2017 SEASON ROUND-UP
The 2017 Top Three Championship season is over, but before we turn off the lights and move into the long winter break here are some facts and figures about the season, the championship, and the teammate pairings that fought for championship glory in 2017. THE INDIVIDUAL CHAMPION
TypingChicane is the 2017 Individual Champion of the Top Three Championship, the fourth different champion to be crowned in the competition's five seasons. A rookie last year, TypingChicane is also the most improved contestant of 2017 - last year, our title winner was 14th, finishing almost 40 points off 2016 champion robins13 in the final count. TypingChicane is also the third Individual Champion to not have a team: CarlPotter won the inaugural season before the team system was instituted, and GPG claimed the title in 2014 without a team before switching mid-season to No Limit Excedrin Racing for his second championship.
Interestingly, with 5 wins and only a single Perfect Podium on the season, TypingChicane is not the most successful in any category except for the all important one. Runner-up mcdo, as well as TheDamus, Exediron and Bentrovato, all have more Perfect Podiums with two, and five contestants have more wins, including Icemanjee1 who claimed the most victories this year with an impressive eight. TypingChicane won the title by consistency more than anything else, scoring points in fifteen of the twenty rounds, compared to fourteen for mcdo and twelve for TheDamus. The decisive moment of the championship was arguably Mexico, where TypingChicane was the only contestant to score: those five points made the difference in the end, demonstrating that sometimes taking a risk can pay off massively when the order is slightly less predictable. THE TEAM CHAMPIONS
Jalopy Racing won the 2017 Team Championship, and are the fourth different team champions in four seasons: no team has yet to achieve the coveted repeat title, with No Limit Excedrin Racing coming the closest to having achieved that fate by finishing second this year. Much like our individual title-winner, Jalopy Racing is the most improved team of the year, having risen from the ashes of Lucky 13 Racing, a team that placed eighth out of nine last year.
Jalopy Racing is the first championship team to win the title without one of its drivers in the top three of the individual standings, and all three of the teams immediately behind them in the standings had more wins. However, Jalopy Racing was the only team to have both of its drivers score a Perfect Podium, and that was characteristic of their formula for success: no other pairing on the grid came close to matching each other for results as well as the JR drivers.
And this brings us neatly on to...TEAMMATE HEAD-TO-HEADS
Because as everyone knows, the first person you have to beat is your teammate, right? Well, maybe not if you're gunning for the team title, but it is still a badge of pride for those who missed out on championship glory. Eight teams contested the 2017 season in the Top Three Championship, and in all but one of them one of the two teammates took home the significantly larger share of the points haul:Jalopy Racing - Herb vs. Jezza13Individual position:
7th vs 9th | Wins:
4 vs 4 | Points:
70 vs 65 | Higher scorer:
5 vs 5
The most balanced pairing on the grid, Herb and Jezza13 are also the only teammates to have both made the top ten in the individual standings: the two positions separating them are by far the fewest for any teammates. Interestingly, the Jalopy Racing teammates never won in the same round, indicating that a strategy of splitting picks may have been key to their victory.
While Herb was a top three competitor last year in the individual standings, the success of the team is arguably owed to the huge improvement by nominal number two driver Jezza13, who went from fifteenth last year to ninth in this winning season. In terms of point percentage, the only real F1 pairing as close is the Williams duo of Massa and Stroll. We'll leave it to the Jalopy Racing teammates to determine which of them is Stroll. No Limit Excedrin Racing - Exediron vs Jenson's UndersteerIndividual position:
5th vs 11th | Wins:
6 vs 3 | Points:
71 vs 59 | Higher scorer:
6 vs 4
The only prior season championship team remaining on the grid, both No Limit drivers have won the team championship before, Exediron in 2015 with NLER and Jenson's Understeer in the inaugural season with the now-defunct Force Indian Takeaway. Expectations were high for this 'super team' of former champions, with many pundits predicting that the two would sweep the team championship while battling for the individual title as well.
Things didn't exactly go to plan, and while both drivers were competitive at times, Jenson's Understeer will surely be feeling disappointed in himself after having been solidly shaded by his more entrenched teammate. Exediron himself suffered his lowest finish to date of fifth in the individual standings. This pairing is similar in terms of points percentage to the Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Bottas.Sand Bag'n - Mayhem vs robins13Individual position:
10th vs 14th | Wins:
4 vs 2 | Points:
61 vs 50 | Higher scorer:
6 vs 5
One of the most surprising story lines of the 2017 season was surely the near-complete absence of last year's dominant champion robins13 from the title fight, and having more than doubled the score of his teammate in 2016 surely no one would have tapped him to lose his teammate battle either, even to an established competitor like Mayhem.
The defending champion began the season in terrible form, scoring no points in six of the first nine races, and remaining dead last in the standings until after the halfway point of the season. Once his form began to pick up around the German GP he began to outscore his teammate, but it was too late: Mayhem wins the teammate battle in every category, albeit not by a very large margin. In terms of point percentage this pairing is also similar to the Mercedes duo, albeit with the favored driver not emerging on top unlike the real-life pairing. Bernie's Bwoah - Icemanjee1 vs cm97Individual position:
4th vs 12th | Wins:
8 vs 2 | Points:
72 vs 57 | Higher scorer:
9 vs 4
The newly re-branded Bernie's Bwoah team - which is a new name for the original team Multi21, with the same two drivers - was widely expected to be one of the key title protagonists this year, having already claimed second in the championship twice under their original name, and they didn't disappoint on that front. Coming into the season, lead driver cm97 had never finished outside the top seven in the individual standings, and was expected to spearhead the charge to the title.
For whatever reason, that didn't happen. Icemanjee1 - despite having never finished ahead of his more successful teammate over a season before - proceeded to dominate cm97 in nearly all categories, including taking four times as many wins with eight, the most of any competitor. Was this a breakout season for the Iceman, or merely a temporary slump for cm97? Only time will tell, but if both can operate at their highest level they will surely be a threat next year. In terms of point percentage, this pairing most closely resembles the McLaren duo of Alonso and Vandoorne. Mind Your Manors - Black_Flag_11 vs Fountoukos13Individual position:
8th vs 13th | Wins:
6 vs 4 | Points:
68 vs 50 | Higher scorer:
6 vs 3
The defending champions of 2016 had gone through several name changes in their history, starting life as the GloboGym Purple Cobras, but they kept their title-winning name and lineup for 2017, and would surely have been hoping for more of the same in the standings as well.
It didn't quite materialize: both drivers slipped back from their 2016 positions, but it was certainly lead driver Black_Flag_11 who slipped back the most, having been a title challenger the year before and finishing second in the individual standings. Despite his slump in form, Black_Flag_11 was still able to fairly comfortably see off his teammate for another season, winning the teammate battle by a point percentage similar to the Haas duo of Grosjean and Magnussen. Unlike Grosjean, Black_Flag_11 does appear to actually be able to make his brakes work from time to time. McLotus - mcdo vs Lotus49Individual position:
2nd vs 15th | Wins:
4 vs 4 | Points:
79 vs 48 | Higher scorer:
9 vs 6
The story of the McLotus pairing was largely one of consistency: mcdo had it, and Lotus49 did not. Both drivers took home the same number of wins with four, but Lotus49's season was peppered with too many non-scores (as well as a late DNS) to put up any real challenge against his teammate.
There was a certain sort of undesirable symmetry to the pairing, with mcdo finishing second highest in the individual standings and Lotus49 finishing second lowest of those who contested the whole season. With the announcement that McLotus is breaking apart after three seasons of near-misses, Lotus49 will surely be hoping to find some more competitive form against his new teammate for 2018. In terms of points percentage, the McLotus pair most closely resembles the real-life scoring form of the Ferrari pairing of Vettel and Raikkonen. Drive Sauber - TheDamus vs RemmirathIndividual position:
3rd vs 16th | Wins:
6 vs 1 | Points:
75 vs 42 | Higher scorer:
10 vs 3
Formed from the ashes of Crash & Learn, Drive Sauber did not have the easiest of seasons: while the team finished in 6th place both last season and this, the loss of this year's individual champion TypingChicane from the roster must look like a mistake in retrospect, and remaining driver Remmirath scored only slightly more than half as many points as last season.
With new hire TheDamus - brought in to replace the departing TypingChicane - on strong form, this slump of form by Remmirath led to a rather one-sided match-up, highlighted in particular by the wins column. Both drivers will no doubt be keen to put this season behind themselves and look to a more competitive 2018, but especially Remmirath. This pairing is most similar to Ferrari in terms of point percentage. Massa Attack - Bentrovato vs theferretIndividual position:
6th vs 17th | Wins:
4 vs 2 | Points:
70 vs 39 | Higher scorer:
5 vs 4
The ill-fated Massa Attack team is really a story of what could have been: while the points total is the most lopsided of the grid, it wasn't always so - up until Italy where he suddenly vanished from the face of the competition, theferret had been providing fairly consistent scoring, albeit still in the shadow of his more successful teammate.
As of theferret's last race, the head-to-head was 5-4 in higher scores and 2-2 in wins. It would have been a big ask for theferret to score enough to claim the team championship - but it was potentially achievable, since Massa Attack's lead driver actually finished ahead of Jalopy Racing's in the standings. The point percentage isn't a very accurate impression of how this teammate pairing could have turned out, had they both run the full season together. ---That's it, folks! Have a good winter break, everyone, and let's make next season an even better championship!
(Yikes, that's bigger than I thought it was going to be!