With the 2016 Formula 1 season around the corner, Rach F1’s Matthew Gannon predicts how the year will pan out. Both the constructors and drivers’ championships have been covered, starting with Mercedes and their driver line-up of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
The stats for the last two years would lead us to believe that 2016 will be another one of Mercedes dominance. The only question is will Ferrari close the gap any further, and I think they will. This year could be the first one which under the current regulations where there will be more than one non-Mercedes pole position.
Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton clearly leads the field heading into 2016 - and by some margin. The momentum, however, is with his team mate Nico Rosberg in the wake of three consecutive victories.
Constructors Championship - 1st.
Mercedes has a large margin to take with them into this season and to lose that is nearly impossible for an outfit as organised and as talented as Mercedes. For this reason it is the view of most fans and insiders that Mercedes will retain their crown, although we'd love to be surprised...
Drivers Championship -
Lewis Hamilton 1st.
The reigning world champion aims to make it three-in-a-row by the close of play this year. The Brit has had huge success since joining Mercedes and in the final year before radical changes to the regulations, the success for Hamilton could be almost assured for one final season.
Nico Rosberg - 4th.
Yes, you heard me correctly, fourth. This is one of the most controversial predictions throughout the grid, however, hear me out. Ferrari are capable of making inroads into the Mercedes advantage and should they do so again this season, expect the mighty Sebastian Vettel to eat up on his countryman and head the charge on Hamilton.
Kimi Raikkonen, who we believe will hang up his gloves at the end of the season, has had two poor seasons since returning to the Scuderia and that won't do well in the Finn's mind. Expect him to bounce back with a bang and really challenge Vettel for top dog and also in the process demote Rosberg to P4.
Also, if Rosberg has the same luck as the previous season, he will really struggle to keep pace with the leading pack of Ferraris and Hamilton.
Pre-season testing showed Ferrari and Mercedes to be almost inseparable, the long runs at Catalunya particularly. While Hamilton is known to have insatiable one lap pace, Rosberg is not as much, despite picking up the pole position trophy in 2014.
While I think Hamilton has had all the experience at the top needed to cope up with a four-way title fight, Rosberg doesn’t. Having lost both title showdowns which have only ever involved identical machinery, I believe he won't exploit his cars advantage enough and Vettel and Raikkonen will pounce.
by Matthew Ganon