Plenty changed in Formula One in 2017, but a lot stayed the same too, with Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes each securing championship number four.
The Silver Arrows' quartet have come in sequence - one that was threatened by an overhaul in technical regulations that were expected to bring the likes of Ferrari and Red Bull into the mix.
Indeed, they did. But it was not enough, with Hamilton just outpointing Sebastian Vettel when it mattered most to regain the crown he lost in 2016.
With the dust settling on the 2017 season, Omnisport writer Matt Scott rates the teams, and top six drivers, in the paddock this season.
Mercedes (668 points) - No champion team has ever rode out a set of regulation changes like the Silver Arrows have. The sum of non-Mercedes victories jumped from two last year to eight this, but their greater experience of recent success was too much for Ferrari.
Lewis Hamilton (363 points, 1st) - Not just Britain's premier racer, Hamilton has cemented himself as an all-time great this year. His first error of the season came in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix - when the title had already been secured - but Hamilton has admitted the celebrations have led to him feeling dazed in the closing events of the season, a reminiscent scenario to 2015, when momentum slipped so much to propel Nico Rosberg to the title the following year.
Valtteri Bottas (305 points, 3rd) - The deep trough in the middle of Bottas' season threatened to overshadow his early peaks, but a late-season resurgence leaves him looking like an able deputy to Hamilton again. Improvement will be needed in 2018 to keep his seat, though.
Ferrari (522 points) - The Scuderia could have a strong argument for having the best car on the grid in 2017. Before the meltdown in Singapore, Vettel was pegged by many as favourite for the drivers' title. Reliability will be the keyword at Maranello in 2018.
Sebastian Vettel (317 points, 2nd) - Vettel's re-emergence in the title fight may not be as romantic as Ferrari's, but his battle with Hamilton will be more fondly remembered than the Brit's with Rosberg beforehand. Must surely regret his overly cautious start in Singapore, which wrecked his season, despite remaining steely in his assertions that he did not make an error.
Kimi Raikkonen (205 points, 4th) - Last season, or maybe even the one before that, feels like it would have been the best time for Raikkonen to bow out at the top. Reliability alone leaves him above the Red Bulls, who won races with far inferior machinery as the veteran Finn all too often found himself battling with the pluckier Force India drivers. Robbed of a victory in Monaco, but it says a lot that Ferrari were willing to sacrifice him as early as the sixth race of the year.
Red Bull (368 points) - Once again, Red Bull won the development race over the season, coming from a very lonely third-best to bring the fight to Ferrari and Mercedes by the end of the year. Max Verstappen's win in Malaysia differed to most of Daniel Ricciardo's in that he was the best driver on the grid - no crashes, no flukes...
Daniel Ricciardo (200 points, 5th) - Despite Verstappen's impressive performance in Malaysia and another win in Mexico, Ricciardo still beat his team-mate. The 'shoey' was seen in five successive races from Barcelona to Austria, and the amiable Aussie took to the podium four more times - a personal best of nine. His luck ran out later in the season, though, with three retirements in the last four events.
23 de julio 2018
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