The Formula One World Driver’s Championship is a prestigious award given by the FIA to the most successful driver of the season, as determined by their individual Grand Prix results. Points are given according to finish, with 25 points awarded for first place, 18 points for second place, 15 points for third place, and so on.
Hamilton Already Way Ahead
Lewis Hamilton looks set to take the award once again this year as he pulls clear of competition at the top of the table. If he does pick up the Driver’s Championship, it will be his sixth of all time. Only Michael Schumacher has won more, with seven titles.
Hamilton currently has 268 points, 65 points clear of Valtteri Bottas, who himself has 208 points. The pair sit firmly at the top, a clear demonstration of Mercedes’ increased dominance this season. When it comes to points totals for teams, Mercedes have 471 points, while Ferrari have 326 and Red Bull have 254 points.
Outside of Mercedes’ dominance, it’s actually a fairly close battle for third place. Max Verstappen of Red Bull is a current favourite with Mercedes excluded. He is in third place with 181 points. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc trail with 169 and 157 points, respectfully. This puts them both close to 100 points behind Hamilton, which at this stage will be difficult to pull back.
The story hasn’t changed much since last season, when Hamilton won the Driver’s Championship with 408 points, way ahead of Vettel’s 320 points. Mercedes rules, followed by Ferrari, with teams like Williams way down the list despite them setting maritime speed records.
Charles Leclerc Improves With Ferrari
The most significant improvement comes from Charles Leclerc, who’s promotion to Ferrari has given him the vehicle and team that he needs to shine among the greats. Last year Leclerc scored only 39 points throughout the entire season, but given the upgrade he is now starting to realise his potential and has scored 157 points so far with Ferrari.
LeClerc won the first-ever F1 Grand Prix of his career at Spa in Belgium, albeit in tragic circumstances following the death of F2 driver Anthoine Hubert. LeClerc added 25 points to his Driver’s Championship tally to move up the ranks and get within reach of teammate Vettel.
Hamilton still managed a second-place podium finish at the Belgium event, picking up 18 points and adding them to his lead over rivals. Bottas came third place in the race, while Vettel only managed fourth place and Verstappen failed to finish following a crash.
Season Far From Over
Of course, the season is far from over. There are 21 Grand Prix events on the calendar and so far only 13 have already been raced. Yet it’s undeniable than Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton have taken a strong enough lead to say that he is on for the Championship once again.
With 8 races left, any other driver will have an extremely tough time catching him up. Anyone looking for a bet or an exciting close call should focus on who would win the Driver’s Championship if Mercedes weren’t involved. It’s a close and thrilling battle for points between Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc.
Indeed, second place is all to play for too, with Bottas’ lead over Verstappen and others all but secure. Although there can only be one winner overall, prestige is still on the line for those who one day want to challenge the reign of Mercedes, a multi-season dominance that many fans are starting to get tired of.
Next up on the schedule is the Italian Grand Prix, followed then by the Singapore Grand Prix. Ferrari are thought to have the edge on home ground in Italy and will be aiming to pull off back-to-back wins to come back from their dry spell in style. Engine upgrades leave Vettel at the back of the grid, but Ferrari should have the power to perform at Monza, the straight-line course allowing them to get ahead on speed.
Overall though, Hamilton will be looking for a top place finish and a chance to add more points to his tally. He remains the strong favourite to win the Driver’s Championship 2019.