The 2021 season has been over for a while and Formula 1 fans are counting down to the new year. Yet it is also possible to look back on the 2021 season, which came with many bizarre events. View the list of the most special and special events of the 2021 Formula 1 season here.
There have been plenty of special moments during the past Formula 1 season, such as crashes, extreme mistakes or surprising podium places and victories. What exactly happened and what made the event so special? What were the consequences of the event and were there still consequences for certain driver actions? F1Maximum goes down the list of the most bizarre events of the past year.
6: The soaking wet weekend in Belgium
To kick off, we start with the soaking wet and special weekend in Belgium. The fact that this event can be found ‘only’ at number six shows once again how special the 2021 season was. During the quite rainy qualifying it was already a big spectacle with plenty of surprises. During Q3 Lando Norris crashed really hard in Eau Rouge. The McLaren driver hit the wall and then slid around the track at full speed. The crash looked violent, but luckily the Briton got out of the car unscathed. A good moment was when Sebastian Vettel went to see if the young McLaren driver was okay. The German only drove on when he saw that his British colleague was unharmed.
Of course crazier things happened that weekend at Spa-Francorchamps. The big surprise in Q3 was George Russell. The Williams driver was in top form throughout qualifying. In the final phase of qualifying, he also managed to outpace Lewis Hamilton. Next season he can actually show whether he is better in an equivalent car, but now the young Briton has already done it in a Williams car. With a time of 2:00.086, Russell was 0.013 faster than Hamilton in the melee of rain-soaked qualifying, making him the star of Saturday’s session with P2.
Russell takes pole position on a soaking wet Spa-Francorchamps.
The race itself was also special, especially because it would be the shortest race in Formula 1 history. It was raining very hard in Belgium and therefore it took a long time before the cars actually drove around the track. Although three laps were completed, they were all behind the safety car. The safety of the drivers could not be guaranteed by the race management due to the bad weather. However, the Belgian Grand Prix has ensured that Formula 1 will see whether the spray that the cars produce during bad weather can be reduced. The spectators came for nothing and only got wet. It is hoped that the next Grand Prix in Belgium can continue ‘as usual’.
5: Torpedo Bottas turns Hungarian Grand Prix upside down
During the start of the Hungarian Grand Prix it became a big chaos at the first corner. The track was wet and the road surface was slippery. The two Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas both started from the front row, with behind them the two Red Bulls ready to attack. Bottas had a bad start and dropped back to P5, while Verstappen quickly took over P2. Bottas, on the other hand, showed his ignorance and torpedoed his car into the back of Norris. Total chaos was the result of the Finn’s bizarre action.
Bottas not only knocked himself out of the race, but also ruined the race of many other drivers. As a result of the collision with Bottas, Norris also hit Max Verstappen against the side of his car. Sergio Pérez was also hit by the Mercedes driver. The Mexican was ultimately unable to continue with the race, just like Bottas. Verstappen, on the other hand, was able to continue, but had to race with a broken car that had been repaired with tape.
The biggest surprise in Hungary was of course Esteban Ocon. Thanks to all the chaos and the mistakes Hamilton and Mercedes made, the Frenchman took victory in Hungary. It was the first Grand Prix win of his career. Vettel also caused a surprise by crossing the finish line in second, but his race took a turn for the worse. The German was eventually disqualified by race officials because his car had too little fuel in the tank. In Hungary it was a big chaos, but it made the race a special one.
An unusual composition on the podium after the race in Hungary.
4: Crashing Verstappen and Hamilton
At Silverstone, it came to a hard confrontation between Verstappen and Hamilton for the first time. The two ruffs went through Copse corner together and the seven-time world champion hit the Red Bull driver’s rear tire. The Dutchman eventually ended up in the tire stack and even had to go to the hospital for a check-up. The relatively light penalty that the FIA eventually handed out to Hamilton was debatable. The defending champion had eliminated his direct opponent and ultimately took advantage of the situation with ‘only’ a time penalty.
Hamilton’s actions after the race were also good for a lot of criticism. The victory party with the British public was according to many, including Camp Verstappen, very exaggerated, especially because Verstappen’s condition was not yet known at that time. Fortunately, Verstappen turned out to be unharmed, but called the action disrespectful. It caused the relationship between the two to deteriorate.
In Italy it would come to another crash between Hamilton and Verstappen, where this time Verstappen was blamed by the FIA. After the two had to stop their race in the gravel pit, the Limburger was given a grid penalty for the following race weekend. The stewards’ decision aroused much outrage among the fans and Verstappen himself also disagreed with his penalty.
3: Norris performs almost perfectly in Russia, but loses victory
The most painful event of the entire 2021 season has to have happened during the Russian Grand Prix. Norris already managed to surprise during qualifying by taking pole position. The 22-year-old Briton surprisingly took his first pole position of his career. Carlos Sainz took P2 in Russia and Russell also managed to surprise again here by taking P3. Hamilton ended up in P4, while Verstappen had to start in twentieth after an engine change.
After the race, Norris is comforted by Lewis Hamilton
So Norris started first and actually led the entire race. Everyone awarded the 22-year-old McLaren driver his very first Grand Prix victory of his Formula 1 career, but unfortunately it was not to be. During the closing stages of the race, it suddenly started to rain and track conditions deteriorated. Many drivers switched to the intermediates, but the McLaren driver refused and chose to continue on slicks. Unfortunately, it was impossible for him and it resulted in a crazy final phase, in which Hamilton took the victory and Verstappen finished second. It was a very painful and bizarre final phase for Norris. It is hoped that the young Briton can really take his first victory in 2022.
2: Red Flags in Jeddah Cause Chaotic Race
The question was whether the Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia could start, because the circuit was still under construction for the start of the race weekend. In the end, everything was finished on time, but it was a task that no one thought possible. During the week that the Grand Prix was supposed to be held, the construction workers of the circuit still quietly built on the surrounding facilities. Fortunately, the drivers were able to complete the first and second free practice on Friday and it was immediately apparent that the track was very fast, but also that the walls were close to the track. A small mistake could easily lead to an accident and enough mistakes were made in Jeddah.
During qualifying, Charles Leclerc could already be seen hitting the wall, but during the Grand Prix there was an identical crash by Mick Schumacher that raised a red flag. It was only the beginning of a destructive race. There were five dropouts during this race, but the most talked-about part of the race was the collision between Hamilton and Verstappen. The two had a hard fight with each other throughout the race. The Briton eventually bumped into the back of the Red Bull driver.
Although both were racing hard, race officials pointed to Verstappen as the scapegoat. For each incident, the Dutchman was given a penalty which not only caused the Dutchman to give up the lead in the race, but also that he was credited with unnecessary penalty points on his racing license. Even for the collision that seems to have been caused by Hamilton, the Limburger was punished. So it was one big joke in Saudi Arabia and the FIA inconsistency here was obvious. The crash that Hamilton caused in Great Britain is more permissible than Verstappen’s hard and aggressive driving style.
1: The Abu Dhabi Miracle and the Race Director’s Failure
The decision would then eventually be made in Abu Dhabi. Verstappen and Hamilton entered the race with an equal number of points. However, the advantage lay with the 24-year-old Dutchman, who had scored one more Grand Prix victory this season. Verstappen was allowed to start from P1 during the race and Hamilton was behind that. The Dutchman had a bad road and the seven-time world champion was able to strike immediately. Verstappen, however, did not give up and decided to strike in turn nine. Verstappen’s action seemed to be good and Hamilton even had to cut off part of the track to make the corner. Everyone thought the race management would demand that the Briton return the position, but to everyone’s surprise, that didn’t happen.
Hamilton was in the lead for a long time during the race. Pérez managed to make it quite difficult for the Briton and deserves all the respect in the world for that. Verstappen was able to hook up again and the race seemed to be exciting again, but Hamilton quickly drove away. A late safety car caused by Nicholas Latifi proved to be the stumbling block for Hamilton and Mercedes, while Verstappen and Red Bull took full advantage of the safety car.
Ultimately, race management also played a crucial role in the Dutch Red Bull driver’s victory. Michael Masi decided to adjust the rules on the spot, something that the race management is allowed to do. The Australian race director chose to overtake the five cars between Hamilton and Verstappen so that the two title competitors could race one last lap. Hamilton had no chance on his old hard tires against Verstappen’s fresher softs. The first world title of the Dutchman became a fact, but the inconsistency of the race management was also visible here.