The biggest blunders of the 2021 racing season

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Valtteri Bottas, Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix

The GP weekend at the Hungaroring started so well for Mercedes. The star brand took a handsome 1-2 in qualifying. A shower of rain before the start made it all a bit more exciting. Valtteri Bottas started second, but got off to a bad start on the initial start and was immediately overtaken by a number of competitors. In an attempt to make up for lost ground, the experienced Finn overtook the first corner. A huge error of judgment, after which he crashed into the back of Lando Norris. That subsequently caused a real carom, with both Red Bulls as victims.

Sergio Perez, Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix

In motorsports it is very common for the drivers to do a reconnaissance lap on their way to the grid. The Formula 1 drivers sometimes choose to drive several, to feel how the car is doing and what the track conditions are like. When conditions are cunning, danger lurks. Sergio Perez discovered this at Spa-Francorchamps. The Mexican was allowed to take seventh on the grid, but crashed on his reconnaissance lap at the exit of Les Combes. Crashing before the race has started, that never looks good on your resume…

Lewis Hamilton, Azerbaijan Formula 1 Grand Prix

Max Verstappen looked on his way to a resounding victory in the streets of Baku, until his left rear tire burst a few laps before the end. A DNF was the result. Due to the many parts on the race line, race director Michael Masi chose a red flag. The neutralization was followed by a standing restart for a two-lap sprint race. Lewis Hamilton was next to pole sitter Sergio Perez and had the chance to make up a lot of points on his already retired title rival. A failure with the so-called ‘magic button’, in which the brake balance is shifted completely to the front, ruined everything. Instead of a surefire second place – or possibly even a win given his better initial start – Hamilton went straight into the first corner and finished scoreless. Painful.

Antonio Giovinazzi, Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix

After Yuki Tsunoda’s retirement, Alfa Romeo seized the safety car period to call in Antonio Giovinazzi for a fresh set of rubber. The Italian was hoping for a ‘free’ pit stop, but it ended in a nightmare. At the last minute, one of the mechanics discovered that one of the new tires was flat. Unprecedented in Formula 1, and one of the longest pit stops of the year – although Mercedes made it even more colorful with Bottas in Monaco.

Enea Bastianini, MotoGP Italian Grand Prix

It is not uncommon for a rider to fall in MotoGP. After all, they push the limits and a mistake is often punished mercilessly. What is less common is a crash in the formation lap. That happened to the not too observant Enea Bastianini. The Italian was too busy getting his tires and brakes up to temperature and didn’t pay attention to what was happening in front of him on the warm-up lap. At the last moment he saw Johann Zarco driving slowly in front of him. The Avintia rider squeezed the brakes, but it was too late. An extremely clumsy collision turned out to be inevitable.

Alex Rins, MotoGP Grand Prix of Catalonia

Alex Rins’ 2021 season was marked by crashes. The most notable crash happened in Barcelona, ​​even before the weekend even started. The Suzuki rider did the track walk on his bike and said he had to send “an important message” on his phone. He did that while cycling, as a result of which he overlooked a van. The Spaniard lost control and slammed into the Spanish asphalt. An unfortunate moment, where he broke his forearm and had to watch from the sidelines for the rest of the weekend.

Fabio Quartararo, MotoGP French Grand Prix

Fabio Quartararo had an excellent season, becoming the first Frenchman to be crowned MotoGP champion. However, things did not always go well for the talented driver. Take his home race at Le Mans. Quartararo battled for the win, but then a rain shower made it a lot more challenging. The drivers entered the pits for a machine change. However, the Frenchman stopped at the wrong pit box – that of Enea Bastianini – only to stop a few seconds later in the wrong place with his own team – which was reserved for teammate Maverick Viñales! As well as costing him valuable seconds, he was also awarded a long-lap penalty. He could therefore write the profit on his stomach. A few months later, he did exactly the same at the Red Bull Ring, where he also stopped at Viñales’ box.

Francesco Bagnaia, MotoGP Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna

With victories in Aragon and Misano, Pecco Bagnaia narrowed his gap to World Cup leader Fabio Quartararo. The Italian was also firmly in control in the second race at Misano. Bagnaia led the race while rival Quartararo struggled to come forward after a poor qualifying. Just as the victory seemed imminent, the Ducati rider crashed. The result of an incorrect tire choice, according to his mentor Valentino Rossi afterwards. In the end, Bagnaia finished the season 26 points behind. The world could have looked very different if the Italian had taken 25 points on home soil.

Formula E race Valencia

Due to the corona pandemic, several Formula E events had to be canceled. The organization had to search head over heels for alternatives to still set up a decent calendar. The Valencia circuit made its facilities available. However, the permanent race track was not suitable for the Formula E cars, which require heavy braking zones to recharge the batteries. It first went wrong when the race management reduced the amount of available energy too far after a neutralization. Then race leader Antonio Felix da Costa made the mistake on the restart by crossing the line a few seconds early. As a result, the field had to complete not one but two more laps. Many of them ran out of energy, and one rider after another fell silent. A total chaos, with only nine classified drivers in the end. Nyck de Vries had things in order and took the win.

Elfyn Evans, WRC Rally of Croatia

For the Power Stage in the Croatia Rally, Elfyn Evans was almost four seconds ahead of his first pursuer Sebastien Ogier. The Toyota driver had to cover the last fourteen kilometers without any problems to win the title and to fully participate in the title race again. Evans had everything under control at the last measuring point of the test. However, the Briton made a mistake in the very last corner. A few precious seconds were lost and Ogier took the overall victory with a six tenth lead.

Carlos Sainz, Dakar Rally

Even a rally legend like Carlos Sainz makes mistakes, sometimes really stupid ones. The Spaniard went on the hunt for a new overall victory in the Dakar Rally in January 2021. The chances of the final victory of the Matador went up in smoke due to a simple navigation error. The wind had swept away the traces of the engines that had started in front of the cars. Sainz and co-pilot Lucas Cruz got lost in the wasteland. The pair finally came in more than half an hour behind. The lost time was never made up for.

David Vidales and Dino Beganovic, FREC Monza

The Formula Regional Europe season was dominated by Gregoire Saucy, who left only a few crumbs for the competition. Prema teammates David Vidales and Dino Beganovic wanted to add some shine to their season with a win during the final in Monza. The pair fought hard for the lead and did everything they could to outsmart the rival. They arrived at the second chicane at full speed, but neither of them would give in. The two left the track and gave extra gas in the run-off lane. In doing so, however, they forgot the ‘sandwiches’. Vidales flew into the air, lost control of his car and tapped Beganovic. Instead of a resounding 1-2, the season ended in tears.

Gabriel Rodrigo, Moto3 Austrian Grand Prix

The young talent Gabriel Rodrigo will remember the Austrian Grand Prix with few good memories. The Gresini rider did not make himself very popular in practice three by driving Ryusei Yamanaka off the track. That put him on a pitlane start, but he was still allowed to participate in qualifying for whatever reason. A bad decision! In Q2, the Argentine was again involved in an incident that caused Tatsuki Suzuki – the fastest man at the time – to crash.

Darryn Binder, Moto3 Algarve Grand Prix

With a 21 point lead over his first pursuer Dennis Foggia, Pedro Acosta started the final two races of the Moto3 Championship. The title was within reach, but that was beyond Darryn Binder. In Portugal, Acosta had his first match point, but Foggia started the last round as the leader. Binder, not a contender for the title, then completely missed his braking point and drove Foggia out of the race. The title belonged to his main rival.

Kelvin van der Linde, DTM Norisring

Red Bull talent Liam Lawson started the final weekend at the Norisring as the main title contender. With fourteen points ahead of Kelvin van der Linde, he had the best papers. There were two races on the program, and twice Van der Linde made a big mistake. After the start of the first race, he dove with a desperate action inside Lawson, causing chaos and damage. However, both drivers were able to continue on their way. The next day, history repeated itself. Again there was a collision, in which Lawson was immediately eliminated. At the end of the song Maximilian Götz – with the necessary controversial team orders – took the title with a smile.

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