Formula One News

Max Lindenbaum, Journalist

For many hardcore Formula One fans such as myself the 2020 season left much to be desired. Despite its fair share of historical moments, it can be assumed that fans around the globe are hoping for thrilling competition next season. So in this article, we will count down our top 5 highs and top 5 lows of this past season.

5 Low: Ferrari’s Car Struggles

At pre-season testing in Barcelona for 2020, the usually formidable Ferrari seemed nowhere close to it’s championship rivals in Mercedes and Red Bull. The SF1000 was not only the car with the most drag on the grid, but it was also down 50-60 bhp (brake horsepower) compared to its predecessor. This put them in serious trouble as an engine freeze was put in place at the beginning of the season to start implementing the massive regulation changes for 2022. Together this led to Ferrari’s worst finish since 1980, finishing 6th of 10 in the constructors championship.

5 High: Lando Norris Podium in Austria

As the final laps of the season opener at the Red Bull Ring closed, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was running in second and was given a 5 second time penalty for a collision with Red Bull driver Alex Albon. This paved the way for friendly little Lando, his Mclaren and Senario 7 (one of the race strategy modes) to close the 5.7 second gap to Hamilton down to 4.8 in one lap, in doing so he set the fastest lap of the Grand Prix and also scored his first Formula One podium.

4 Low: The Hulk

Nico Hülkenburg is a german racing driver who was out of a F1 seat for 2020, he is regarded as extremely talented but has never been able to claim a podium or win. However, Nico got the chance to drive twice in the 2020 season for Racing Point. Unfortunately in the first race they had to retire the car before the race had even started due to mechanical issues, but in the second race he managed to qualify P4. Unfortunately he finished P6, so close yet still so far, though, there is no doubt in my mind that he will get there eventually.

4 High: German and Portuguese Grand Prix

Despite the fact that Mercedes dominance has caused a fair amount of anti-climactic races over the V6 Turbo-Hybrid era, you cannot deny that we are witnessing greatness. At the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nürburgring and the Heineken Grand Prix at Portimao, Lewis Hamilton won his 91st and 92st grand prix. In doing so he tied and beat Michael Schumacher, the former win record holder and one of the greatest drivers ever. This was a historic moment in motorsport and one that people will remember forever.

3 Low: Albon’s Maiden Podium Slips Away

At the same grand prix where Lando Norris scored his maiden podium in F1, Alex Albon’s slipped away. It was this collision with Hamilton on lap 61 that stripped Albon of his first podium and gave Hamilton his 5 second penalty that opened the door for Lando Norris.

3 High: Checo Perez’s Maiden Victory

In the second of two Bahrain grand prix’s, a combination of a quarantined Hamilton, a Verstappen and Leclerc first lap crash (kinda caused by Perez) and a botched Mercedes double stack pit-stop, paved the way to Perez’s maiden F1 victory in his 191st race.

2 Low: Romain Grosjean’s Horrific Crash

On lap 1 of the 1st of two Bahrain grand prix’s, Romain Grosjean came across Daniil Kvyat and was sent into the guardrail at 137mph. When the car struck the barrier it got wedged in, the speed of the car combined with the angle of the car to the barrier caused the car to be wrenched in two, breaking the fuel tank and causing an explosion. Luckily the modern day car’s extreme safety measures such as the survival cell and the halo protected Grosjean from any impact injuries, he was able to unbuckle and pull himself out of the inferno. However he did have burns on his hands and ankles that had to be treated. Since then he has made a full recovery and is already driving in Indycar.

2 High: Gasly’s Maiden Victory

After Pierre Gasly’s unsuccessful half-season stint with Red Bull in 2019, he was demoted back to the Red Bull sister team at the time called Toro Rosso, now called Alpha Tauri. Despite the disappointment Gasly was able to claim his maiden podium in a Toro Rosso at Brazil in 2019. This year under a new team name, he was able to win his first F1 race at the legendary Monza, aka The Temple of Speed.

1 Low: Russell’s Big Break Heartbreak

Prior to the second leg of the Bahrain grand prix’s, Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes driver) tested positive for Covid. This opened the door for young phenom George Russell (Williams driver and in photo above) to take Hamilton’s seat for the race and finally get his chance to show his skills in a car worthy of his talent. Russell started from P2 and managed to pass his teammate Valtteri Bottas into turn 1, a magnificent start. He went on to lead most of the race before both him and Bottas were called in for a double stack pitstop. During said pitstop the Mercedes pit crew put 2 of Valtteri’s tires on George’s car, causing George to pit again and lose the lead one lap later to avoid a penalty. However, this was not the end, Russell went on to fight from P6 to P2 passing Valtteri in the process, but unfortunately as he was about to overtake Checo Perez for the lead, he ran over some debris on the track causing a rear left picture forcing Russell to pit for a 3rd in only a few laps. Russell saw his maiden victory turn into a measly 9th in a matter of seconds finishing 18 seconds later than the winner.

1 High: Turkish Grand Prix

This was by far my favorite moment of the season. Lewis Hamilton tied Michael Schumacher’s record of 7 driver world titles with a drive for the ages, and 4 time world champion and Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel managed to use his skill and experience to will his slow Ferrari onto the podium making fans grin in the process. Vettel then went to congratulate his fellow driver creating this historical moment between two of the greatest drivers ever.