The top 10 Formula 1 stories of the 2018 season

Scott Mitchell
Autosport
The top 10 F1 stories of 2018
The top 10 F1 stories of 2018

The 2018 Formula 1 season was packed with a bumper mix of stories and sub-plots that centred on an explosive driver market and technical intrigue.

As Mercedes and Ferrari went head-to-head for both titles, off-track there was a driver merry-go-round of a scale rarely seen before that ended with only two teams confirming the same line-up for 2019 as they had this season.

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Here's our run-through of the top 10 stories that captured your interest in 2018.

10. Mercedes suffers 'setback' with 2019 engine

A late entry into our top 10. Mercedes wrapped up a fifth consecutive F1 title double in 2018, and unsurprisingly those keen to see an end to that domination had their eyes opened by the news, via team principal Toto Wolff, that Mercedes' ambitious targets for 2019 in the wake of increased pressure from its rivals had been hit by a small setback.

9. Alonso isn't bluffing about F1 return plan - Button

Not everyone believed Fernando Alonso when he announced that he was stepping back from F1 for good at the end of the 2018 season. Surely such a fierce competitor would be open to coming back in the future... Former team-mate Jenson Button said that Alonso would be back in a flash if he could get a competitive car.

The top 10 F1 stories of 2018
The top 10 F1 stories of 2018

8. Ferrari ready to replace Raikkonen with Leclerc

Word got out as early as June that Ferrari was highly likely to promote Charles Leclerc at Kimi Raikkonen's expense, this being the wish of company president Sergio Marchionne. But Marchionne's downturn in health and sudden death in late summer meant a final decision was ultimately delayed by several months.

7. What's behind Ricciardo's Renault switch?

Daniel Ricciardo rocked the F1 driver market during the summer break by unexpectedly rejecting a Red Bull contract offer and switching to Renault for 2019. Autosport's seasoned Formula 1 reporters got together on camera to dissect the reasons behind the Australian's extraordinary decision.

6. Vettel sad 'zero bull****' Raikkonen leaving

When news broke that Kimi Raikkonen would finally be leaving Ferrari, making way for the highly rated Charles Leclerc, Sebastian Vettel paid tribute. Vettel described Raikkonen as the best team-mate he has ever worked with in Formula 1. "It's sad to know that Kimi is not there any more," he added.

5. Rivals want 'magic' Haas-Ferrari investigated

As soon as it became clear at the Australian GP that Haas had a quick car for 2018, the team came under fire for its close links to Ferrari. Haas is unique in the way it competes, relying on the technical partnership for key components, but midfield rivals believed the US-owned team's car had too much in common with the SF71H.

4. The hidden change that transformed Mercedes

Following an unexpected victory for Lewis Hamilton in the Singapore Grand Prix, a bogey race for Mercedes, Giorgio Piola's exclusive photographs revealed a key change Mercedes had made to its wheel drums. Tying in with a detail change to the wheelrim design and mounting, this provoked much intrigue.

The top 10 F1 stories of 2018
The top 10 F1 stories of 2018

3. Kubica agrees 2019 Williams race deal

Robert Kubica's remarkable return to an F1 race seat - nearly eight years after his life-changing rally accident - became a reality ahead of the Abu Dhabi GP. Autosport broke the story a day in advance of the official announcement that the popular and talented Pole would partner George Russell in 2019.

2. Vettel defends Hamilton's Verstappen remark

On seeing a replay of his collision with Max Verstappen in the Bahrain Grand Prix before the podium ceremony, Lewis Hamilton was heard describing the Red Bull driver as "a dickhead". Naturally this led to a cross-examination during the press conference, prompting title rival Sebastian Vettel to jump to Hamilton's defence.

1. Ferrari ordered to stop using camera cooling bag

Ferrari created intrigue during the middle of the season when it was observed placing a bag over its rollhoop onboard camera before track sessions - including on the grid. The team claimed it was a cooling bag for the camera electronics, but the explanation didn't wash with the FIA, which ordered the practice to stop.

The top 10 F1 stories of 2018
The top 10 F1 stories of 2018

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