2020 has been a bit of mad thing, for obvious reasons, and given that we didn’t even know if we would get a season going this year it has proved to be one of the best seasons in recent memory with numerous records broken and achievements a plenty lets take a look back at some of the best (and worst) moments from this crazy season.
Race of the year: Austria
This could have gone to many races given the belter of a season we had but for me Austria was particularly special. Firstly it was the opening round of a season we didn’t think would happen and offered a refreshing start to a season being at a different track to what we normally start the season with and being a double header, something many F1 fans have never experienced. Secondly (and yes I am a bit biased) it was an astonishing performance from young Mclaren driver Lando Norris (who I am older than by 5 months, so….. yeah) with the Brit getting his maiden podium after Hamilton was handed a 5 second penalty and fastest lap to finish the race in style.
Aside form that it was a belter of a race with multiple retirements and battles throughout the field, it gave us a glimpse into what kind of season we were in for and boy were we ready.
Honorable mentions: 70th Anniversary, Italy (Monza), Tuscany, Turkey, Sakhir.
Driver of the year: Lewis Hamilton
Yes I know, I know he has the best F1 car ever made and has been the dominant force in F1 for 7 years now but you can not deny what Hamilton has achieved this year. He is now a 7-time world champion and has the most podiums, pole positions and race victories, as the great Michael Schumacher said records are there to be broken and Hamilton has certainly done that. Not only that but fueled by the death of George Floyd he pushed Formula 1 to start an initiative to raise issues of equality and diversity not only in the sport but in society as a whole. And top it all off he has now been knighted in the 2021 new years honors.
Some stand out performances this year are: Silverstone where Hamilton held off Verstappen to take victory despite being on 3 wheels after suffering a puncture and Turkey where Hamilton flew through the field from 10th to take the race win and secure his 7th world title.
Honorable mentions: Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly, Lance Stroll, Max Verstappen, Nico Hulkenberg.
Win of the year: Gasly – Italy
There were two main candidates for this award and both have an equal claim to it. But for me the winner has to be Pierre Gasly’s maiden victory at the Italian GP. I will however give a mention to second place which is Sergio Perez at Sakhir, after both Mercedes cars hit problems the Mexican fought through the field to take his maiden victory from last place and pretty much secure his seat at Red Bull for 2021. As well as breaking the record for most races before taking a race win.
But what made Gasly’s victory special was the redemption story that it concluded. After Gasly was demoted from the senior Red Bull team for mot matching Verstappen (a story that has repeated itself with Albon) he was able to remain with the Torro Rosso outfit as they became Alpha Tauri and through this victory proved to Red Bull just what they had lost by dropping him. I can only hope that he is able to find a driver outside of the Red Bull family which will allow him to flourish like Carlos Sainz has one with Mclaren.
Honorable mentions: Hamilton – Britain, Verstappen – 70th Anniversary, Hamilton – Turkey, Perez – Sakhir
Pole of the year: Stroll – Turkey
I don’t think there was much completion for this, Stroll has proven this year that is worthy of an F1 seat and this moment was the panicle of this. We perhaps shouldn’t be surprised that Stroll strived in the soaking wet conditions experienced during qualifying for the Turkish GP. Just look at Monza 2017 where in even more extreme conditions he put his car on the front row behind Lewis Hamilton and Baku the same year where he lost out on second place by only 0.105 seconds.
Not only did he grab pole position but for 35 laps led the race and looked set to take his maiden victory. And with Sebastian Vettel as his teammate next year, I think we can expect great things from the young Canadian in the years to come.
Overtake of the year: Russell on Bottas – Sakhir
There were many stellar overtakes this season but this one hit different for the statement is made. After Lewis Hamilton was ruled out of the Sakhir GP having come down with COVID, the battle commenced to see who would replace him. The drive eventually went to Williams driver and fan-favorite George Russell.
The hype surrounding the move was huge given George has been favorite to replace Bottas should be get the boot and now he would be going one-on-one with the Finn. Bottas needed to dominate Russell to secure any faith fans may have in him. But despite having secured pole position against Russell (all be it by just 0.026 seconds) the race was a completely different story. Russell flew past Bottas at the first corner and dominated most of the race that was until a pit stop blunder by Mercedes forced him to make an additional pitstop dropping him down to 5th. Dispute this he fought back through the field and on lap 69 made a daring move on Bottas through turns 6-8. This would have been a amazing move on it’s own but the statement it sent to the Mercedes team made it even more amazing.
Honorable mentions: Norris on Perez – Austria, Albon on Raikkonen – 70th Anniversary, Norris on Bottas – Italy.
Team of the year: Mclaren
Yes I am probably a biased here but McLaren has come so far in the last two years and with both drovers achieving podiums and Sainz coming within seconds of the teams first race win since 2012. To top it off the team also secured 3rd in the constructors championship meaning a bid cash bonus will be on its way for 2021.
And to be honest I can only see 2021 being even better with Ricciardo joining, Lando having have such an improvement in his performance this year and a fresh new deal with Mercedes to supply engines, don’t be surprised if we see a few more victories under the teams belt.
Honorable mentions: Mercedes, Racing Point, Alpha Tauri.
Crash of the year: Grosjean – Bahrain
I don’t think i would be possible to top this in terms of shear shock and horror. The camera angle used at the time only added the drama of the incident as Grosjean cut in front of Kvyat and smashed into the barrier causing a huge fireball. The crash only proved how good the safety measures are in F1 today as most people having seen the explosion thought he would have been killed and yet he managed to remain conscious, get himself out of the car and escape with only burns to his hands.
The after images only made his survival even more incredible as it showed the car split in half and the section Romain was in was stuck in the barrier.
It was an unfortunate end to is F1 carrier but I’m sure he will more than happy to spend a lot more time with his wife and kids after his this near death experience.
Honorable mentions: Leclerc – Italy (Monza), Safety car restart – Tuscany, Stroll – Tuscany.
Surprise of the year: Gasly wins in Italy
Despite having already won ‘Win of the year’ it also was the biggest shock of the season. Given Mercedes had once again dominated the race in the early stages a slip up under safety car saw Hamilton pit when the pitlane was closed meaning he was handed 10 second stop-go penalty which allowed Gasly to come through and battle Sainz for the race win. Giving us our first new race winner since Leclerc in 2019.
Honorable mentions: Norris podium – Austria, Stroll pole – Turkey, Perez win – Sakhir
Disappointment of the year: George Russell loses win in Bahrain
As mentioned in ‘overtake of the year’ the hype around George Russell’s promotion to Mercedes was real and justified as he did everything right to claim the win. Even after Mercedes messed up the pitstop forcing him to pit again he flew through the field again and was on his way to reclaim the lead. Then with just 9 laps to go Bono appeared on the radio and delivered the message no body wanted to hear: “you have a slow puncture” at this point everyone’s heart sank as the Brit made his forth pitstop dropping him down to 14th and out of the points. Thankfully he did manage to fight his way back to 9th to score his first points in F1. But had he got the win the Mercedes contact would have signed itself.
Honorable mention: Haas F1 team
Special mention: Bahrain Marshals and FIA Safety team
Some of the unsung heroes of the F1 paddock, if it wasn’t for these people we wouldn’t be able to go racing. And Romain Grosjean’s crash at Bahrain proved this to no end. While the biggest factor in saving Grosjean’s life was the safety measures in the sport today the people who acted to help subdue the flames and get him out deserve just as much credit. From the marshal who rushed towards the car with a fire extinguisher to the medical car driver Alan van der Merwe and Dr Ian Roberts all played their part in ensuring the Frenchman survived the horrific crash.
This award also goes out to all the marshals and medical crews, many of whom are volunteers, that allow us to enjoy the sport we love year after year.
So what do you think of the 2020 season?
Who were your winners?
Let me know and please share!!!