When the Drivers Got Creative- Top 5 Helmet Designs From the 2021 F1 Season

Published 12/27/2021, 11:31 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – May 23, 2021 McLaren’s Lando Norris celebrates finishing third place after the match Pool via REUTERS/Sebastien Nogier

A lot of the big things are exciting about the sport. Lights out, the race to the first corner, on-track duels, and post-race celebration. Yet F1 has many nuances with celebrating as well. Like helmets! Especially one-off helmets that usually carry some significance to the driver. Here’s looking at some of the most stunning lid designs of the season.


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In a season with 22 rounds, a lot of places held a special meaning to the drivers. Thus, this was a season that kept on giving, making it difficult to boil down these pieces of art to a small list of five.


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5. Lewis Hamilton’s iconic Brazilian GP helmet

The Brazilian GP. What a weekend for Lewis Hamilton. With obstacles thrown in the drivers’ way one after the other, it was a weekend of pure resilience for Hamilton. He was on his hero’s home ground and magically, Hamilton drew strength from it and Ayrton Senna.

Formula One F1 – Brazilian Grand Prix – Jose Carlos Pace Circuit, Sao Paulo, Brazil – November 14, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the race REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

From last on the grid to P5 for the sprint, to a further five-place penalty pushing him to tenth; Hamilton won the race on Sunday with a 10-second advantage over his rival. With the country’s colors on his lid, Hamilton got out of his car, victorious, and pointed at his helmet: Still We Rise.

4. When F1 and NASCAR collide- Ricciardo in Austin

The American GP was one to remember for Daniel Ricciardo. Still running on the high from his Moza win, Ricciardo would reap the benefits of his famous bet with Zak Brown. Ready to drive in his idol and NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt’s car, the weekend was Daniel Ricciardo’s.

Already madly in love with the city of Austin, an excited Honey Badger dedicated his momentous weekend’s helmet to his idol. With a design influenced by Earnhardt’s lid itself. Dark and ravishing- the lid was one to remember.

3. George Russell’s tribute to Sir Frank Williams

Ahead of the Saudi Arabian GP, the sport was met with the sad news of Sir William’s passing. A pioneer of the sport and the backbone of a championship-winning team, Sir Frank had been an inspiration for many. This included George Russell, who found his first F1 home with the team.

Thus, in a fitting way, Mr.Saturday dedicated his lid for the weekend to the maestro. Keeping it modest, the simple navy blue helmet was an ode to Sir Frank’s favorite color. Further, it took inspiration from the helmet he used when he drove around Silverstone with Lewis Hamilton. A perfect lid with the perfect meaning behind it.

2. McLaren duo’s quaint Monaco lids

Hands down some of the best helmets of the season. Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris hit the mark with every helmet they’ve customized this season, but Monaco takes the cake. Hand in hand with the absolutely gorgeous Gulf livery, the drivers drew inspiration from the marque as well.

Rugged and gloriously orange, the helmets oh, so retro. Lando stuck with the Gulf colors, complete with old-school goggles in the front. Ricciardo, on the other hand, went with a vintage McLaren font with his driving number reminiscent of the glory days.

1. Valtteri Bottas’ throwback to F1 career with Mercedes

A close call between the McLaren Monaco lids and this one, Bottas takes the win. With extra points for creativity, the Finn’s fill-in-the-blank helmet was both heartwarming and beautiful. Pictures of his time with Mercedes surrounded the helmet; from pictures of their first win together to the last one in Turkey- the helmet was a clever trip down memory lane.

What gives Bottas the extra points, however, is that in a later video for Mercedes, Valtteri sat down with Toto Wolff to fill in the puzzles on the helmet. He later gave Wolff the helmet, a perfect ode to five years of glory.

A special mention


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The list wouldn’t be complete without Mick Schumacher’s lid from the Belgian GP. The stars had truly aligned for Mick Schumacher for the 2021 Belgian GP. In his rookie season, Schumacher found himself on the track his father made his debut with Benetton exactly 30 years ago.


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For the occasion, Schumi Jr. wore a replica of his father’s first lid from three decades ago; complete with an M. Schumacher on the side. Enough to make anyone tear up.

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Shreya Sanjeev

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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.