The 2021 Formula One season has to be one of the most exciting ones in quite a while. The two title protagonists, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, took it to the very last lap of the very last race to decide the end to the season. There were a number of races that were memorable but three certainly top the charts when it comes to overall excitement and drama. The Hungarian Grand Prix, the Italian Grand Prix, and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
In an incredible turn of events, two of the most unlikely drivers managed to finish on the top two podiums in an outstanding Hungarian Grand Prix. Alpine driver Esteban Ocon and Aston Martin veteran Sebastian Vettel finished first and second, respectively. Lewis Hamilton finished third after dropping to seventh due to a lengthy unplanned pitstop following the first safety flag in the first lap. He had started the race in first place. Verstappen started third, but a disastrous event on the first lap derailed his and several other drivers’ plans. He finished in tenth place.
There had been rain in the days leading up to the race, and the track was not completely dry. Mercedes driver Valterri Bottas slipped on a turn and collided with another driver, causing several others to crash out of the race because everyone was so close at the time. Six drivers had their races cut short, including Bottas and Sergio Perez. Verstappen was left in 14th place with a damaged car.
The championship was on a knife-edge heading into the Italian Grand Prix. The reigning champion, Lewis Hamilton, was three points behind Max Verstappen. Valterri Bottas, Hamilton’s teammate, won the sprint race just before the main race. Max Verstappen won the pole position, extending his lead to five points. But, on race day, everything fell apart for both championship contenders.
Hamilton and Verstappen were side-by-side on the sausage curve in Turn 1 on lap 26 of 53. Verstappen was barreling down the straight as Hamilton was coming out of the pitlane. Verstappen was launched off the curve at the turn due to a lack of space. He collided with Hamilton, taking both championship contenders out of the race. This freed up the other drivers to compete for glory in Monza. Daniel Ricciardo, driving for McLaren Mercedes, eventually won his first race since 2018. To cap off a fantastic day for McLaren, Lando Norris finished second, giving the team a historic 1-2.
The season-ending race of a dramatic season ended in the most dramatic way possible. Max Verstappen, a Red Bull driver, won his first world title after a safety car at the end of the race caused him and Lewis Hamilton to race wheel to wheel on the final lap. Hamilton led the race for the majority of it, but Williams driver Nicholas Latifi crashed on lap 54 of 58. As a result, there was a safety car on the track until lap 57. When the green flags were finally raised, the title characters raced wheel to wheel, with the Dutchman eventually taking the lead. Verstappen’s defence ultimately won him his maiden title, despite Hamilton’s best efforts to reclaim the position.
Although Verstappen started on pole, Hamilton got a better start when the five lights went out. However, on the first lap, it appeared that the Dutchman would pass Hamilton, but the latter strayed off track to maintain his lead. The FIA ruled that no investigation was required because Verstappen had left no room for Hamilton. Later, race director Michael Massey confirmed that Hamilton was asked to slow down and give up some of the advantage he may have gained.