The 2024 Formula One season so far

Motorsport Tuesday April 30, 2024 By: Harry Howes

The Formula One season is well and truly underway and not much has changed since last year, with superstar Max Verstappen trouncing the opposition once again. He’s won every race he’s finished so far and has left his rivals with a lot of work to do to stop him.

Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton’s final season for Mercedes hasn’t started as he would have liked. Can he turn things around? Here’s everything you need to know so far from the opening five races of the 2024 F1 season.

F1 standings after five races

1Max VerstappenRed Bull44110
2Sergio PerezRed Bull0485
3Charles LeclercFerrari0276
4Carlos Sainz JrFerrari1369
5Lando NorrisMcLaren0258

After sweeping all before him last year, Verstappen has a fourth consecutive championship in his sights. The Red Bull driver has picked up where he left off, starting every race in pole position and winning four of the opening five contests.

The Belgian-born superstar started in style in Bahrain, winning by 22 seconds and claiming the fastest lap. Stablemate Perez followed up in second while Sainz Jr completed the podium.

Verstappen then won the second race in Saudi Arabia but couldn’t make it three in a row as he was forced to retire in Australia, allowing Sainz Jr to claim his first win of the season. Having reported brake issues after just two laps, Verstappen managed one more lap before a brake failure saw him drop out of the race.

Lewis Hamilton also finished early, dropping out after 15 laps due to a power issue. Leclerc came second in the grand prix down under, while British driver Norris raced home in third.

Not one to let a disappointment affect his next outing, Verstappen bounced back as the championship headed to Asia. He came out on top in both Japan and China to claim four of the opening five races.

Can anyone stop Verstappen?

So, after five races, Verstappen is sitting pretty at the top of the pile, 25 points clear of Perez in second. There’s still a long way to go, with another 19 races scheduled, but at the moment it looks like nobody is going to stop him.

He won the title in 2021, 2022 and 2023 and is on the hunt for his fourth on the trot. Last year, Verstappen won 19 of the 22 races and his strong start to the 2024 season means he’s now won 32 of the last 38. He’ll be looking to continue his fine form as the championship goes to Miami this weekend.

Trio of drivers in Verstappen’s rearview mirror

While Verstappen has got a good head start, there are three drivers in particular that will still very much fancy their chances of toppling him. Sainz Jr won in Australia and has also claimed two other podium spots so far.

The Spaniard sits in fourth at the moment but his performance down under shows he’s got the quality to capitalise when needed. He’s targeting his first F1 title and looking to beat his best ever finish of fifth.

Perez currently sits in second with four podiums so far, including a hat-trick of second-place finishes. He knows Red Bull teammate Verstappen well and will be aware of any of his weaknesses (if he even has any!).

He finished second in the standings last year, winning two of the opening four races, and he’ll be desperate to go one better this time around.

Finally, Leclerc finished fifth last year and currently finds himself third, sandwiched between Perez and Sainz Jr. He came second back in 2022 and is also targeting a maiden title – the Ferrari man is yet to finish lower down than fourth in a Grand Prix this season.

Hamilton outshone by British rivals

Hamilton is targeting a record eighth Formula One title and has previously said he won’t call it a day until he edges past Michael Schumacher in the all-time standings. Yet based on his start to the 2024 season, he may have to wait another year.

He’s in his final year with Mercedes, having agreed to join Ferrari for the 2025 season, but his hopes of a sixth title while representing them are quickly fading. Hamilton was forced to retire in Australia and in the other four races, his best finish was seventh in the opener in Bahrain.

The 39-year-old has finished ninth in each of the other three and has been outshone by his rival drivers from the UK. He currently sits below both Norris and Russell in the standings, who have beaten him in every grand prix so far. Once the shining light of British racing, Hamilton has a lot to do if he wants to turn things around this season.

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