E s is no secret that in Formula 1 is fought with unequal weapons. Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull drive in their own category. Their lead over the rest of the field is between one and one and a half seconds, depending on the route. About the same amount of time that separates fourth from tenth in Formula 1B. Whoever leads the big midfield, he is between one and two seconds ahead of the bottom group Williams.
If you look at the points table for the 2018 World Cup, the picture is different. The field of 20 drivers is divided into three blocks. Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton already have 47 points ahead of a four-man team consisting of Kimi Räikkönen, Valtteri Bottas and the two Red Bull drivers. This group, in turn, is 51 points ahead of the rest, which is led by Nico Hülkenberg after 10 Grand Prix.
Vettel is the only one without retirement
The big gap between the lead and the pursuers clearly technical reasons. Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull operate with twice or three times as many people and money. It's as if three Champions League teams were allowed to play in the third Bundesliga.
Not much will change in this regard in the future, even if Renault is slowly approaching the status of the three top teams. Even if the French do everything right, it will be at least two more years to catch up. Until then, the budget cap will hopefully take effect.
But why does the top group split itself into two classes? On the one hand, this has technical reasons. Vettel hasno zero in his table yet. Hamilton only one. Their team-mates have already come away empty-handed twice.
Red Bull is hit even harder. Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen each suffered three retirements. With Vettel's yield of 17.1 points per GP start, this is already 51 points behind. In addition, the Ferrari driver crossed the finish line four times ahead of both Red Bulls.
It is similar with Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes driver even crossed the finish line six times ahead of the two Red Bull drivers. With a point average of 16.3, the failure of the world champion in Austria is twice as difficult. If Hamilton had only lived up to the statistics at Spielberg, he would now lead the title race. You don't have to be a prophet to make the prognosis: This world championship title is decided by the stability of the material and the error rate of the drivers.
Stable direction does not yet matter
At Räikkönen and Bottas has another disadvantage. Your teammates are usually faster or are in front of them on the starting lap. That ensures them the better strategy. Since one-stop races have become the rule, the number two drivers have practically no chance of overtaking their team captains.
Ferrari and Mercedes are not allowed to be under the control of Ferrari and Mercedes at the moment. In China, Azerbaijan, France and Austria, Kimi Raikkonen was allowed to cross the finish line ahead of his stable rivals. Bottas showed the exhaust to Hamilton in Bahrain, China and Canada. When he retired in Baku, he was ahead of the Mercedes chief driver.
The retirement of Raikkonen and Bottas was a mixture of bad luck and defects. Räikkönen stumbled upon a failed pit stop in Bahrain and retired in Spain with an engine problem. Bottas was robbed of a possible victory by a blown tire after running over debris in Azerbaijan. The hydraulics went on strike in Austria.
At Red Bull, the drivers themselves threw away points once. The collision in Baku cost a possible podium. Otherwise too much will break in the third place in the World Cup. The battery in Bahrain, the exhaust in Austria, brake-by-wire in England. Even with the victory in Monaco, the technology was not stable. Ricciardo drove to victory with a defective MGU-K.
In Category 1B, 13 drivers are nicely divided from 42 to one point for Brendon Hartley. In the battle for the pursuit title, everything boils down to a three-way battle between Nico Hülkenberg (42), Fernando Alonso (40) and Kevin Magnussen (39).
Behind them, three drivers are staggered in a tight space: Carlos Sainz (28), Esteban Ocon (25) and Sergio Perez (23). Only one driver is still without a point this year. Sergey Sirotkin has to wait for a medium miracle at the Williams if he wants to leave the bottom of the table.