Max Verstappen wins the 2021 World's driver championship after a controversial series of events throughout the 2021 season. There were many points of interest in this season and every race mattered as they headed equal on points to the last race of the season.
The 2021 F1 season started in Bahrain and what a weekend it was. Up and down the grid, all over the world, and people were excited to get back to racing and the teams did not disappoint, with a cracking race, possibly showcasing the signs of a real title fight for the first time in a while. We were finally able to see Red Bull become a title contender in a big way, Verstappen looked quicker than ever and became a light for the fans who are tired of seeing Hamilton win. McLaren, Ferrari and AlphaTauri looked like the next best teams and it seemed as if the giant finally was starting to awaken. Then, Aston Martin and Alpine seem to be struggling a bit, followed by Alfa Romeo, who looked much stronger than in 2020. Finally, Williams and Haas still looked disappointing.
The race started with an unfortunate beginning for Red Bull who had Sergio Perez come last in the pits, although they had their star start in first. Max Verstappen started P1 and Lewis Hamilton P2. At the very beginning of the race in turn 1 we were also shown a common trait of this season with Nikita Mazepin spearing off into the barriers at turn 3, which led to a safety car. The race returned in lap 4 and shortly after in turn 7 we saw Mick Schumacher spin out and Pierre Gasly losing his front wing by touching the rear of Daniel Ricciardo. In lap 16 we saw Lewis Hamilton pit, while Max stayed out and a risky decision by Red Bull was made to go on more 2 laps, In lap 18 we see Verstappen pit but he gets overtaken by Lewis Hamilton. On Lap 44 we see a crash between the experienced Sebastianq Vettel and Esteban Ocon, and both spun out, and on Lap 51 we finally see what everyone was waiting for, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton entered a fierce fight for P1 when Lewis went wide on turn 10, and on lap 53 Max as finally able to overtake by going on the outside, but shortly after he was told to give back the position. The race then ended with Lewis P1 and Max P2, a sort of foreshadowing of the competition these two were going to have. Another driver that impressed the viewers was Yuki Tsunoda having his first race ending in P9, also Sergio Perez who started at P20 but ended in P5.
Emilia Romagna(Imola) GP:
After an exciting first race at Bahrain, Imola promised to be an exciting race as Max Verstappen showed what he had to offer in Bahrain. Verstappen qualified P3 behind Hamilton and his teammate Sergio Pérez. Hamilton started from pole position as rain poured over the F1 track, but it was Verstappen that took the lead after a brilliant start going from P3 to P1, passing his teammate Sergio Pérez in the process. Verstappen pitted in lap 27 for mediums and Hamilton stayed ahead of him shortly before pitting himself one lap later. On lap 31, Hamilton locked up and beached his car at turn 7(Tosa) and rejoined the track in P8. Later in the same lap, Russel and Bottas collided at turn 2&3(Tamburello), which is a high speed chicane right at the beginning of the track and thankfully no one was hurt. This collision resulted in a red flag, which meant that the race would restart in its traditional format with 33 laps to go. This restart made Verstappen solidify his lead and Hamilton, who was in P8, climbed back up the ranks to P5 by lap 43. By lap 50 he was up to fourth and by lap 55 he was already in third. The race resulted in a win for Max Verstappen, second place with the fastest lap for Hamilton and third for Lando Norris.
Portugal (Portimão) GP:
In Portugal we saw a phenomenal race from Hamilton and quoting Nico Rosberg "Max Verstappen is starting to understand better and better how good Lewis Hamilton is”, we also saw a much better performance from Fernando Alonso who had slow start to the season, we finally started to see glimpses of Alonso's talent with some great overtaking and leader matching pace in the final stint of the GP. It seems like the limited testing has limited new drivers in terms of pace but the signs are good for the Spanish veteran after his impressive performance in Portugal. The Haas team also showed some improvement with Mick Schuamcher having a brilliant overtake on Nicholas Latifi and by Nikita Mazepin finally finishing a race.
Qualifying ended with a magnificent start for Mercedes having Valttering Bottas and Lewis Hamilton both P1 and P2. The race also had a troublesome beginning which seemed to be a theme for the upcoming season, with Kimi Raikonenn losing half of his front wing and going into the gravel at lap 2 at the main straight, which caused a Safety Car. In lap 7 we saw a Verstappen overtaking Lewis Hamilton at turn 1 by getting his slipstream, and he was only able to retake it by lap 11. In Lap 20 we finally were able to see the brilliance of Lewis Hamilton by making an incredible move to overtake his teammate Valtteri Bottas, afterwards the only important overtake was Max Verstappen on Bottas on lap 37 at turn 5, having an extremely close fight. The race ended with Lewis P1 and Max Verstappen P2.
Hamilton and Mercedes performed an absolute strategical masterclass as they made a 2 stop pit strategy to get a late overtake on Max Verstappen with only 6 laps to go to take the lead and win the Spanish grand prix. Verstappen then pitted for soft tires and set the fastest lap for an extra point. Hamilton and Verstappen were on a league of their own as they finished with a comfortable lead from third place Valtteri Bottas as he had his own race long battle with Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc. Perez had a recovery race, to finish P5 while starting P8. Daniel Ricciardo drove one of his best races so far as he finished P6 ahead of the native Carlos Sainz. Lando Norris had an off-key afternoon as he finished P8, his first finish outside the top 5 up until this point. Alpine's Esteban Ocon and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly rounded out the final points-paying positions as they finished P9 and P10.
F1's most famous season was not what most fans had expected considering the past races. The Monaco GP was fairly "boring" to most fans because it did not contain a single overtake, to contrast it the race was extremely depressing for Charles Leclerc because even though he ended qualifying at pole position his car was not able to start the race, having a left driveshaft problem. Monaco was also a harsh race for Mercedes having none of their drivers finish in the podium, while for Red Bull their star once again proved he was championship worthy and won the race.
The race started with the Haas team again in a controversy with Mick Shumacher forcing his teammate to give up his spot by doing an extremely dangerous move at lap 1, but the position was shortly retaken. In lap 30 was when disaster struck for the Mercedes team because Bottas entered the pit and was not able to go out, due to having his right front wheel off because the wheel gun jammed, after not being able to remove it, Bottas had to abandon the race. For one Ferrari driver the race was horrible while to the other it was a great one, having Carlos Sainz perform an extremely consistent race and earn P2. The podium ended with Max P1 Sainz P2 Norris P3.
Azerbaijan (Baku) GP:
The Baku GP was the pinnacle of entertainment for the fans, it showed to us how intense the rivalry between Max and Lewis truly is, and how close Red Bull and Mercedes were. This race had everything a fan would want, unexpected winner and podiums, drama and conflict. All of this combined into one single race. Vettel truly reminded us of his Red Bull year's having a spectacular race, and Sergio Perez proved to be the best second driver the team has had since Ricciardo, this was also the first time of the season where the fans were once again reminded of how talented Piere Gasly truly is.
Charles Leclerc once again finished Qualifying at pole position yet this time he was able to start the race with it, unfortunately he lost it soon afterwards when Hamilton overtook him at Lap 2 at the main straight, and by lap 8 he was already in P4. In Lap 11 we were introduced to what seemed to be the theme for this race, an accident had happened, where Carlos Sainz went off into the Run-off area, not to late after in Lap 31 we see a horrible looking accident happen with Lance Stroll, which he lost control of his car and hit the walls. After a restart in lap 35 the race became even more exhilarating and competitive and shortly after Sebastian Vettel overtook Pierre Gasly once again in the main startight. Lap 46 was where we saw a horrible and frightening accident happen to the star boy of the season, in which he had a tire lock up and hit the wall at 200 mph. The race then restarted at lap 50 where the fans saw smoke coming out from Hamilton's brake, it turns out that Mercedes activated "magic" which is a plan to heat the brakes causing Lewis to be much faster in straights, unfortunately the only magic that happened was Mercedes losing out on a podium position because he lost the control of the brakes and went straight on turn 1, going from P2 to P16. In the last lap we saw Charles Lecrec and Pierre Gasly having an extremely close fight for P3 which Gasly ended up winning with a brilliant overtake at turn 2. The race then ended with Sergio Perez P1, Sebastian Vettel P2, Pierre Gasly P3.
This time, it was Red Bull and Max Verstappen that performed a strategical masterclass as they performed a mirror of Mercedes' two stop strategy to take P1 with only two laps to go in the French Grand Prix. Verstappen qualified P2 and was not able to pass Hamilton in the opening lap, but after performing the two stop strategy he walked out of this race with 26 points as he got the fastest lap. Sergio Pérez completed the podium and Bottas trailed right behind him. Behind the leading four, we saw a superb race from Mclaren as they finished P5 and P6 with Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly finished P7 with great race pace as he finished ahead of Fernando Alonso. Sebastian Vettel and his teammate at Aston Martin Lance Stroll finished in the points with P9 and P10 with Stroll making a late overtake on Carlos Sainz. This capped off a terrible weekend for Ferrari, where Charles Leclerc finished P16 and scored a total of 0 points. After this result, Verstappen extended his lead to 12 points as they head to Steiermark
The Steiermark GP was a turning point for the fans, who finally understood that Red Bull is not just equal then Mercedes, they are better! The race was extremely uneventful and no driver made a spectacle, although Max Verstappen showed us once again his undeniable great skill and secured P1. This race was also the beginning of a narrative involving George Russell, the Brit from Williams once again had an excellent qualifying session only placing 0.0008 seconds out of Q3, but he unfortunately could not show his speed on the race itself. In contrast to recent GP's Pierre Gasly did not have a good race by having a left rear puncture at Lap 1.
The race had an exciting start having Pierre Gasly DNF with a left rear puncture and causing an accident with Antonio Giovinazzi from Alfa Romeo, Charles Lecler also had a minor accident where he lost a bit of his front wing. As the race was uneventful the next big event came at Lap 27 where George Russel pitted and had the wheel gun jammed onto his left front wheel. Charles Leclerc had a rough start coming from P12 to P7 after a sequence of extremely tight and smart overtakes.
Max Verstappen cruised towards the finish line 18 seconds ahead from second place Valtteri Bottas while pitting for softs with 10 laps left to get the extra point for fastest lap. Behind Bottas, Lando Norris topped off the podium with a spectacular race finishing 26 seconds ahead of fourth place Lewis Hamilton. This meant that Max Verstappen opened a whopping 32 point lead and at this point looked like a clear favorite to win the title. Red Bull could have finished with a better result, as Sergio Pérez finished P6 after a very eventful race start. Esteban Ocon crashed in Lap 1 bringing out a safety car. It ended rather quickly and Sergio Pérez was quick to attack Lando Norris at turn 3, but Lando Norris forced him off the track, resulting in a 5-second penalty for the Brit. Later on, Sergio Pérez got two 5 seconds penalties for forcing Charles Leclerc off the track exactly the same way Lando did to him. He finished the race in P5 but due to his time penalties he ended up only 0.8 seconds behind the actual P5, Carlos Sainz. McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Alpine's Fernando Alonso completed the top 10 as Alonso passed Williams' George Russell, denying him of his first points for Williams.
British (Silverstone) GP:
The home of all Grand Prix's never disappointed, having a controversial yet magnificent race, constant action throughout, a smattering of drama and in most fans opinion the best race of the season so far. Silverstone became known as the most controversial race of the year and where the rivalry between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton reached new heights.
Silverstone started with Max P1 and Lewis P2 and it was immediately a hard and ferocious battle, where by each turn they were wheel to wheel, truly showing that they were both trying to win) and as a result, in lap 1 the mighty crashed happened, entering the corpse corner Hamilton tries to go for a move on the inside causing his front left wheel to hit Verstappen's back right wheel, and throwing him into a wall at 51G's and 160 mph, causing him to get knocked out and go to the hospital. The race then restarted at Lap 4 where shortly after Sebastian Vettel spun out and crashed into a wall, Lewis Hamilton was then announced that he had received a 10 second penalty for his crash with Verstappen. On Lap 15 once again we see a tragic occurrence happen to Charles Leclerc, he was once again leading when he suffered an engine failure, fortunately for Ferrari fan's he did not lose his position. Mclaren demonstrated a tragic pit with Lando Norris having a 6 second pit stop, causing Valtteri Bottas to overtake him on Lap 22, almost immediately after we see Lewis Hamilton going in to serve his time penalty and returning at the back of Norris where he instantly overtakes him. At Lap 47 we see another crash, with Sergio Perez and Raikonen making contact and Kimi spun out. The hunt for P1 was coming to an end with Hamilton closing the distance on Leclerc at a rapid rate and by lap 50 on corpse corner it ended by Leclerc going wide. The Race ended with Lewis Hamilton P1, Charles Leclerc P2, Valtteri Bottas P3.
Hungarian GP (Hungaroring):
This was undoubtedly one of the most eventful races of the F1 2021 calendar with a safety car and red flag in lap 1. As the rain settled down over the Hungarian GP the race started with all of the cars on intermediate tires and right into turn 1 a huge crash happened. Lando Norris had a brilliant start and went ahead of Bottas on the main straight as the cars lined up for turn 1. Bottas, though, locked up going into turn one and hit the back of Lando Norris' car which then got launched forward into Max Verstappen as Bottas slid around and also hit Sergio Pérez. While that was happening, Lance Stroll took the inside grass of turn 1 and couldn’t avoid running into Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari, who then spun around Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren. This Whole mess resulted in Bottas, Leclerc, Stroll, Perez and Norris all retiring in the first lap as the safety car then a red flag was pulled. After a post race analysis, it was decided that he would serve a five-place grid drop in Belgium's GP.
This whole mess made for an exciting lap 4 restart with an interesting top 10 consisting of Lewis Hamilton, Esteban Ocon, Sebastian Vettel, Carlos Sainz (who’d started P15), Yuki Tsunoda (who’d started P16), Williams’ Nicolas Latifi in sixth, Alpine’s Fernando Alonso P7, the second Williams of George Russell in P8, Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen P9 while Mick Schumacher found himself 10th for Haas. Max Verstappen had dropped into P13 after he was forced to pit after his contact with Valtteri Bottas where he had suffered severe damage to his right-hand barge board. Pierre Gasly and Daniel Ricciardo managed to stay ahead of him and got P11 and P12. Lewis Hamilton led the warm-up lap as the track dried up after being stopped for 25 minutes after the red flag, and it created a bizarre sight of Lewis Hamilton alone in the starting grid as all of the cars opted to pit for mediums meaning they would start from the pits in the restart. The track finished drying up in the middle of Hamilton's lap making him lose considerable pace, and he was forced to pit after just one lap, making him drop to last place. From there on out Hamilton showed to everyone watching why he is considered one of the goats by having an absolutely beautiful recovery race where he finished P3 but after a drama involving Vettel's fuel samples he finished P2 in the standings.
Belgian (Spa Francorchamps) GP:
The shortest Grand Prix of all time was taken place, with only 3 minutes and 27 seconds, Max Verstappen was awarded the win, George Russel P2 and Lewis Hamilton P3. Spa once again proved to all critics that Russel was a huge talent and was bound to leave Williams in a near future, it also became a realization to the fans that George Russel had one of the fastest qualifying paces in all of the grid. As the race was interrupted FIA decided that all of the points would be cut in half, therefore Max Verstappen earned 12.5 George Russel 9 and Lewis Hamilton 7.5.
Dutch (Zandvoort) GP:
Max Verstappen takes his home grand prix after it not being in f1's calendar for 36 years in style as he finished the race 20 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton, 56 seconds ahead of Valtteri Bottas a lap ahead of P4 through P11, 2 laps ahead of P12-P16 and 3 laps ahead of P17. Three drivers received a DNF to close the grid. A drama within the Mercedes team sparked when Bottas pitted for soft's late into the race to attempt a fastest lap but midway into the lap attempt Mercedes instructed him to abort the fastest lap attempt but he was on such ridiculous pace that even after slowing down he set the fastest lap. Hamilton then pitted for softs and got the fastest lap on the last lap. Pierre Gasly Finished fourth followed by Charles Leclerc, Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz, Sergio Pérez, Esteban Ocon and Lando Norris all in the points. Sergio Pérez was voted driver of the day after an incredible recovery race starting from the pits all the way to P8 in a track many consider to be very hard to overtake in.
Italian (Monza) GP:
Monza was a spectacle for all F1 fans, it was what everyone wanted and needed, it sparked the rivalry between Max and Lewis, and gave Mclaren a win after 8 years, and a P1 and P2 finish in more than 10 years. The temple of speed was when we saw Daniel Ricciardo back to glory, having only won another GP back in 2018, he was finally in full control of the Mclaren and used his late breaking strategies flawlessly, earning himself his P1 spot. His teammate also had a spectacular race, Lando Norris continues to grow and become one of the best drivers in the Grid. Lewis Hamilton and Max Vertsappen finally began being compared to the old Mclaren rivalry which are Senna and Prost, and are getting placed in a different league, the crash sparked the flames of both of them having the championship extremely close.
The race started intensively with Verstappen P1 and Ricciardo P2 but that soon change because Ricciardo soon overtook him claiming P1, shortly afterwards we see the first crash of the season with Antonio Giovinazzi in the first chicane by spinning out and hitting a wall. At Lap 26 it was where it all happened, Hamilton had just left the pits and was wheel to wheel with Max Verstappen and when going into the first chicane they crashed, Verstappen's back right wheel was on top of Hamilton's car and if it wasn't for the halo Hamilton might have died, they were both out. The race restarted at lap 31 and once again it was extremely intense, a hard fight began between Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc began and the McClaren rookie came on top overtaking him on Curva Grande, shortly after on lap 32 Sergio Perez tried to make a move on Leclerc but ends losing space and cutting a corner, which earned him a 5 second penalty and on the same lap the Haas boys once again came back and Mick Schumacher spun out because of a conflict with Nikita Mazepin. The race ended with Daniel Ricciardo P1, Lando Norris P2, Valtteri Bottas P3 and because of the penalty Charles Leclerc P4.
Lewis Hamilton finally accomplished the incredible feat of 100 wins in the streets of Russia's GP, Sochi. Many teams decided to change their power units this race as Verstappen, Bottas and Leclerc took massive grid penalties to drop into P20, P19 and P16. Mercedes changed Bottas' power units after knowing that Verstappen would change his in hopes of holding him in the starting laps. This plan did not work, as Verstappen passed Bottas in the opening laps and started cruising through the field with ridiculous lap pace. Hamilton fell to seventh at the start and had to climb his way back up the grid. Hamilton was the first to pit in lap 27 and when everyone had finished their first pit stop Lando Norris was the one leading the pack with Hamilton behind him by just one second in the closing parts. Then the rain hit, all of the cars behind Hamilton and Norris pitted for inters early on and both of them stayed out for longer in hopes of the rain stopping, but it just got progressively worse. Norris decided to stay out and finish the race, but as the rain got worse, he eventually slid out, handing the win over to Hamilton. Verstappen came in P2 in a race everyone thought there was no hope for him as he pitted very early for inters and passed everyone as they had to slow down to not spin out. Carlos Sainz finished out the podium and right behind him Ricciardo came in fourth. Bottas also executed a brilliant comeback race as he also pitted early for inters. Behind the top 5 came Fernando Alonso, Kimi Räikkönen, Sergio Perez and George Russell to close out the point-paying positions.
The turkish GP was another race that proved to us how close the fight between Mercedes and Red Bull truly is, this was the first time that fans had seen a car match with the silver arrows, this race also highlighted the importance of the second driver, Bottas and Perez both had brilliant races and outshined the main stars of the championship. Perez had a brilliant battle against Lewis and was the sole reason why Mercedes did not have a P1 and P2, although Bottas did earn himself P1 and was in complete control of the race. Although uneventful the race was a milestone for both second drivers.
A common theme in this F1 season is the thrilling and exciting start, and this race did not disappoint. Alonso spun at lap 1 turn 1 after making contact with Pierre Gasly, but made a quick recovery and was not hurt, yet Pierre Gasly was awarded a 5 second penalty for the incident. At lap 34 at turn 11 was when we all saw the fight, Hamilton was using Perez slipstream yet the Mexican did not give his position and fought the Brit intensely for 2 whole laps. Bottas finally took the lead for Mercedes at lap 51 after a long standing hunt, Leclerc soon after lost 3 positions in a matter of 3 laps. The race ended Bottas P1, Verstappen P2, Perez P3.
United States GP:
Verstappen nearly edged out Hamilton in a nail-biting ending to the US grand prix as he takes the win, but Hamilton takes the fastest lap. Hamilton started P2 but got ahead early in lap 1 with a great overtake around the outside. Pérez was third and managed to maintain his position, but he started to lose tenths per lap on race leaders Hamilton and Verstappen. Verstappen pitted early in lap 11 to put on hard tires as Hamilton chose to stay out until lap 14 resulting in an undercut by Verstappen to take P1. Since they pitted early it was imminent that there would be a second pit stop and it happened in lap 29 as Verstappen pitted first again and Hamilton followed much later in lap 37. At this point, Hamilton was 8.8 seconds behinds Verstappen and Hamilton was told “It’s all about the last three laps,” and indeed it was as with five laps remaining only 1.7 seconds split the two drivers as Hamilton was closing out on his fresher tires to try to take the podium from Verstappen. On the very last lap, Hamilton closed out enough to get DRS on Verstappen, but he managed to stay ahead and secure his victory by 1.3 seconds. Pérez closed out the podium, as Leclerc, Ricciardo, Bottas, Sainz, Norris, Tsunoda and Vettel (who managed to get there after starting P18 due to an engine change penalty) closed out the final point-paying spots.
The Mexican GP was a huge success for the Mexican driver, Sergio Perez became the first ever Mexican to get a podium in the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, his teammate Max Verstappen completely dominated the race finishing once again in P1, to make things even better for Red Bull, Valtteri Bottas spun out in lap 1 and was not able to maintain his usual pace causing him to score no points .The race in itself was at the time used as a reassurance to Red Bull and Max's fans of his possible world championship title, yet it did not contain exciting overtakes nor crashes.
Following the tradition of F1 the starting lap was full of excitement and chaos, with Valtteri Bottas spinning off after making contact with Daniell Ricciardo, Sergio Perez wnet wide, Yuki Tsunoda was also hit extremely hard, having his car "jump" out in the air which caused him to retire of the race, Ricciardo losing his front wing after a collision with George Russel, and Mick Schumacher spinning out after a contact with Ocon. The race restarted in Lap 5 and contrary to the first lap it was quite "peaceful" having only Lance Stroll go wide after a small contact with Daniel Ricciardo. Max was so unmatched in this race that Lewis Hamilton said on tenRadio "it's crazy I can't get close". The race ended with Max Vertsappen P1, Lewis Hamilton P2, Sergio Perez P3.
Brazilian (Interlagos) GP:
Hamilton qualified P1 for the sprint race in Brazil with a ridiculous lap but after inspection of the cars in the parc fermé his car failed a routine rear wing inspection due to what seemed to be a loose screw. His rear wing opened an extra 20mm and that was enough for the FIA to take action and send him to the back of the grid. Hamilton then proceeded to gain 10 positions in just 24 laps to start P10 in the actual race. Hamilton had just switched engines in the Turkish GP so he had something going for him but no one expected him to do what he did. The race started with Verstappen passing Bottas in turn 1, like he usually does, and Hamilton moving up to P5 in just 5 laps. Hamilton then took P2 from Pérez in a duel that lasted from lap 17-19 to start catching up to Verstappen a few tenths at a time. The first few pit stops occurred in lap 25 but it ended up creating massive traffic that forced both leaders to pit again, Verstappen in lap 41 and Hamilton in lap 44. Hamilton closed out Verstappen in lap 48 and attempted an overtake in turn 1after the DRS straight, but Verstappen forced himself and Hamilton off the track to maintain position. But it did not matter as in lap 58 Hamilton came back and passed him in the same turn to complete the best performance of 2021. Bottas closed out the podium and Sergio Pérez finished P4 in lap 70 after pitting for softs to get the fastest lap at the expense of Hamilton. Both Ferraris pulled off a two-stop strategy which landed Leclerc in P5 and Sainz in P6 after he lost three places in a collision with Lando Norris in lap 1. This altercation resulted in a puncture for Norris' rear-left tire, but he recovered from there to finish P10. Pierre Gasly passed the two Alpines after pitting twice, his change to hard tires in lap 50 helped him pass Ocon, who finished P9, and Alonso, who finished P8. Vettel missed out on points by 1 second, and his teammate Lance Stroll and Ricciardo retired mid-race due to technical issues.
This new race in the F1 calendar promised to be a great one as it was designed for moto GP, meaning lots of high speed corners and various overtaking opportunities. Hamilton continued to show how determined he was to win the championship as he put on a show for the viewers, finishing 25 seconds ahead of Max Verstappen. Verstappen had to deal with a 5 place grid drop as he finished his qualifying lap in double waved yellow flags, just like Bottas. He ended up with the fastest lap, but he potentially missed on P1 as he had to pass 5 drivers in front of him to reach Hamilton. The podium was topped off by a pleasant surprise from Fernando Alonso, as he hadn't been up there in 7 years. Just below him was Sergio Pérez, who had a great recovery race starting from P11, and his teammate Esteban Ocon to conclude a very successful race for Alpine. In P6 we saw yet another unfamiliar face in Lance Stroll, and behind him were the two Ferraris, Sainz and Leclerc. Lando Norris finished in P9 and Vettel came right behind him in P10. Gasly had a disappointing race as he finished P11 after failing a two-stop strategy starting from P2. Meanwhile, there were three tire punctures in this race, two for the Williams drivers, Russel and Latifi, and one for Bottas who was forced to retire.
Saudi Arabian (Jeddah) GP:
The Saudi Arabian GP proved to all of the fans that this season is the pinnacle of emotion and controversy, Jeddah became easily the most controversial race through the year so far and proved once again that this season was not over. This GP was exciting from the very beginning having Vertsappen make a astronomical lap at Qualifying and was sure to get pole position when he crashed into the wall because of a tyre lock up, a devastating sight for all Red Bull fans. Jeddah also showed us the brilliance of Lewis Hamilton earning himself his third win in a row causing the championship to be completely tied! Unfortunately it also showed us the imprudence of the F.I.A by allowing this race to take place, having 5 DNFs in dry weather.
Contrary to the pattern displayed this season the start of the Saudi Arabian GP was quite smooth, containing no crashes nor overtakes, yet soon after in Lap 10 we saw Mick Schumacher go into a barrier after losing control of his car in turn 21, which caused the safety car to be summoned, Bottas slowed down his car purposely with the intent to slow down Max Verstappen so Hamilton can have more time to pit and not lose his position, Max said "It's a **** absolute ****". Another controversy happened shortly after, in lap 13 while in Safety car the race was red flagged due to the "safety car gaining Red Bull too much advantage". The race then restarted at Lap 15 which was no stranger to accidents because in the main strait Georger Russel, Sergio Perez and Nikita Mazpein were involved in accidents and had to retire from the session. Sergio Perez got tagged from behind by Charles Leclerc when he was trying to close him off, George Russel and Nikita Mazepin crashed because the Russian misjudged his braking and rammed straight into the Brit's car, causing the race to be once again red flagged and restarting, during the meantime the F.I.A made Max Verstappen give back the position because there was incident in which he lightly pushed Hamilton of the track. The race restarted once again at lap 17 but this time Hamilton P1, which did not stay for much longer because Max Verstappen both overtook him by turn 1 and 2, yet shortly after the frenchmen could not defend the fierce Mercedes car and lost P2. In Lap 37 Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen were wheel to wheel which caused Max to leave the track and gain an illegal advantage from Hamilton, which the F.I.A did not let it pass and gave Verstappen a 5 second penalty and 2 penalty points to his licence and made him give back his position to Lewis, it was then that they crashed, to what seemed to be a miscommunication between both drivers, Verstappen braked and Hamilton was not able to react fully on time causing Lewis to lose his left front wing, we then saw Toto Wolff fully express what every Mercedes Fan was feeling at the moment. At lap 42 it was determined that the accident that happened at Lap 37 was a "racing incident" and followed through with their previous decision of asking Max to give back the position, the dutchmen responded almost immediately by overtaking Hamilton at lap 42. In Lap 43 the hunt was finally over with Hamilton overtaking Max by brilianting using the DRS at turn 27. The race ended Lewis Hamilton P1, Max Verstappen P2, Valtteri Bottas P3.
Abu Dhabi GP:
Max Verstappen is the world champion! After a very controversial race to end the F1 2021 season, Max Verstappen wins the Abu Dhabi GP, making him a 1 time world champion. Max Verstappen started P1 and Hamilton started P2, but Hamilton got a great start and passed him by turn 1. Verstappen then proceeded to try to catch up to Hamilton and went for a full send overtake down the inside of turn 6 sending Hamilton wide and off the track over the run-off. The stewards decided to not investigate and let them continue racing. Verstappen pitted first in lap 13 with Hamilton pitting only a lap later, leaving Pérez with the mission of holding off Hamilton to try to catch up to him. We then see a brilliant sequence where Pérez held off Hamilton for almost a whole lap on 20 lap old soft tires while Hamilton was on Brand new hard tires. This helped Verstappen to close out the gap he had to Hamilton, and Pérez pitted the very next lap. The podium looked certain for Hamilton as he managed to open an 11 second lead with only 6 laps to go, but then, a miracle happened. Nicolas Latifi crashed after trying to overtake Mick Schumacher, bringing out a safety car, which was the main cause for controversy in this race. In the first lap where the safety car was summoned, a message was sent out that no lapped cars would be able to unlap themselves, causing mass confusion between the drivers since the rules state clearly that all drivers must unlap themselves under a safety car. 3 laps later the FIA decided that they would only let the cars between Verstappen and Hamilton unlap themselves so that we could get a "proper season finale". When the cars finished unlapping themselves another controversy arose as another rule was broken. This time it was the rule that stated that the safety car will be brought in the next lap, but it was brought in the same lap so that we could have again a "proper season finale". This whole confusion resulted in Verstappen passing Hamilton in the final lap and becoming the world champion.
Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton
Max Verstappen had a great season and deserved to win it all. He was unlucky all season long with 3 DNF's and one major crash that made him finish outside the points in Hungary. All of the races that he finished where he wasn't smashed into he finished in P1 or P2. Hamilton is a dangerous driver and caused two crashes, one left only Verstappen out of the race in Silverstone and one that took both of them out in Monza. In Silverstone Hamilton attacked Verstappen in the fastest corner in the F1 calendar leaving him no space and sending him into the wall at 160mph and 51Gs of force. In Monza, Verstappen was ahead of Hamilton at the apex and Hamilton forced him into the run-off area which resulted in Verstappen's car being shot up into the air landing on top of Hamilton's car. Even if Verstappen finished P5 in Silverstone and Monza (which was never going to happen if he finished the race) he would win the championship even if he finished P7. In my opinion Hamilton could have deserved the win in the Abu Dhabi GP, but the Championship was Verstappen's all along.
The 7 time world champion did not disappoint as he performed magically this season, although he was quite simply robbed from the championship title. Both drivers had a spectacular season and rivalry, yet when it came to the final race an organization influenced the results. Hamilton was on the lead by 11 seconds prior to the safety car and was using a hard compound tyres with 30 laps of age, he was simply set for the championship, therefore the justification behind the F.I.A statement is flawed and could not be considered a "proper season finale". As a lover and fan for the sport I believe that what happens during a race cannot be altered when it is related to car accidents or "racing" issues, but it can when it relates to an organisation.
To conclude the entirety of the article I would like to briefly state that I believe that there will be no championship like this one, and we should never forget it!