Taking COVID-19 into consideration, it’s crazy to be writing about the Formula 1 2020 season’s highlights. It certainly wasn’t easy to pull off, but somehow we were delighted with a 2020 World Championship. And what a Championship it was!
There were many impressive moments during the Formula 1 2020 season: unexpected wins, heart-wrenching setbacks, and a total of 17 races that kept us on our toes. Now, let’s see what are the highlights of this year’s season.
Highlights of the Formula 1 2020 season:
It’s lights out at the Austrian Grand Prix… With an eventful race that brought some highlights:
With a maiden podium for Lando Norris, the Formula 1 2020 season started with a result that foreshadowed one of the end results of the year. Yet, Bottas’ victory and Leclerc’s second place did the opposite. Valtteri ended up with a mere two wins this season and the Austrian podium was Charles’ only one for the entire year. With Lewis Hamilton demoted to fifth place because of a penalty, the 2020 World Championship was off to an interesting start.
Nico Hulkenberg served as an impressive stand-in for Lance Stroll at the Nurburgring:
During the 11th Grand Prix of the year, Hulkenberg ended up in eighth place. How? After attending the Friday practices, Lance Stroll called in sick before the final Saturday practice. Nico was in Cologne having a coffee with a friend when he was summoned to take part in qualifying. With that little notice, he hopped in the car and gave it his best, even though he wasn’t able to move forward to Q2. During the race, he escalated positions all the way up to eighth place that granted him the Driver of the Day distinction. What a drive, Hulk.
Danny Ric got to do his shoey after an awaited not only one but two podiums with Renault:
Yes, Cyril is getting a tattoo after all. The Eifel Grand Prix saw Daniel Ricciardo score his first and long-awaited podium with Renault. Even though he forgot to do his signature shoey up on the stage, he did it on his socials and even got the chance to do it with Hamilton after scoring another third place at Imola. As for Danny’s bet with Cyril Abiteboul, the Frenchman said he is a man of his word and will let him choose the tattoo to commemorate their podium. Now, all there’s left to do is wait until they share the pictures of the done deed.
Pierre Gasly got his maiden victory at Monza, gifting us with a terrific redemption arc:
Gasly has shown some impressive tenacity during the Formula 1 2020 season. After getting demoted from Redbull in mid-2019, the driver has come back stronger than ever this year. His first F1 win was a well-deserved one, even more considering how tough of a time he had during 2019. He managed to keep Carlos Sainz at ease on the final laps of that eventful race, and the hard work paid off when the checkered flag went down indicating his victory. The images of him sitting alone on the podium after receiving his trophy were an endearing sight that marked the confirmation of his redemption arc.
The end of an era for Williams:
Monza marked the end of Williams being a strict family business as it was bought by Dorilton Capital. Claire Williams saw her final Grand Prix as team CEO at Monza, and both the drivers and the crew made sure she knew how much they appreciated her. It’s a sad end of an era but, as Claire said, all journeys come to an end. And what a ride this one was. Former McLaren’s boss Jost Capito has recently been elected as the new CEO of the legendary team.
Lewis Hamilton made history:
Considered to be the man among the greatest of them all, Hamilton scored his 92nd F1 win at the Portuguese Grand Prix and surpassed Schumagers’s 91 victories. Not only is this one of many accomplishments, but the British now holds the same amount of World Driver Championship titles as the German driver. Hamilton has surpassed and equaled all the legends, which turns him into one. With an outstanding and consistently high level of driving, 2020 was the year Lewis rewrote the history books.
Romain Grosjean became The Phoenix after a terrifying accident:
If there’s one highlight I wish I didn’t have to be telling you about, it is undoubtedly this one. During the Bahrain Grand Prix, Grosjean got into a nerve-racking fireball accident. Seeing his car burst into flames as it collided against the guardrail made for the nightmare moment of the Formula 1 2020 season. It took him 28 seconds to emerge from the flames, hence the nickname The Phoenix, but watching the race live felt like an eternal calvary. He managed to escape from the car on his own and was quickly assisted by the marshals and nearby firefighters. Now, he is healthy and recovering at home alongside his wife and kids. Still, this shake-up served as a reminder of how safe Formula 1 is nowadays.
George Russell got the chance to prove himself on the Mercedes and his performance was outstanding:
Due to Lewis Hamilton being out sick with coronavirus for the Sakhir Grand Prix, George Russell was the lucky one to replace him on F1’s most coveted seat. He did a tremendous job all weekend, coming out in first place during Practices 1 and 2, completely dominating on Friday, and ending up 2nd in qualifying a mere 0.026s away from Valtteri Bottas. Even though the race ended up with Mercedes performing one of the biggest screw-ups of the Formula 1 2020 season, it was great to see George dominate more than half of the race and being so terribly close to dominating it again after the tire mix-up. Yet, a rear puncture crushed his hopes of a maiden victory. The young British driver ended up in 9th place, just one position away from Bottas, and has given everyone a lot to talk about. No matter the result, he more than proved himself in the eyes of Mercedes and the F1 world.
Sergio Perez had a well-deserved fairytale victory in his penultimate race for Racing Point:
What’s painful for some is a blessing for another. Checo Perez started the Sakhir Grand Prix at the very bottom of the grid, 18th place after an accident eliminated both Verstappen and Leclerc, but finalised the race with his maiden F1 victory. He managed to escalate 18 spots and his chance for the win arrived after the Mercedes’ tire disaster. He took it and drove with it all the way up to the finish line. After his future on Formula 1 being so uncertain for the entire year, he was basically out the door at the point of Sakhir, watching him at the very top of the podium with tearful eyes as he sang Mexico’s anthem was the moment of glory he deserved.
Ferrari had their worst season since 1980:
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the Formula 1 2020 season was the nightmare Ferrari had to endure during it. For each of the last three seasons, they had finished in third place behind Mercedes, but this year something went awfully wrong with the SF1000 car. The legendary team finished with only three podiums and no wins at all. Charles Leclerc scored two of those and the four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel only managed to get up there once. It was astonishing to see such a team underperform consistently, and I’m sure we’re waiting to see how they do next year.
And this brings out to a fascinating battle for third in the Constructors Championship with McLaren scoring the position:
McLaren has had one heck of a year during the Formula 1 2020 season, and the hard work paid off with a delightful P3 in the Constructors Championship. But that coveted third place, available thanks to Ferrari’s struggles, was never secured by any of the midfield teams. In fact, up until the very last race, it was unclear who would be able to call it their own. Racing Point and Renault, with Alpha Tauri also pretty consistently scoring points, were McLaren’s biggest threats. After the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with Norris and Sainz ending up fourth and fifth, the British team was able to celebrate that very much-deserved third place.
Here are the final standings of the Formula 1 2020 season:
What to expect for 2021:
Sadly, no more Carlando at McLaren:
With Sainz leaving for Ferrari, the dream team has to say goodbye at McLaren. Carlos and Lando were the most hilarious, endearing duo of the grid for two years, and it’s hard to see them part ways. Yet, they have said they will remain close friends, and we might even get the chance to see them team up for some brand new videos. In case you want to reminisce about the best moments of such a great pair, here’s the video McLaren released of our two muppet friends: “No strings attached”.
A brand-new driver lineup at Haas:
The American team is replacing both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen for 2021. They have hired two young drivers; Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin will hit the F1 grid for the first time in their driving careers. Schumacher is the 21-year-old son of the legend, Michael Schumacher, and he ended up in first place in this year’s F2 Driver Championship. Mazepin comes along with his fair share of criticism, due to being a pay driver and for his questionable behavior, which includes beating one of his competitors and sexually harassing a girl on Instagram. Whatever the future awaits for this unlikely duo, it’ll sure be interesting to watch.
Sergio Perez replacing Alex Albon at Redbull:
After months of speculation, the expected happened. Alex Albon, despite giving it all he had, has underperformed for the entire Formula 1 2020 season and will now be replaced with Checo Perez. Still, Alex will be the reserve driver for Redbull with a “key focus on 2022 development” according to Christian Horner. For Perez, this decision has saved his future in F1 for the 2021 season right when everyone thought he was going to have to take a gap year from the sport. For Albon, this one must hurt, but I have to admit it was the right move.
Goodbye Renault and Racing Point, welcome Alpine and Aston Martin:
Starting 2021, Racing Point will become Aston Martin and have Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel as its drivers. As for Renault, the team will become Alpine, and its driver lineup is composed of former World Champion, Fernando Alonso, coming back from two years out of F1, and Esteban Ocon.
Races with increasingly more crowds and the longest ever race calendar:
23 races starting March 21: that’s what awaits for the upcoming year. And with COVID-19 restrictions hopefully easing up thanks to massive vaccination, you can expect to see more crowds than ever. This is both good news for us fans and for the teams since it’s a lot warmer to race on a crowded and cheerful track than to do it confined to the F1 bubble due to a global pandemic.
Killer new episodes of Drive to Survive all about the Formula 1 2020 season:
The Formula 1 2020 season has been an eventful one, that’s for sure. And we all know how much that benefits Netflix’s series Drive To Survive. The show has even brought up new fans to the sport, and it’s a good way to spend the wait before the upcoming season. Personally, I’m excited to see how they manage to fit all these events into its usual 10 episodes.
A young-spirited driver line-up:
Formula 1 has changed ways regarding its average driver age, with a lot of new rookies coming up in recent years. 2021 is no exception, as Tsunoda, Mazepin, and Schumacher enter the sport.
New, exciting battles:
With Ferrari expected to come back stronger and McLaren, Aston Martin, Alpine, and Alpha Tauri consistently upping up their midfield game, 2021 will see some interesting battles. The midfield was on fire this year, and it looks just as promising for the next one. Regarding the bottom of the grid, there’s always hope for unexpected improvements. As for the top teams, it’ll be interesting to see how Ferrari manages to bounce back and how Redbull strives to close the gap to Mercedes. No matter what, the Formula 1 2021 season can’t come soon enough.