David Coulthard’s view on the greatest drives and disappointments of the past year: part 2 of the pundits’ verdicts on the 2019 F1 season
Photo: Motorsport Images
The second instalment of our expert reviews of this year’s Formula 1 season, brings David Coulthard’s verdict on the most impressive drivers, the greatest performances and the letdowns of 2019.
The former Williams, McLaren and Red Bull Formula 1 driver currently commentates for Channel 4 and brings his insight from a long year following the 21-race calendar. Here’s are his thoughts on the season just passed.
More expert verdicts on the 2019 F1 season
Your overriding memory of 2019?
Red Bull winning with Honda. I didn’t expect the reliability improvement so quickly, and I have to believe that this will significantly influence their future involvement in F1.
The greatest performance of the season?
There are a few stand outs: Charles Leclerc’s performance relative to Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton’s calm and consistent dominance, Max Verstappen’s continued development and ability to not be intimidated by anyone.
The greatest race?
Germany or Brazil for action reasons.
(Ed – the German GP was a wet/dry race that caused havoc with the pecking order. While Verstappen won, Vettel finished second – after starting from the back of the grid – and Daniil Kyvat took his first podium. Brazil was a dry race, but with multiple safety cars, and the Ferraris taking each other out, Verstappen won from Pierre Gasly and Carlos Sainz).
The most underwhelming driver?
I had high hopes for Pierre Gasly, but it was painful to watch his difficulties at Red Bull. I was relieved to see that being back in a Toro Roso allowed him to shine again, maybe he suffers from the Heinz-Harald Frentzen syndrome: fantastic in a mid-grid car, but can’t shine under the spotlight of expectations?
Sebastian’s struggles were confusing, but let’s see if he can bounce back in 2020. Haas drivers were largely anonymous other than when complaining on the radio. I was surprised by Robert Kubica’s lack of pace, he always talked as if there was something known costing the time but, as far as I know, he never shared that with us.
The most underwhelming team?
Williams had a horror story of a year, but we all believe that history will be their guiding light back to form. Haas struggled, but it was open with us all in terms of what the problem was, rather than trying to hide behind something, so credit where its due. Renault must be concerned, 2020 could be make or break.
Will 2020 be make or break for Renault Photo: Motorsport Images
Three words to describe champion Lewis Hamilton?
Consistently fast, class.
If I was in charge at Williams I would…
Start with the design office, as clearly the engine and gearbox perform well in other cars.
What are your thoughts on Formula 1’s new owners?
So far so good, proof will be in whether growth is achieved beyond new tracks. Ultimately that will be measured in revenue not engagement!
What do you make of the 2021 regulations?
I never worried about regs when I was a driver as I had little influence or understanding. I think allowing another tyre competitor in would achieve the week-to-week shake up in the grid, though.
Who was the bright young star for you this season?
In terms of F1 race experience or lack thereof, Charles Leclerc moved the dial.
Who will win the championship next season?
Safe money is Mercedes, but clearly Ferrari and Red Bull are an upgrade away from giving them a run for their money.