Hamilton shines in Hungary (c) Mercedes-Benz

F1 2014 – half-way through

As this year’s F1 season is now one week into its summer break, it means we’ve not got any motorsport action to bring you this Monday.

However, with a few weeks to go until the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa, it’s the perfect time to take stock and reflect on the first half of the season.

We’ll start with Mercedes-Benz, as they’ve been the class of the field so far.

All but two of the 11 races have been won by the Silver Arrows, with only Red Bull and Daniel Ricciardo the man able to beat the Mercs this seasons.

Lewis Hamilton has more wins than Nico Rosberg at five to four. However, two retirements for Hamilton and just one for Rosberg – not to mention more consistent finishes when he didn’t finish on the top step – means he leads the championship by 11 points.

Mercedes domination resumes with one-two (c) Mercedes-Benz

Hamilton has had some bad luck in qualifying over the last few races, with brake failure and an engine fire putting him at the tail end of the grid, but he’s constructed incredible races from there and come through to finish on the podium both times.

It shows he’s hungry for it, and there’s no doubt Rosberg is, too, so it’ll be a fascinating final half of the year and finale to the season to watch as these two greats go head-to-head.

Compared to the last four years, Red Bull has had a disappointing season – it was always going to be with the playing field levelled thanks to the new rules.

However, engine and reliability trouble has plagued this year’s car, with reigning champion Vettel in the doldrums and new boy at the team Daniel Ricciardo already picking up two race victories.

Red Bull returns to winning ways © Red Bull

After a very shaky start, the team bounced back quickly to improve their performance and reliability, but it still doesn’t seem to have the answer to Mercedes’ pace.

Next up, on pure performance, is Williams. With Finn Valtteri Bottas leading the charge and having scored three podiums so far this season, and Massa showing strong pace in the sister car, the Mercedes power unit is undoubtedly helping. But the Williams chassis seems competitive, too, and the two drivers in tune with how to get the best from it.

Williams has jumped a number of big names on the grid, too. Our local boys at McLaren, Ferrari and Lotus have all been poor this season.

Mercedes domination resumes with one-two (c) Ferrari

After Button and Magnussen’s strong start to the season the performance of the McLaren has tailed off, while Raikkonen in the Ferrari has fluctuated between strong performances and disinterested showings.

Alonso in the other Italian car has once again shown the consistency that saw him take two world championships, while the Lotus pairing of Maldonado and Grosjean have hit the barriers or other cars more times than their mechanics will care to remember.

The message so far in 2014 is that the new rules have worked. We’ve seen some great racing and closer than recent years. Merc might still be dominant, with the championship theirs to lose, but it proves there is a place for efficiency in motorsport.

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