Nine winning drivers, six victorious teams, half a dozen championship contenders and no way of knowing who would lead the way on any given race weekend. Formula 1's unofficial 'Class B' championship, comprising the seven teams outside the big three that duked it out in the midfield, created a dramatic, if disconnected, subplot during the 2018 season.
Had it been the battle for outright victory, this would have gone down as an all-time classic season, even though 'champion' Nico Hulkenberg clinched the title with a race to spare when you reshape the season with Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull eliminated. For the purposes of this story all results reflect a revised classification for each race disregarding those 'big three' teams, in an era that has an unusually distinct chasm between the lead group and the rest.
While the seven protagonists - Renault, Haas, (Racing Point) Force India, Toro Rosso, McLaren, Sauber and Williams - represent a wide range of team sizes, they had one thing in common. All were in a group that was disconnected from the top three, with an average qualifying deficit of around 1.5 seconds from pole position to the best of our Class B runners.