Firstpost Pole Position: Previewing 2017 Formula 1 season and predicting Drivers' Championship standings
On the first episode of Firstpost Pole Position, Formula 1 bloggers Kunal Shah and Mithila Mehta preview the upcoming 2017 Formula 1 season, discuss all the rule changes and make their predictions.
On the first episode of Firstpost Pole Position, Formula 1 bloggers Kunal Shah and Mithila Mehta preview the upcoming 2017 Formula 1 season, discuss all the rule changes for this year and make their predictions for which driver will emerge as the winner in the Drivers' Championship after 20 races.
"I think it's going to be a (Lewis) Hamilton-dominated season. This is probably going to be the easiest World title for him, especially after what we have seen in the qualifying of the first race on Saturday," Shah predicted.
While Hamilton definitely is the man to beat, Mehta believes that other teams could pose a strong threat to Mercedes. "At the same time, I think it's going to be a less of a Mercedes-dominated affair than last year. This year, we have seen that Ferrari has a possible resurgence on the cards. In the first qualifying, we have (Sebastian) Vettel on P2. We finally have a battle to look forward to."
Formula 1 swears by the old adage that change is the only constant. In the last decade, there have been four regulation changes over different seasons. "The sport keeps trying to change itself and have a different image of itself. The 2017 cars look really fast," Shah said.
"The cars look very different this year. Even visually, for fans tuning in from last season, there is a lot that has changed. We have a pink car on the grid! So many things that we wouldn't have imagined last year," Mehta said.
Talking about the rest of the driving field, this season promises to be far more exciting in the mid-section as well. "We saw Max Verstappen come and sort of really blow everyone away with his talent. The midfield battle is always interesting and it looks like it's going to be far more tighter this season. I am looking forward to seeing what Haas can do. Romain Grosjean has done a really good job in qualifying as well. There is also immense pressure on Valtteri Bottas. He's been given a one-season contract and Mercedes have been very vocal that he has to prove himself in the first four races. If Bottas doesn't perform the 2018 Mercedes seat is up for grabs," Shah said.
"Last season, against all odds, Verstappen was able to prove himself as a superstar, even though he wasn't the World Champion. This season, when overtaking could be difficult, the one person who we are all going to be looking out for is Verstappen. He could hopefully teach the other drivers a thing or two about how to overtake," Mehta added.
All the myriad changes, everything that we have seen in pre-qualifying and the potential budding rivalries suggest that we are in for a thrilling ride in the 2017 Formula 1 season.
To find out who Mehta and Shah pick as their eventual winners, watch the full video above.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen leads seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton by five points at the top of the drivers' standings.
Verstappen's car, pushed onto the sausage kerb at the Turn One chicane, ended up with its back wheel rolling over the top of his rival's Mercedes, narrowly missing Hamilton's head.
Bottas finished the 18-lap dash 2.325 seconds ahead of Verstappen but will start at the back of the grid on Sunday as he is going to take a new power unit and will receive a penalty for doing so.