The belated F1 2020 Season Review

That was an incredible season of F1. Incredible that it even got going during the Coronavirus pandemic, let alone getting to the finale in Abu Dhabi. It is testament to the FIA, Liberty media, F1, the circuit organisers, the teams and drivers that we even had a season of F1 in the first place after the Australian Grand Prix started but never went ahead after two McLaren team members tested positive for the virus and the first 8 races were cancelled.

The season eventually got underway in July, 217 days after the 2019 season finale; the third longest gap between seasons in F1 history as the 70th anniversary season started. It was historic as Michael Schumacher’s win record (91), podium (155) were beaten and his seven World Championship were equalled by Lewis Hamilton [Feature image above from formula1.com].  read more

Goodbyes aplenty as Verstappen wins the season finale, Hamilton returns and McLaren take 3rd in the Constructors: 2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Review

Incredibly, 23 weeks on from F1 getting its first race of 2020 underway in Austria, Abu Dhabi hosted the final curtain call of a hectic 17 race schedule [The winner Max Verstappen is featured above; image from formula1.com]. The twilight of Yas Marina was always going to be an emotional race for the likes of Sebastian Vettel, Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo leaving Ferrari, McLaren and Renault respectively. It could also have been the last F1 race in a 10-year career for Sergio Perez, but also potentially the last race for Red Bull drivers Alex Albon and Daniil Kvyat with neither driver having a drive. It was certainly the last race of Kevin Magnussen’s 7 season F1 career as he will be racing sports cars in 2021.

Yes Marina Circuit map [Image from formula1.com].

Surprisingly, overtaking is difficult around the Yas Marina Circuit. It has a layout you would have thought invites overtaking but it is extremely difficult on this circuit and 2020 was no exception. It was, therefore, a bit of a lacklustre, anti-climatic way to end the season after the chaotic race that proceeded it a week before in Sakhir. A lot of that was perhaps due to the Safety Car being deployed on lap 9 and all but three cars (Ricciardo, Vettel and Leclerc) pitting then and attempting to not stop again until the chequered flag. read more

Russell shines but Mercedes capitulate as Sergio Perez stole the show: Sakhir Grand Prix Review

For the fourth and final time in 2020, a country held back to back races with Bahrain hosting the penultimate round. Using the outer layout of the Bahrain International Circuit with its much shorter lap distance of 2.2 miles; the shortest in F1 since 1983 Long Beach and the first sub-one-minute laps since 1974. I wasn’t sure how this layout would work but after the dramatic and crazy race it delivered, I am beginning to wonder if F1 could race on it more often!

The outer layout used for the Sakhir GP. [Image from formula1.com].

At 87 laps long, it was the most laps in any race this year. There was also intrigue surrounding driver changes prompted by Romain Grosjean’s horrific incident the previous weekend and Lewis Hamilton’s positive Coronavirus test. With Kimi Raikkonen the oldest on the grid by far it gave a glimpse into what the younger drivers can achieve with George Russell swapping Williams to Mercedes to cover the world champion and did a splendid job. Jack Aitken covered Russell at Williams while Pietro Fittipaldi replaced Grosjean a Haas. It produced opening lap drama, Safety Cars, some fantastic overtaking moves and a new race winner! [Pictured above in the featured image; image from formula1.com]. read more

Hamilton comfortably wins again after absolutely horrific Grosjean incident: 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix Review

Both the Drivers and the Constructors Championships have been decided in the favour of Lewis Hamilton [Pictured above; feature image from fEssentiallySports] and Mercedes for an unprecedented 7th time as they arrived in Bahrain for the start of the final three-race leg to bring the 2020 season to a close. So, you may have been forgiven for thinking there was nothing else to fight for this season. Wrong. For both drivers and teams, there are still Championship positions to fight for, race seats for 2021 to try and win as well as just pride for those likely to be leaving the sport.

Bahrain International Circuit layout. [Image from formula1.com].

However, the enduring image of the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix will be the image of Romain Grosjean and his horrific opening lap incident [something I didn’t think appropriate for the featured image above]. read more

Hamilton matches Schumi’s Seven World Championships in stellar style: 2020 Turkish Grand Prix Review

Returning to Istanbul Park for the first time since 2011, I was looking forward to seeing the high downforce 2020 cars taking on the notorious turn 8 flat out. Track resurfacing completed only 10 days before the cars took to the circuit meant the stunning circuit was slippery meaning grip was difficult to find as cars spun. It was described as like an ice rink and that was even before the rain hit Qualifying and the race.

Istanbul Park circuit map. [Image from formula1.com].

In fairness, could we see races like that more often, please? So, much happened lap to lap with spins and the drivers really having to battle their cars in the conditions that really reward experience as well as separating the best from the rest. There was a surprise pole-sitter in lance Stroll; the first Canadian to take pole position since Jacques Villeneuve. The race seemed to be going his way but in the second half of the race, with no rain falling and the track not dry enough for Intermediates, managing the tyres and its temperatures became crucial. Instead, despite being 25s adrift in the early stages, Lewis Hamilton [Pictured celebrating above; image from Autoweek] finished 30s clear as he took the chequered flag to take his record-equalling 7th Drivers Championship title in some style! read more

Hamilton dominates, Renault improve while Ferrari struggle on a weekend of high emotion: 2020 Belgian Grand Prix Review

The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in the Ardennes Forest, Belgium is one of THE favourite circuits for drivers and fans alike so it was great to see the race going ahead this year. Usually, it is the traditional first race back after the summer break but it was the 7th of the unusual format of the 2020 season as F1 attempts to fulfil a now confirmed 17 race calendar. F1 arrived with a new concord arrangement in place with all ten teams committed to the sport until 2025, Williams under new ownership and the final races for the year confirmed.

A year on from the tragic passing of F2 driver Anthoine Hubert, the return to Spa was always going to be an emotionally charged weekend for the paddock with so many drivers in the paddock close friends of his including Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon. A minutes silence was held before each race from F1 down to F3. read more