The 2020 F1 world championship turned out to be quite an eventful season to watch for the fans. Although the top two places on the standings were locked out, there were massive shufflings in the middle, as the uncertainty kept increasing as each weekend passed by.
What was more interesting about 2020 was the unpredictable race weekends. The season produced one of the best races in recent years, with a few ending in a non-Mercedes and non-Red Bull podium lock-outs.
However, let’s take a look at the five best races of the highly applauded 2020 F1 season.
As the lights went out, the top three looked solid and showed no signs of change. However, it was Daniil Kvyat’s massive accident on lap 13 that opened the door to an eventful race. Safety car joined the track, as the Marshals were busy clearing off the shattered AlphaTauri. Using this as an opportunity, Mercedes chose to double-stack their drivers.
Similar to Mercedes, most of the teams brought their drivers into the pits and fitted their cars with hard tires. Unfortunately, they didn’t realize then that the tires might not last till the end of the race.
It all started with Kimi Raikkonen on lap 48 when the cameras turned towards the Finn driving with a damaged front wing and punctured front-left tire.
The next victim was Bottas. Apparently, his tires gave up just a turn after the pit-lane entry. Hence, he had to go around the track before going in for a tire change. Eventually, he ended up in P11.
Meanwhile, with tires giving up around Max, on lap 51, Red Bull decided to bring in the Dutchman for a tire-change. As he drove his car into the pits, Carlos Sainz lost his tires as well. It was painful to watch as he was driving in a brilliant P4. The puncture meant that he ended up in P16.
It was the final lap. And what happened?
Well, Lewis suffered a puncture. Lucky for him, he was 38 seconds ahead of Max. However, when he reached the finish line, Max was just six seconds behind, as the race produced a nail-biting finish. Meanwhile, Charles Leclerc capitalized on Bottas’s misery to claim his second podium of 2020.
Although Mercedes dominated through the race, major actions were taking place behind them. Max suffered power failure during race start and joined the bottom-field even before turn 1. He was looking to keep himself out of trouble.
Unfortunately, Pierre Gasly late-braked and slammed into Kimi Raikkonen, who as a result took Max with him, The three drivers ended up in the gravel trap. The safety car was called out, and as the marshals cleared the damaged cars, the race restarted on lap 6.
However, even before the cars reached turn 1, the stewards called for a red flag. The rear pack assumed that the race had started and started speeding. Unfortunately, their assumptions were wrong. Bottas was still going slow until the start-finish line to deny Lewis of the slipstream.
This caused a massive pile-up in the back, as cars collided with each other and making a massive mess. Giovinazzi, Sainz, Latifi, and Magnussen retired from the race. This was followed by a standing start from lap 10.
With Max out of the picture, the battle for P3 was on. Eventually, it was a close fight between Stroll, Albon, and Ricciardo for that final podium spot. On lap 43, the Canadian slammed into the barriers while going around Arrabbiata 2, calling for yet another red flag.
As the race started for the third time, Albon jumped past Ricciardo, claiming his first-ever podium finish in F1. Further ahead, it was Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas dominating P1 and P2.
As the lights went out on the soaking wet track, the Racing Point drivers pulled away with ease and held onto P1 and P2 for quite a while. The duo dominated the grid as they kept lapping way faster than the others behind.
Unfortunately for Stroll, it all went haywire after his first pit stop, as his tires never came alive throughout the race. Meanwhile, Perez was looking strong for his first race win, but it all disappeared when he witnessed Lewis’s Mercedes closing in on him.
Perez had a much bigger task in hand, which is to manage his tires. Hence, he gave up the lead without much fight. Lewis consequently took over the lead while his teammate had a miserable race, as he kept spinning his car around occasionally.
Lewis gained a healthy lead from Perez. However, the Mexican wasn’t safe, as the two Ferraris were on fresher tires and rapidly inching toward the Racing Point. It was at the very last lap when Leclerc and Vettel caught up with the struggling Perez.
Despite the fact that Lewis won the race and the championship, the cameras were still glued to the battle for P2. Leclerc got ahead of Perez before turn 10, as the latter ran wide into turn 9. However, Perez was not going to go down without a fight.
There was a massive straight ahead, and Perez used his straight-line speed to pile up pressure on the Monegasque. In an attempt to defend, Leclerc ran wide into turn 12, as Perez took over the P2. What’s more? Vettel saw the opening and pounced on it to secure his first podium of 2020.
Meanwhile, Leclerc, within just two turns, fell from P2 to P4, out of the podium places.
Who would have thought that Monza was going to produce an unpredictable race?
Well, it turned out to be one of the best races in Formula 1 since the 2019 Brazilian GP. It looked like a normal race, with Lewis leaving the pack away, and going into the tire management phase.
However, the race came alive when Magnussen stopped his car right outside the pit-lane entry. The stewards closed the pit-lane until the car was cleared. Unfortunately, Mercedes failed to notice that, as Lewis entered the pits. The moment he pitted, he was under investigation.
As the race restarted, the race witnessed a scary crash from Leclerc, as he submerged into the tire barriers beyond the run-off area around parabolica. Considering the severity of the crash, the Stewards decided to stop the race. Once the track was all set, the race restarted from lap 28.
Lewis had a 10-second stop-go penalty over his head. He managed to gain a couple of seconds from the pack before pitting. Eventually, he came out last.
Meanwhile, the fight for P1 was wide open, and Gasly, Sainz, and Stroll were just three seconds apart. By the final lap, Sainz managed to catch up with Gasly, as he tried his best to get past him. Unfortunately, his efforts failed to deliver his intended results, as Gasly won the race.
Sainz was just 0.415 seconds behind the Frenchman and crossed the line in P2, and Stroll rounded off the podium places. Meanwhile, the main man, Lewis, could only come home in P7.
It was yet another front-row lock-out for Mercedes. The race start, too, witnessed the team get away with perfection, as they held on to the top two places.
Below that, the fight for P3 was extremely close. Leclerc tangled with Perez as he broke his suspension and slammed into the barrier. Unfortunately, Max, too, got caught in the mix-up, as he landed in the gravel trap in an attempt to avoid the two cars.
Both Leclerc and Max retired as Perez managed to keep his car running and limped into the pits for fresh tires. From there on, it was all about recovery for Perez.
On lap 62, debutant driver, Jack Aitken, lost his rear and slammed into the barriers right after the final turn. To clear out the debris, the stewards brought in the safety car, and Mercedes identified this as an opportunity to get their drivers a fresh set of tires.
Unfortunately, it did not go the way they planned. Due to a miscommunication, the crew had mixed two sets of tires, leaving the two Mercedes drivers stranded on the pit box. Although Russell was still in the lead, he had to come into the pits again, as he had the wrong sets of tires on his car.
This gave Perez a clear track ahead. He pulled away pretty well and created a huge gap from second-placed Ocon. However, Russell was still catching up, and reached P2, with over 10 laps in hand. But his hopes of winning the race disappeared when his tire suffered a puncture.
Eventually, Sergio Perez came home to win his first-ever Grand Prix in F1, as Ocon secured his first podium. Stroll’s P3 handed Racing Point their first double-podium finish in F1 as well.
2020 managed to deliver these five incredible races over the season. With 2021 all set to show up, how good is the upcoming season going to be? Can the fans witness a bigger list than that of 2020? Only time will tell.