This coming weekend, F1 returns after a month-long summer break. With nine more races to go, and the Championship far from over, the teams would be all buckled up now for a fight to the finish.
Sebastien Vettel leads the Drivers' Championship, with Kimi Raikkonen trailing him by 38 and Fernando Alonso a further point behind the Finn. Lewis Hamilton, with 124, is nine points behind in 4th. And, although F1 is a tricky sport, the battle will most certainly be amongst these four former champions.
The Constructors' Championship seems less interesting though, where Red Bull seem to be running away with the lead, a massive 69 points ahead of Mercedes. The second position, though, could be interesting; with Lotus and Ferrari fighting tooth and nail.
Here's an analysis of the Top 6 teams:
Red Bull (Sebastien Vettel + Mark Webber): 277 points
The three-time reigning champions have had a good season thus far, winning 4 races. Although they had some tyre degradation issues early in the season, they were soon rectified and RBR were back at the top.
With Vettel cushioned by a healthy advantage to lay back on, and Webber hoping for one last hurrah in his final season, the team have two of the best drivers on the grid.
And although the tension between their drivers (particularly after Malaysia) has been high, it has not harmed the team gravely. If they can keep their mechanical failures in check (Britain and China), they look destined for a fourth consecutive year as champions.
Mercedes (Lewis Hamilton + Nico Rosberg): 208 points
Although they've had a very interesting and progressive season so far, tyre degradation and mechanical issues have restricted them to only second in the championship. They have dominated Friday's and Saturday's with their stellar pace, but struggled under hot racing conditions. With Paddy Love appointed their new Technical Director, they have added a new dimension to their strengths.
Hamilton and Rosberg have set alight the track consistently, winning three races and securing seven pole positions. Although Rosberg has struggled due to mechanical issues, with two DNFs, the team are doing well compared to last year's dismal run.
Although Hamilton has not been very confident about the car's ability, the overall morale in the team is great. After Hungary, their tyre issues might be history, and they could be the biggest threat to RBR.
Ferrari (Fernando Alonso + Felipe Massa): 194 points
The season started positively for Ferrari, with the car seemingly competitive and strong. Felipe Massa looked like he was back to his best, and the fans were happy. But the feeling gradually turned sour with Ferrari failing to keep up with Red Bull's progress. Massa, went back into his cocoon, and seems distant again.
Some great driving by the Spaniard, sees him at 3rd in the Championship, but his frustration is showing. Public outbursts by Alonso regarding the car's slow development, and the consequential rebuke, have further strained the atmosphere.
Scuderria have promised to deliver a winning car, and seem set to work on that. Having acquired James Allison from Lotus, to the Technical Department, the team would be hoping to reclaim their lost glory.
Lotus (Kimi Raikkonen + Romain Grosjean): 183 points
The season started very well for the team, with Raikkonen winning the season opener. The E21 has been good on it's tyres, while the opposition have struggled. The resurgent F1 team, have reinstated themselves as a big boy team, ahead of the midfield; and seem the team that can disrupt the Championship the most.
In Raikkonen, they have, arguably, the best driver on track today. His partner Grosjean, walks a thin line between brilliance (Germany, Bahrain and Hungary) and poor (Spain, Monaco).
Their biggest challenge, would be to start winning consistently; the Iceman has been on the second step of the podium 5 times already. Another dimension for improvement is their Qualifying. While Romain has dominated the tracks on Fridays, he's failed to start from the front. Kimi has performed rather poorly, in Qualifying, and needs to improve considerably if he aims to overtake Vettel. They also need to ensure they do not repeat disastrous strategy goof ups like they did with Kimi in Britain.
The team might have lost Technical Director James Allison to Ferrari, but are still on an upward slope with strong performances in Germany and Hungary. They have a very strong car, and very able drivers, and in Eric Boullier a very smart tactician.
Force India (Paul Di Resta + Adrian Sutil): 59 points
The team are having another strong season, constantly breaking into the points and taking the fight to the Big Boys. Despite their limited resources, the team has produced competitive cars and, this year's VJM06 is no different.
Scoring points in 7 of the first 10 races, would have given them immense confidence, particularly DiResta's 4th place finish in Bahrain and Sutil's 5th in Monaco. Bouncing back from technical issues in Malaysia and China, the team have displayed strong pace and tactics, staying ahead of McLaren in the process.
After Germany and Hungary's poor performance though, the team need to pull up their socks, and regather their resources, to keep a resurgent McLaren behind them.
McLaren (Jenson Button + Sergio Perez): 57 points
This would be one season that they'd like to forget soon. Having already shifted their focus on the 2014 car, the team are simple counting down the days. They've had ten consecutive podium-free races for the first time since 2004; and in Canada and Britain both drivers failed to score points, a record run of 63 races ended.
Trying an evolutionary approach for the MP4-26 in the hope that a new design would give them more development potential, the team has failed to cash in on the gamble, restricted to the midfield for the most part.
Although the situation seemed to be improving in Germany and Hungary, the team are too far off in the Championship. Button and Perez have had a few clashes on track, that have started waves, but the team is tight and with the new aero package, they seem on track.
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