2019 Abu Dhabi Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Some fans like to hone in on yet another Mercedes/Hamilton march to the titles in a seemingly early foregone conclusion. Others, like us, like to hone in on a very interesting season which hopefully will mean closer competition next year. If nothing else, we are in for a wild, wild silly season with all the premier drivers in their final contract years.
EVENT: The expats always have a good time.
TRACK: For some reason, it seemed a little more interesting racing this year. But, it still shouldn't be the season finale.
QUALIFYING: Mercedes is back to a 1-2 even if they won't start that way, Vettel can't even beat Leclerc who didn't get a second run, Verstappen may be third but gets to start next to Hamilton, and Stroll celebrates the end of the season by getting out of Q1.
RACE: An absolute runaway for Hamilton, but intrigue and action behind him.
START: Hamilton is faultless, Leclerc blows by Verstappen, Vettel tries the same but can't pull it off, Stroll slides into Gasly, taking Gasly's front wing off.
HAMILTON: Pole. Led every lap. Fastest lap. Dominating victory. That's putting an exclamation point on another championship season. And making quite a statement to those who dare to knock him off the mountaintop next year.
BOTTAS: Is it just us, or was Valtteri just not as exciting to watch marching through the field from starting last compared to other drivers who have done the same?
VERSTAPPEN: Had nothing for Hamilton. But took care of the Ferraris.
ALBON: Couldn't take care of the Ferraris.
LECLERC: Beat Vettel. Again.
VETTEL: Got beat by Leclerc. Again.
FERRARI: Screwed up the timing for qualifying. Can't figure out how to properly state the amount of fuel in their car. Botched pit stops. Do you really think Lewis Hamilton is going to want to drive for you dunderheads?
PEREZ: Perhaps the drive of his career.
NORRIS: Capped off a solid, solid rookie year.
SAINZ: Huge growth as a driver this season.
MCLAREN: What excites us most for next year with McLaren isn't the team, but the drivers.
RICCIARDO: A lost opportunity again.
HULKENBERG: Passed on the last lap for the final point. The story of Nico's career. Sometimes, promising career's just don't pan out.
RENAULT: The penalty for leaving F1 is so harsh, they probably will stick it out. Or will they...?
KVYAT: Is going to need to take it to Gasly next year, or Daniil will be the one out as soon as a Red Bull junior driver is ready for F1.
GASLY: Renewed form after getting demoted.
TORO ROSSO: Goodbye Toro Rosso. Hello Alpha Tauri.
RACING POINT: Complain all you want about Toro Rosso's new name, but Racing Point still has the worst and most banal name on the grid.
HAAS: Mercifully, the season is over for them.
RUSSELL: Please, please, please give George a capable car.
KUBICA: An amazing comeback. No doubt. But, it was a long shot of ever working out.
WILLIAMS: Do they have any hope of ever making themselves into a Formula 1 team again?
DRS: The first 20 laps showed us what the racing -- and passing -- is like without DRS.
FIA: Rules apply to everyone. Except Ferrari.
F2: With only two 2020 F1 openings, and one of them going to a previous driver, there is no room for anyone to get promoted from F2, outside of Nicholas Latifi -- who spent way too much time in GP2/F2 -- and his father's billions.
GOODBYES: Charlie Whiting. Niki Lauda. Anthoine Hubert.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: DRS.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 3 -- The number of races won this year from pole position by Lewis Hamilton out of 11 total wins. Just goes to show for Hamilton and Mercedes this year, it was more about the race than sheer speed.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND:
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Sebastian Vettel on the (ridiculous) rumors of Hamilton one day ending up on Ferrari, "I think he's already a Ferrari driver. No? So, no change. I think he's a good customer. He owns more than one."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP:Max Verstappen appears to have Superman hearing when during the race he asked his engineer, "Are both Ferraris on a two-stop? I could hear it behind you! Ha, ha."
SCHEDULE: We lose Germany but gain the Netherlands (yeah!) and Vietnam (blah). Even crazier, the schedule is now 22 races.
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