The Biggest Disappointments of the 2021 F1 Season

Published 12/18/2021, 10:04 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan – June 6, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen looks dejected next to his car after crashing out of the race REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

The 2021 F1 season will be talked about for years to come. Drama and controversy ran throughout the season, and it was an emotional rollercoaster of a ride. The season had its highs, and it definitely had its lows. And some of these lows were disappointingly painful. Here’s looking back at some of the most stomach-dropping moments of the 2021 season.


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1. The Azerbaijan GP- Chaos in Baku

One of the first turning points of the championship, as both title contenders had a race to forget in Baku. On his way to victory, Max Verstappen crashed out on lap 47 of 51. A tire blowout saw Verstappen out of the race, and the red flags out. Thus, the restart looked promising for Hamilton, who was only just behind Sergio Perez.


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Alas, Hamilton had his ‘magic’ on, sending him straight into the run-off area on Turn 1. Hamilton finished out of the points; a disappointing outcome for both the team and the driver.

2. Lando Norris’ disastrous day in Sochi

As the cars made their way around the Autodrom, the roars of the crowd were in approval of Lando Norris, who had a commanding race lead. On his way to a maiden F1 win, Norris defended against Lewis Hamilton, who was competing for a 100th victory.

However, the skies got cloudy, and with only a few laps left to the checkered flag, the rain hit the tarmac. However, as the teams called in their drivers to switch to intermediate tires, Norris stayed out; initially, so did Hamilton.

Mercedes was the first to pull the trigger, calling in their driver to switch to the race-winning intermediates. As Hamilton inched closer to Norris, who danced around on slick boots, the McLaren driver spun into the run-off area. Norris saw his maiden victory slowly slip away as Hamilton went on to celebrate becoming a centurion.

3. The lap of the season lost – Verstappen in Jeddah

After some uncertain practice sessions, Red Bull went into Saturday’s qualifying with fingers crossed for pole. As the timer ticked down on the Q3 session, Hamilton had set a good but achievable lap. Later, Verstappen charged through the street circuit.

With pole position in sight, Verstappen had driven the lap of the season. It was a flawless lap from the Dutchman; unless it wasn’t. In the final corner, Verstappen lost his rears and found himself in the wall.

It was heartbreaking, as Verstappen walked to the pits with his head down, having handed over a crucial pole position to his rival.

4. Kimi Raikkonen’s anti-climactic F1 retirement

Many eyes were on Kimi Raikkonen in Abu Dhabi as F1’s beloved Iceman would take his final bow after the race. However, Raikkonen never met the checkered flag. His Alfa Romeo had an issue with its brakes, causing the driver to bring his machine back to the garage.

This robbed Kimi of doing some traditional F1 moments like donuts and in-lap radio messages. Raikkonen said“It was not the greatest end but it happens as sometimes it goes like this.”

5. Leclerc sits out home race

In a season where the home races have been glorious events, Leclerc had to witness his from the sideline. Charles Leclerc fought hard for a pole position; one that he got after he crashed into the barriers and brought the red flag out.

Regardless of the crash, Leclerc was glad to be in pole position. However, gearbox damage meant that the Ferrari was too damaged to race on Sunday.

Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – The car of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is recovered after he crashed in qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Sebastien Nogier

Leclerc took it in his stride. “It’s happened in the past and many, many times I am harsh to myself. But if there was any time during the weekend I had to push [it was] Q3 in Monaco. It’s part of the game; you can always learn from it but I am not too harsh on myself for that one.”

6. Podium snatched from Vettel in Hungary


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F1 celebrated the day Esteban Ocon saw his maiden victory and Sebastian Vettel was once again on the podium. After a disastrous race start, Ocon found himself in the lead, with Vettel breathing down his neck. However, Vettel stayed in P2, lifting a well-deserved second trophy of the season.

Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – August 1, 2021 Second placed Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin celebrates on the podium after the race REUTERS/David W Cerny

However, soon, his Aston Martin was under investigation as the FIA could not extract a sufficient sample of fuel from the car. Vettel was disqualified, and his trophy was taken away. “I was on the podium, I had the hype of the race. It’s just really afterwards that you’re not allowed to take the reward, as in the trophy, as in the points, so I think that’s the big disappointment.”


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Thus, the season surely had its heartbreaking and nail-biting moments- all to give us a season we may never forget.

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Shreya Sanjeev

776 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.