2017 has been one of the best and most exciting seasons in F1 in recent memory.
We saw Hamilton breaking almost every record going, crashes galore and one of the worst downfalls of a team in the title fight. So with it, all now done and dusted it’s time to sit down and reflect o some of the best and worst moments of 2017.
Team of the year: Force India
Team of the year goes to Force India who once again has proved you don’t need a big budget to do big things.
4th is not an easy spot to take in the championship behind the top 3 teams but FI has now done it twice and despite high tensions early on in the year between Ocon and Perez, they eventually got the two under control and reigned them in to secure their best championship standing with time to spare.
Race of the year: Azerbaijan
What a race Baku was, compared to the debut race here last year which was the most boring race of that season, the 2017 race had everything.
There were crashes red flags relationship breakdowns and as many as 5 potential winners.
First, there were 2 red flags caused by crashes and debris in the track, Vettel hit Hamilton under the safety car which gave him a 10-second penalty which should have given Hamilton the win. If it wasn’t for a headrest problem which forced Hamilton to pit and negate Vettel’s penalty as he came out in front.
It then looked as though Massa could win until his rear suspension failed, Verstappen’s engine broke down, Hulkenberg crashed hen it seemed he might finally get a podium. Eventually, Ricciardo took his first win of the season and Stroll took his maiden podium after being beaten to the line by Bottas who had come back from last place to take second after a first lap puncture.
Yes, Baku was certainly a classic race and if we had more like this that would be enough of a promotion for the sport.
Win of the year: Bottas, Abu Dhabi
This was a close one between the rest of Bottas’ wins and Verstappen’s dominant drive in Mexico but in the end, Abu Dhabi won for one particular reason.
You could say Bottas’ first win in Russia deserves this award and your probably right but this one takes the prize because it was the first time Bottas won in a straight fight with Hamilton rather than being on his own for most of the race.
And whilst the dirty air probably kept Hamilton at bay for the most part but he still managed to hold him off fair and square and put himself in a great position going into 2018 with 3 race wins in his debut Mercedes season.
Crash of the year: Vettel-Verstappen-Raikkonen, Singapore
This was again a close one with the bizarre crashes of Button & Wehrlein in Monaco and Vettel & Stroll after the checkered flag in Malaysia.
But again this one wins for one particular reason as it was the start of Ferrari’s downfall and where I believe both Vettel and Ferrari lost their respective championships.
Ater losing out on crucial wins in Spa and Monza Singapore was must-win for the prancing horse and Vettel.
And it took seconds for it all to fall apart as Vettel squeezed Verstappen towards the wall only to get Raikkonen caught up in the action with disastrous results as Verstappen then hit the rear of Raikkonen causing the Finn to lose control and ricochet into Vettel putting all of them out of the race taking Alonso with them who had a fantastic start.
It caused a major blow to both of them and at a track that was Ferrari’s to lose.
Rookie of the year: Stoffel Vandoorne
Reall only two to choose from here but Vandorne for he had a slow start to the year has picked right and had very good performances in what is a pretty terrible car.
With a super performance in Malaysia and a number of 12th places towards the end of the season, with a win worthy car, next year let’s see what he can do.
Disappointment of the year: Mclaren-Honda
Need I say more? What should have been the year Honda finally got it together and became competitive, and after an engine redesign it all went south.
When Honda returned in 2015 we expected they would struggle somewhat, but no one could have imagined the horror that ensued with reliability soo poor and performance soo bad it could’ve been beaten by a Merc going backwards.
And whilst things did improve in 2016 with Mclaren finishing 6th in the standings it all went pear-shaped when Hinda decided to completely overhaul the engine design.
This turned out to be a bad move and was evident from the first pre-season test where they had a problem with the fuel tank needing to be redesigned due to it leaking and any number of other reliability problems. And when they did manage to get a lap in it they were not up to scratch.
And while the reliability had improved in the latter half of the season and the car has had some consistent points finishes, the damage had already been done and with the relationship now over Honda is on it’s last F1 legs and needs to improve massively if it expects to stay on with Toro Rosso or anyone for that matter beyond 2018.
Surprise of the year: Monaco qualifying
Surprise of the season goes to the shock qualifying session that occurred at Monaco this year.
It was Kimi Raikkonen’s first pole position since the 2008 French Grand Prix Sainz got up to 6th alongside Ricciardo, both Mclaren’s (with Button piloting Alonso’s car) got into Q3, Esteban Ocon failed to get out of Q1 and Hamilton failed to get out of Q2 as Vandoorne’s crashed Mclaren brought out yellow flags in sector 3.
It truly was one heck of a qualy set up one of Ferrari’s most dominant races of the season.
Overtake of the year: Ricciardo on Stroll, Massa and Hulkenberg, Azerbaijan
One of the Australians signature dive-bomb moves in the most hectic race of the season. Ricardo saw the opportunity at turn one and went for it.
He would later go on to win the race, his only win of the season, having fended off drivers like Stroll, Massa and Verstappen for the win.
Driver of the year: Lewis Hamilton
And finally we come to the driver of the year for 2017 and this time it’s world champion, Lewis Hamilton.
Before anyone says it, no I am not a fanboy dare I say I’m not even a fan, but you cannot deny that 2017 has been a fantastic and record-breaking year for the Brit.
He’s only the 5th quadruple world champion, the new all-time pole sitter, the most home race wins for a Brit, the most successful Brit and so on and so on.
Whats more no means we go into 2018 with 2 drivers fighting for their fifth world title for the first time in Formula 1 history.
Yes, it has been quite a year for Hamilton and gives him a ton of momentum going into the 2018 season.
Hamilton said he doesn’t know when he will retire but had it been this year he could leave a very happy man.