8 ICONIC MOMENTS FROM THE 2020 SEASON
My top 10 most iconic and memorable moments from 2020.
Written by Humza Khan
I think we can all agree that 2020 was a season like no other, even with a lack of championship battle we were treated to some very iconic and memorable moments. In this article I take a quick look back at some of my personal favourites. Feel free to share your favourite moment from last season in the comments!
PIERRE GASLY'S DEBUT WIN AT MONZA
For a lot of us F1 fans the most heart-warming moment of 2020 was surely Pierre Gasly's epic debut win at Monza. After a very shaky 2019 and eventually getting dropped by Red Bull back into the sister team Alpha Tauri, a lot of people doubted Pierre's ability to bounce back and some even went as far as to say his career was already over. This is what makes Pierre's win at Monza even more special, no doubt he had some luck on his side but defending from an already faster McLaren being piloted by a talented, hungry and also win-less Carlos Sainz, that, that was all pure skill. Pierre kept cool and focused to bring the car home for the Italian outfit's second ever win, also their second home win, the first coming in the form of Sebastian Vettel for Toro Rosso at the exact same track in 2008. Pierre also became the first French driver to win a race since Olivier Panis at the Monaco GP 1996. Seeing Gasly sitting on the top stop soaking in all the glory was the kind of stuff we love to see in F1, a true underdog succeeding against all the odds. Goosebumps.
HAMILTON WINS THE BRITISH GP ON 3 WHEELS
If anyone could win a Grand Prix on three wheels I'd probably put money on it being Lewis Hamilton and that is exactly what happened at the 2020 British GP. On the final couple laps of the action-packed race both Mercedes cars and Carlos Sainz' McLaren ended up with punctures, first with Valtteri Bottas and then Sainz and halfway through the final lap race leader Hamilton's front left exploded. Whether you're a fan of his or not, the intensity from watching Lewis drag his limping machine to 230 km/h down the Wellington straight speaks volumes to his commitment, skill and absolute bravery, not to mention having Bono count down the gap to the super fast hunting Max Verstappen. That was really one of the most iconic ends to a race I've ever witnessed and will definitely not be forgotten for a very long time.
GROSJEAN SURVIVES FIREBALL AT THE BAHRAIN GP
It feels wrong to call Romain Grosjean's miraculous escape from his horrifying fireball crash as "iconic" but the fact that he walked away with minor injuries most certainly is. The images of his Haas car completely split in half and the huge explosion of fire had the whole F1 community with our hearts in our mouths for a good 5 minutes before it was confirmed that Romain was okay. It was honestly one of the most scariest scenes I've ever witnessed watching a live Grand Prix and I'm honestly so relieved Romain is okay. The reactions from the other drivers over the team radio and the live images of their reactions said it all. A huge hats off to the FIA, the marshalls in Bahrain and everyone in charge of the safety of modern day F1 cars as the outcome could've been so different. We can now look back at these images as a miracle rather than a bad memory.
SERGIO PEREZ CLINCHES DEBUT WIN IN SAKHIR
The other debut win of 2020 and a long time coming. Sergio Perez claiming his first ever F1 win in his 10th season and 190th attempt, becoming the new record holder for the most starts before debut win was very well deserved and possibly even more surprising in some way than Gasly's Monza victory. On the run up to the Sakhir GP, Perez' career was hanging in the balance, having been dropped by Racing Point early into the season, being replaced by Sebastian Vettel for 2021 despite Sergio's incredible performances. In fact, his win at Sakhir probably paved the way for his signing for Red Bull, having proved without a shadow of a doubt that he is the better option than Alex Albon. Sergio's drive was one for the history books, if there was ever a way to win your first race after 10 years, this was the dream way to do it, having dropped to the back of the grid on lap 1, then coming back through the field and then taking advantage of Mercedes massive mess up in the pits to come home to stand on the top step of the podium. A picture of ergio Perez, the true dictionary definition of "Iconic".
LEWIS HAMILTON'S COMEBACK DRIVE IN TURKEY
Lewis Hamilton's comeback drive on the Sunday of the Turkish GP weekend was one of the finest drives of his entire career. On a day where he could secure his record equalling 7th world title. The super slippery resurfaced tarmac made it tough to gather speed and was made for a poor Qualifying session for everyone but especially for reigning Champions, Mercedes. Lewis only qualified in 6th place on Saturday and had everyone writing him off for the win. Even for the first half of the race Lewis wasn't exactly setting the world alight as the Racing Point's of Stroll and Perez drove off in the distance but the experience and sheer skill from the Champ put him in a position to drive away into the distance as his closest competition imploded. He really proved his skill set in wet weather once again and showed his haters just how good he is, keeping his nose clean and staying out of trouble and driving his own race to come home with a driving masterclass and secure his 7t world title with a win. Lewis proved once again that he is the most skilled driver on the grid.
KIMI'S EPIC FIRST LAP IN PORTIMAO
At the age of 41 years old, Kimi Raikkonen showed he's lost none of his skill and used his years of experience to school the rest of the grid who were struggling on the slippery Portimao tarmac. In fact I'd go as far as to say that its the greatest first lap of all time, even rivalling Ayrton Senna's first lap at Donnington Park. Kimi overtook 10 cars by the end of the first lap, even surprising Verstappen by appearing in his mirrors at one point. For this reason it's one of my favourite and most iconic moments of last year.
RUSSELL'S STAND-OUT MERCEDES DEBUT
George Russell's incredible stand-in performance for Mercedes, replacing Covid-19 affected Lewis Hamilton won over the few doubters he had that he wasn't ready for the step up to the sharp end of the grid. Going from a lowly Williams to the Mercedes with limited running time and qualifying second and going on to absolutely destroy Bottas on race day, overtaking him early on in the race then again round the outside with an epic move. It was a coming of age race for Russell even if victory was taken away from him (twice!). Because of his performance Bottas is now under immense pressure to perform this season as it could be his last season in Mercedes overalls.
HULKENBERG'S SUPER SUB STAND-IN PERFORMANCES
Nico Hulkenberg's substitute performances at the 70th Anniversary and Eifel Grand Prix were one of the highlights of the season. Covering firstly at the British GP Hulk qualified a fairly impressive 13th after a last minute call-up to replace Sergio Perez after the Mexican contracted Coronavirus, unfortunately he only got a DNS on the Sunday due to technical issues. He ended up replacing Perez for the second Silverstone race as well which ended up possibly being one of the qualifying laps of the season with an incredible 3rd place in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix finishing only behind the pair of Mercedes drivers. Hulk's third appearance came at the Eifel GP, this time covering Lance Stroll who also contracted Covid-19. Hulk's home GP performance was truly epic, jumping into the car for Q1 with no prior practice he qualified in 20th and last but his race day performance which saw him climb to 8th place earned him the fan-voted 'Driver of the Day' award.