The F1 2020 season capped off its season in Abu Dhabi as it usually does and what a season it was. From Lewis Hamilton to capturing his seventh world title, to Pierre Gasly winning his first Grand Prix in Italy and Sergio Perez collecting his first F1 win. It has been one crazy year, here are my thoughts on the 2020 F1 season.
Norris Scores First Podium (Round One Austrian GP)
The first race to kick off the 2020 F1 season had everything fans could ask for, wheel to wheel racing, surprise podiums and last lap drama. The season opened in Austria at the Red Bull Ring which saw Valtteri Bottas snag first place, second place handed to Charles Leclerc and third place going to Lando Norris. Hamilton was in third place but had a five-second penalty after another incident with Alex Albon. Lando Norris in fourth place and was 6.5 seconds behind Hamilton with two laps to go, in the two last laps, he reduced the gap to 4.8 seconds which gave Norris his first podium of his young F1 career.
Mercedes’ Last Lap Tyre Failure (Round Four Silverstone GP)
For a majority of the first of two races at Silverstone this past year, they seemed to be like any other race in F1 in the past five years. Mercedes finished first and second on the podium. However, this season was a little different. During the course of the weekend, teams never got a grip on the soft tyres and how long they would take over the course of the grand prix. That seemed to be proven true on Sunday afternoon when in the last two laps Valtteri Bottas’ front left tyre had a major puncture and stopped moving, ultimately resulting in him giving up a podium and making way for Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc. Hamilton had the same tyre failure, however, he was enough ahead of Bottas and managed to skip on past the line like lighting mcqueen in Cars. Nevertheless, it made for an exciting final two laps for racing fans across the world.
Gasly Wins Maiden Grand Prix (Round Eight Italian GP)
The 2020 Italian GP at Monza was the first time since 2012 that a Mercedes, Ferrari or Redbull were not present on the podium. Three unlikely podium sitters, Lance Stroll, Carlos Sainz, and Pierre Gasly. In a race in which Lewis Hamilton finished seventh, due to a ten-second stop/go penalty for entering a closed pitlane while under the safety car. The safety car was prompted because of Kevin Magnussen whose car lost power just before the pit entry causing it to be closed. Pierre Gasly who started 10th on the grid made his way up the field throughout the race to take home first place. Carlos Sainz was coming off an excellent qualifying session in which he qualified third, Sainz continued to show strong pace as he came home second. Lance Stroll fought his way up from eighth on the grid finishing third,making it the second podium of his F1 career. It will be a weekend that Gasly, Sainz and Stroll will not soon forget.
Hamilton Equals Schumacher for 91st win, Ricciardo Gets First Renault Podium (Round 11 Eiffel GP)
Round 11 in Germany this year was not as exciting as last year’s race. However, it did have some historic milestones for sure. Lewis Hamilton tied Michael Schumacher for 91 F1 wins all-time. Daniel Riccardo had an excellent drive from start to finish which saw him finish third after overtaking Charles Leclerc and giving Renault its first podium since 2011 in Malaysia. The Iceman known as Kimi Räikkönen made his 323rd consecutive start in a F1 race. It was a grand prix that racing fans didn’t want to miss. After the race, Mick Schumacher, son of the legendary driver Michael Schumacher, handed Lewis Hamilton his father’s last racing helmet when Schumacher raced for Mercedes.
Lewis Clinches Seventh World Drivers Title (Round 14 Turkey GP)
Lewis Hamilton’s drive in Turkey summed up his ability as a driver, which is masterclass. Hamilton started sixth on the grid and through the wet weather finished first which clinched his seventh world drivers title, equaling the great Michael Schumacher. Sergio Perez had another great drive propelling himself up the order and finishing second. As well, Sebastian Vettel finally had something go his way this season after a terrible start to the season. Things started to turn around which resulted in him finishing third and his first podium since Mexico last year.
Albon Scores First Podium, Grosjean Has Massive Crash (Round 15 Bahrain GP)
The start of the 2020 Bahrain grand prix had racing fans' hearts' stop at Romain Grosjean who had a massive crash on a chaotic first lap. Grosjean appeared to veer in front of Daniil Kvyat, making contact with Kvyat’s front left tyre. Which resulted in Grosjean going into a barrier and causing a massive number of flames which surrounded him. Thankfully, Grosjean was able to get out of his car and climb to safety. Then only a lap later after the race restart Lance stroll then flipped over his racing point due to a collision with Daniil Kvyat. After that the race proceeded on as normal, Lewis Hamilton finished first, Max Verstappen second and Alex Albon finished third giving him his first podium in F1.
Perez Gets Maiden GP Win, Ocon gets first podium (Round 16 Sakhir GP)
Round 16 of the F1 season was a spectacular race. It was action packed racing from the start to the final checkered flag. Like almost every race, there is a lap one incident. This time it involved Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. Perez was taking the natural racing line, when Leclerc failed to break early enough causing contact to be made between the Ferrari and Racing Point. Max Verstappen was the innocent bystander in the whole thing, he simply forced off the track causing him to crash into the barrier along with Leclerc. However, for some it was a different story. Russell got an excellent start and propelled himself past Bottas and into first place after the first turn. Russell continued to lead for several laps, until Jack Aitken crashed just before the start finish line, causing him to lose his front wing bringing out a virtual safety car. Mercedes’ race went downhill from there, a terrible double stacked pitstop with mixing tyres and ultimately losing the race for George Russell and Valtteri Bottas. Perez made an excellent recovery after being down in P18 after lap 1 to finishing first on the podium and capturing his first race win in Formula 1. Estebon Ocon managed to stay out of trouble and finished second, while Lance Stroll got on the podium for the second time in 2020.
Verstappen Gets Second Win of 2020, Mercedes Score Double Podium (Round 17 Abu Dhabi)
The Abu Dhabi grand prix rarely creates exciting races and this was evident again this year. From start to finish there weren’t too many exciting moments during the race. The only excitement or glimmer of hope came when Sergio Perez lost power on lap 10 and brought out a virtual safety car. However, most fans were sad to see Perez out of the race so early as it was his last grand prix in F1. From there it was like any other F1 race around the Yas Marina circuit with little overtaking happening throughout the grand prix. Max Verstappen who started on pole position had a good clean race and finished home first, marking his 10th win in F1 and second of the year. Valtteri Bottas was able to keep his teammate Lewis Hamilton at bay for the entirety of the race and finished second. It was the first time that a non-Mercedes had won at the Yas Marina Circuit since 2013 in which the year when Sebastian Vettel won for Red Bull. Verstappen’s teammate Alex Albon who many have been disappointed with the Thai’s driving this season, had a good outing as he finished fourth and only 1.5 seconds off of Hamilton.
With the 2020 season wrapped up, it’s now time to start counting down to the first race next season which kick-offs at Albert Park on the weekend of March 19th – 21st for the Australian grand prix.