The 2017 Formula 1 championship has ended up being more of a one-horse race than anyone could’ve imagined around the mid-season break.
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have produced a brilliant second half of the year to shake off any realistic challengers to the drivers’ or constructors’ world titles.
By the end of September, Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari were no more than specks in the distance on both fronts behind the Briton and his team.
Both trophies have gone the way of Hamilton and Mercedes with two races to spare, raising serious questions about why their Italian rivals capitulated so quickly.
Without taking anything away from the champions, the most likely source of Ferrari’s woes is a combination of driver errors, engineering failures and plain old ill fortunate.
Vettel, Maurizio Arrivabene and his staff must now salvage what little pride is left to be gained from the remaining events in Brazil and Abu Dhabi before looking ahead to 2018.
However, according to a man who’s more familiar than most when it comes to experiencing F1 glory, Ferrari nor Vettel have proven themselves capable of ending next year on top.
NICO ROSBERG PREDICTS THE 2018 CHAMPIONS
Previous world champion Nico Rosberg claims his former employers are simply too far ahead to give the Prancing Horse or their number one driver any hope of stealing either crown.
Speaking to German source T-Online, per the Express, he said: “I do not think Vettel will have a better chance next year.
"This year, the opportunity for him to win the championship was huge, but Mercedes as a whole team is just so strong.
"So I think the gap between them and Ferrari could even get bigger in the coming season.
"But let's see. Even Mercedes has made mistakes, and Sebastian has to hope for more of that and to be there at the right moment.”
IS IT REALLY SO SIMPLE?
It’s certainly a bold claim considering Ferrari have looked to have the edge on particular circuits in 2017.
The SF70H is widely considered to be the fastest in the competition over long stretches, though it’s an advantage Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen have struggled to capitalise on.
Regardless of the perceived gap between themselves and the reigning champions, Ferrari must be pining for a fresh start next year.
Who will win the drivers' and constructors' world titles in 2018? Let us know what you think in the comments!