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Five things learned from the opening F1 triple-header of 2020

Five things learned from the opening F1 triple-header of 2020


Five things learned from the opening F1 triple-header of 2020

Five things learned from the opening F1 triple-header of 2020

Formula 1 returned to action with an intense run of three race in three weekends, and before we do it all over again, it's time to pause and reflect on what we've learned from the opening exchanges.

Two races in Austria and one in Hungary opened the long awaited 2020 season,

Mercedes remains a cut above the rest

Mercedes has been the class of the field since 2014, winning constructors and drivers championship doubles for six seasons on the bounce, a total that appears set to increase further.

With victories for Valtteri Bottas in the season opener and Lewis Hamilton in the subsequent two races, the team has a 100 per cent record in 2020.

However, a penalty for Hamilton in Austria and a problematic start for Bottas in Hungary mean Mercedes has scored just a single one-two result. Although only a small chink in the armour, rivals Red Bull will have noticed this.

While it remains unclear as to how much DAS [Dual Axis Steering] aids the overall performance of the Mercedes W11, one thing is for sure. The W11 is by far and away, the class of the field.

The midfield battle will be ferocious

The midfield fight could well provide the majority of the entertainment for Formula 1 fans in 2020. With Mercedes currently sitting pretty at the front and Red Bull in an odd no man's land ahead of the chasing pack, the fight for third is already hotting up.

In the season opener, Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris made the most of a late safety car and a penalty to Lewis Hamilton to score podium results for Ferrari and McLaren respectively. It would not be unfair to describe these achievements as 'unexpected'.

Renault have yet to land a meaningful blow in the battle, but Daniel Ricciardo has stated publicly that he feels it is only a matter of time before the French manufacturer enters the fray properly.

It is Racing Point who unsurprisingly grab the headline here however. Spectacular in qualifying, not least when locking out the second row of the grid in Hungary, Racing Point are consistent top seven finishers. In fact, the only failure to finish inside the top seven came when Lance Stroll retired from the season opening Austrian Grand Prix.

However, with an FIA investigation into the design process of the RP20 ongoing, the picture could very quickly change. Speaking of which...

All results are provisional, except Austria

After the Stryian Grand Prix, Renault officially lodged an appeal against the brake ducts of the Racing Point. Being a 'listed part', teams must design and build the parts in house, but Renault believe their rivals have breached regulations by copying the Mercedes ducts.

The exterior certainly appears to very closely resemble the 2019 Mercedes component, certainly a mark of the design by photography approach taken by the team, but Renault allege the inner workings will be identical too, and question how this can be so if Racing Point has indeed designed its own parts.

As a result of the protest, the results of the Styrian Grand Prix remain provisional and, due to Renault again protesting the component after the Hungarian race, these results too remain provisional.

It is likely the pattern of Renault protesting the result of each race will continue until the situation is resolved.

Williams is on the mend

Williams has endured a slow decline in performance for the better part of a decade, but hopes are growing that the team has finally turned a corner.

Propping up the order in both 2018 and '19, Williams scored just one solitary point last season and failed to escape Q1 in every qualifying session.

Although without a point in 2020 to date, George Russell and Nicholas Latifi have well and truly put the qualifying headache to bed, with Russell making it into Q2 in both the Styrian and Hungarian grands prix and Latifi joining him in Q2 in Hungary.

Race pace is still a painfully obvious problem for the team, but seeing Williams at least being able to fight is something that likely brought a smile to the faces of many F1 fans.

The 2020 season will be long!

As GPFans understands, the F1 season will now run until December 20 with the traditional Abu Dhabi finale rounding out the season after back-to-back races in Bahrain.

This continues a recent trend in the sport with the season finishing later almost every year, the 2019 season creeping into December for the first time.

Previous rumours had put an end date for the season one week earlier, December 13, but with Imola, Portimao and the Nürburgring added to the calendar and races in Vietnam and Malaysia looking likely, things have been pushed back further.

The current estimation would see a completed calendar of 18-races, something which at one point appeared virtually impossible to comprehend.

Before you go...

Austrian sensor problems caused "lots of sleepless nights" for Mercedes - Allison

Zero positive cases in latest round of F1 Covid-19 testing


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