Who we should be watching in 2018

It’s that time of year again.

Well done for making it through the four-month Formula 1 off-season. Congratulations for surviving the lack on-track action. Now, the fun and games really do kickstart again as the F1 circus rolls into Melbourne for the first race of the 2018 championship. While the front runners are perhaps predicable, there’s still a dozen drivers out there that deserved to be focused on. And there’s a few big names who should be watched more closely too!

Charles Leclerc

This young man dominated the motorsport headlines last year when he continuously cruised to victories and podiums in his 2017 F2 campaign. Unsurprisingly, he ran away with the championship title.

Perhaps then it was no shock that the Monégasque driver landed a 2018 seat at Sauber. Yes, it isn’t the best seat on the grid. Nonetheless, the 20-year-old will get plenty of opportunities to showcase his talent as he fights for (possibly) the last remaining points. And if that isn’t possible this year, then as long as he continues to drive with maturity, he’ll be sure to continue on his path to a Ferrari drive in the future.

Valtteri Bottas

Since being promoted to Mercedes last year, Bottas has received unprecedented amounts of attention. No wonder; Lewis Hamilton is his team-mate.

2017 proved vital in winning over the sceptics – Bottas secured race wins and pole positions to enable a third place finish in the driver’s championship. In 2018 he is one to watch after a successful testing campaign and, well, Mercedes power.

Daniel Ricciardo

The Australian all-smiling driver is more prepared and more determined than ever for his first championship title. He’s had a couple of frustrating moments since he joined Red Bull Racing in time for the 2014 season. He’s always been tipped as a future world champion by the F1 pundits and ex-F1 drivers. So this year is the perfect time to show case that…if he can keep his team-mate Max Verstappen obey. Let’s see how many of those daring overtakes Ricciardo can pull off this season.

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Lance Stroll

His first year in F1 produced a mixture of results. He seemed to struggle in the first half of the season and a series of crashes hindered his progress further. But then came Baku (and who can forget that). Stroll scored his maiden F1 podium after putting in a drive of a lifetime. From that, the Canadian bounced back and had a more successful campaign from then on in. Williams have come under fire recently for becoming a ‘pay driver’ team, but that doesn’t mean that their boys can’t prove the fans and media otherwise. Time will tell.

Lewis Hamilton

The question on everybody’s lips is: can he do it again? Can Hamilton become on of the most decorated Formula 1 drivers in history by claiming his fifth championship title? Mercedes certainly look to have a strong car for the 2018 season and the people at the top of the team are insisting that their gap to their rivals (Ferrari and Red Bull) will be greater than last year.

Hamilton had the most wins out of all of the drivers in the field last year, and has been preparing for the upcoming season with seemingly never ending training sessions. He seems hungry for more on the surface, but only time will tell. Let’s hope that reliability won’t be an issue.

Fernando Alonso

The Veteran on the grid, the godfather, the…you get the gist. Alonso has been promising of success at McLaren for as long as, well, forever. Maybe, if the McLaren army shout loud enough, the team will be able to perform just how McLaren should. One thing will never change though, and that is Alonso’ ability to drive a car well. He’s smart, cunning and calculated. Like a villain of a comic book, except almost everyone likes him. And it’s hard not to when you watch him drive the way he does. Besides, if he is going to retire at the end of the season, like the gossip suggests, he’ll want to go out on a high.

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