The 2014 Formula One season is now 11 races old as the teams wrap up for their mid-season break before returning to action for the Belgium Grand Prix in late August.
What a fantastic season it has been so far. The new regulations created a fresh start for all teams and it has served up some wonderful racing since commencing back in March.
This year has been dominated by the battle at Mercedes for the drivers' championship. It has been a truly compelling duel between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. 'Friends' or 'former friends', either way their competition has been fierce and competitive.
With eight races remaining, it is the German who has the advantage with a 11-point lead of the championship. Rosberg has six pole positions to Hamilton's four, while it is the Brit who leads the way with race victories on five to four.
Rosberg's consistency has made the difference and is what puts him ahead at this moment. A sole retirement as opposed to Hamilton's two and Lewis, unlike Nico has made hard work of this season at times with some mistakes.
Also he has experienced some misfortune which cannot be helped, so with taking everything into account, Hamilton will be pleased to be as close as he is to Rosberg as it could have been far worse.
As for Nico, I feel his ability this year up against Hamilton has been underestimated. Everyone seemed to feel that in this situation and the dominance the Mercedes team have had, it would be Lewis' championship for the taking. But Rosberg has proved his worth.
Rosberg is younger than Hamilton by seven months which is often forgotten because he has been around for so long. He has had a season more than Hamilton in Formula One but because he has never had a race-winning drive before his ability has therefore been undervalued. But I think everyone realises what a top driver he is now.
Despite that, if Hamilton does manage to find consistency over the last eighth races he would expect to achieve his second world championship, but as other teams continue to develop their cars Mercedes may not have it all their own way again.
What has been an unfamiliar sight for the 2014 season is that four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has not been winning races. The German's dominance last year was insane with nine straight race victories alongside his four others.
But this season he has been beaten by his new team mate, Australian Daniel Rcciardo. Vettel trails Ricciardo five to six in qualifying results and has only bettered his race result on one occasion. That has led to him being behind his team mate by 43-points. Vettel is sixth in the standings and has not driven like he is capable of.
Hopefully in the second half of the season we can see a rejuvenated Vettel as I firmly believe that this is just an adjustment which is taking longer than it should do rather than any long-term implication of Vettel's quality.
However, the emergence of Ricciardo and just how well he has done has made it look far worse for Vettel. Daniel has arguably been the driver of the season so far with the way he has adapted to his new car and driven with no fear. His two race wins are no more than he deserves and he looks set to have a huge future in the sport.
His overtaking moves have been brave and well executed, performing big moves late on in races under pressure. He has shown that he can defend when the car is not as fast as he would like and he has displayed amazing tyre control at times. He seems to have it all and is a wonderful personality for the sport.
There has been no drivers or constructors title now for Ferrari since 2008 and this season has continued to be a disappointment. Their under-performance resulted in Stefano Domenicali stepping down from his role and Marco Mattiacci coming in.
They have struggled to third place in the constructors' championship, and are narrowly ahead of the Williams team, but that is thanks to the miracles of Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard has contributed 115 of the teams 142 points as Kimi Raikkonen has endured a tough return to his his former team.
But fortunately, Alonso has taken the team by the scruff of the neck and dragged them to where they are. He is pushing the car to its limits and has managed to score points at every round. He deserves a lot more for his efforts and most certainly a car which can allow him to win more world titles. But Ferrari will look to become more competitive and hope to be winning races again next year.
Williams looking to take advantage
If Raikkonen cannot find a way to score points more regularly for the second half of the season then his fellow Finn in the Williams team, Valtteri Bottas may force his Williams ahead of Ferrari. They are only seven points behind and with the Mercedes powered engine have been enjoying a competitive season.
Bottas has been an absolute star and has out driven his experienced team mate Felipe Massa. Bottas' three podium results have been greatly deserved and he has shown glimpses of real class this year.
McLaren V Force India
McLaren are another iconic team like Ferrari struggling to reach the levels expected. They currently find themselves stuck in a battle with Force India in the constructors championship- and are behind. Their line-up of Jenson Button and rookie Kevin Magnussen appears to be lacking a bit of bite. They have rarely made any headlines this year but perhaps the car's performance is just too weak.
Meanwhile the Force India team will be happy with their performance but they have even threatened to be more dangerous with their exciting driver line-up of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenburg who are two top talents.
First ever points
One of the best moments of the season so far was Marussia's first ever point-scoring race in Monaco. Jules Bianchi secured them and what a driver he appears to be. He is part of the Ferrari academy and looks like he could go all the way.
A few teams have not provided the performance they may have hoped for this year. Sauber have yet to score a point and Lotus, who were regular podium finishers in 2013, have just eight points themselves. Caterham are still struggling to make much ground up on the midfield but that is not a great surprise.
There must be a mention for Daniil Kvyat, the 20-year-old Russian driver who became Formula One's youngest ever point-scorer this season with the Toro Rosso team.
Everyone will now enjoy their break before returning to action and it will be interesting to see how the season develops and if any major improvements can be made to the cars. We also have on our hands one of the most exciting title races in years and after all their hard work it may of course all be decided on the double points final race in Abu Dhabi.
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