F1 Season Summer Break Recap: Analysing Winners & Losers

Published 08/06/2021, 10:30 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – British Grand Prix – Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Britain – July 17, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen leads into the first corner at the start of sprint qualifying REUTERS/Peter Cziborra


A week into the F1 summer break, fans have lost their source of entertainment for two weeks. Taking a breather from a beguiling season, teams and their drivers are off resting, having fun, and discussing ways to have an edge over the second half. Crashes, duels, team strategies, we’ve seen it all. After an intense Hungarian GP, things have not been as they once were.

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The Mercedes dominance has been threatened, mid-field battles escalated, new achievements have been made. Looking back at the first half, who has grown, who triumphed, and who stumbled?

Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – August 1, 2021, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas collides with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez Pool via REUTERS/Peter Kohalmi

Emerging Victorious

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A team whose successes have been reliant on one driver, McLaren has still had a pleasant season so far. Lando Norris has taken over the grid, sitting P3 on the driver’s board. Norris has painted the grid orange, bringing in crucial points for the team. So far, the Woking team has had two podiums and shares 163 points with their rivals at Ferrari. Working with a new engine has worked well this season, as the MCL35M has shown incredible pace.

Hoping to secure P3 by the end of the season, McLaren would have to put up a tough fight against Ferrari. While the pace has been good, both McLaren drivers believe it can be better. The Papaya-colored team has had a successful start, but will they maintain it?

Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 4, 2021, McLaren’s Lando Norris during the race REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

Renault‘s rebirth as Alpine has truly turned a new leaf for the team. Bringing back F1 veteran Fernando Alonso has proven to be more beneficial than expected. The team has been making its way through the midfield, fourth-highest in points. The only Renault-powered car on the grid has performed brilliantly in qualifying sessions.

The team saw its first win of the season with Esteban Ocon taking over the Hungarian GP. Ocon and Alonso have pushed the car to its limits. Alpine’s upward trajectory may see them fighting for podium finishes in the second half.

Formula One F1 – British Grand Prix – Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Britain – July 18, 2021, Williams’ George Russell during the race REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

Crawling out from the depths of the board, Williams ended the first half on a high. Scoring double points at the Hungarian GP, the team sits eighth on the constructor’s championship. George Russell‘s performances in qualifying show that the car has some potential for top 10 finishes. After a pointless 2020 season, Williams has bounced back and is ready for more.

Watch this story: F1 Drivers Fighting on Track

F1 defeats so far…

Haas F1 is the only team with 0 points. The American team started their season by welcoming two rookie drivers. Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher who have failed to impress so far, to the frustration of team principal Guenther Steiner. While Haas cannot show pace on the track, their expectations for the season are far from being met.

Red Bull’s financial losses are far from forgotten. The Milton Keynes outfit encountered a lot of damage this season. Chassis upgrades accompanied by numerous crashes have the team questioning the budget cap.

As the team burns through their pockets, the last few races also saw a drop in points. Mercedes has dethroned Red Bull from the board just in time for the summer break. While financial problems loom over their heads, Red Bull will have to come back stronger for the second half.

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Aston Martin was a team to watch out for in F1. They showed immense promise in having Sebastian Vettel behind the wheel, and while Vettel has given the team podiums, things got in the way. The fuel regulations of the FIA resulted in Vettel getting disqualified from the Hungarian GP; costing the team 18 points.

Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 3, 2021 Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll in action during qualifying REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

Although Vettel has been spotted in the top half of the grid, Lance Stroll struggles. As the team struggles to score points, the new team still has a lot to prove.

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The Belgian GP reopens the paddock, it presents fresh opportunities to the teams to do better. As the competition intensifies, there’s no doubt that the second half will be better than the first.

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Shreya Sanjeev

329 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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