by Sunday Race Day.
Ferrari stayed hot on Sunday in Saudi Arabia. Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz found themselves with 34 points while standing 2-3 on the podium. Max Verstappen pulled out a win when he overtook Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc after a hard fought, race-long battle. Lewis Hamilton finished in 10th, only scoring 1 point for Mercedes. After the race Hamilton acknowledged Mercedes’ struggles, “Right now we’re not fighting for the top step. We’re so far off the guys up ahead. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We need more grip and we need more power.” Obviously, Mercedes are frustrated as they are used to having a strong hold on the top of the podium. Will things remain the same for Ferrari and Verstappen in Australia? Or will Mercedes come across a miracle? Watch on ESPN at 1:00 AM est. April 10th to find out!