Hamilton Heroics Seal the Deal
Lewis Hamilton raced to a record-equalling 7th World Championship, tying Michael Schumacher’s 16-year-old record. Hamilton – winner of the 2020 World Driver’s Championship by 124 points – is due to become a Knight Bachelor over New Year's.
The 35-year-old was also named BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
The final stretch of the 2020 Formula One season featured a Grand Prix in Portugal for the first time since 1996, as Algarve became the 73rd different track in the sport’s history.
Hamilton became polesitter for an astonishing 97th time as he edged fellow Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas by 100 milliseconds.
Hamilton took his 92nd chequered flag to become the outright record-holder for most GP wins.
Bottas and Max Verstappen completed the podium, ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly of AlphaTauri.
Hamilton set the fastest lap of the race in front of 27,500 fans who were in attendance for the main race.
The next stop on the calendar was back inside Italy for a third time this year as Imola hosted the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. This was the first F1 race weekend at the track since the 2006 San Marino GP.
Bottas pipped Hamilton by 0,1s to grab pole position.
Mercedes swept to their 7th successive World Constructor’s title as the pair of Hamilton & Bottas finished ahead of Renault's Daniel Ricciardo, who took his second podium place in three races.
The top 3 were followed by the trio of Daniil Kvyat (AlphaTauri), Leclerc, and Sergio Pérez (Racing Point).
Racewinner Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap of the race.
13,000 fans were initially expected to attend the race however the ongoing situation surrounding COVID-19 in Italy meant that the race was held behind closed doors.
Round 14 saw F1 make a return to Turkey after a 9-year-long hiatus. In a wet qualifying at Istanbul Park, Racing Point's Lance Stroll became the fifth-youngest driver in history to qualify on pole, and the first Canadian to do so since Jacques Villeneuve in 1997.
After qualifying P6, Lewis Hamilton raced to the finish line more than half a minute quicker than runner-up Sergio Pérez who took his first podium of the year.
Hamilton's 94th victory subsequently sealed his fourth consecutive World Driver’s Championship and seventh overall – matching Michael Schumacher’s all-time record.
Just like Schumacher before him, Hamilton captured his seventh crown at the age of 35.
Despite both Ferraris qualifying outside the top 10 for a fourth time this year, Sebastian Vettel flew up to P3 on the opening lap. The four-time World Champion held on to earn his first podium in more than a year since the 2019 Mexican GP.
Teammate Leclerc took P4 to give the Scuderia their best points total (27) from any race this season.
McLaren’s Lando Norris set the fastest lap in Istanbul.
This race and all subsequent races this year were held behind closed doors.
Next up was the Bahrain GP where Hamilton took his 10th pole position of the season; Mercedes also completed their 11th front row lockout of 2020.
After their heroics in the previous race, Ferrari hit a stern reality check as both cars failed to reach final qualifying in the desert.
The race was red flagged after just 30 seconds when Haas driver Romain Grosjean was involved in a devastating crash as his car went into the barrier at approximately 220km/h. The Haas split in two and the anterior half – containing the driver compartment – ignited into flames. Fortunately the French driver walked away from the wreckage, but suffered second-degree burns to his wrists and ankles.
Hamilton claimed a fifth straight win by just 1,2 seconds ahead of Verstappen, who set the fastest lap. Red Bull teammate Alex Albon completed the podium ahead of the McLaren duo of Norris and Carlos Sainz Jr.
Ferrari scraped just a single point as Leclerc finished P10 with Vettel in P13.
The paddock remained in the desert the following weekend for the penultimate race of the season, as the Sakhir Grand Prix took place on the outer track of the Bahrain International Circuit.
Following his appalling crash the previous weekend, Grosjean was discharged from hospital less than 72 hours after the horrendous incident, in what proved to be his last race of the season and his final appearance in the sport for the time-being.
For the two remaining races of the year, Grosjean was replaced at Haas by Pietro Fittipaldi – grandson of two-time F1 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi.
Lewis Hamilton was ruled out of the Sakhir race weekend after returning a positive COVID-19 test. The World Champion's substitute was Mercedes rookie George Russell, whose seat at Williams was filled by F2 driver Jack Aitken.
With hot lap times sub-54 seconds, Bottas closely snatched pole position ahead of Russell and Verstappen – respectively – by 26 milliseconds and 56 milliseconds.
Verstappen qualified in P3 for the ninth time out of 17 races in 2020.
Leclerc and Verstappen both retired on the opening lap, which brought out the safety car.
Deputising for the big dog, Russell was in a great position to claim his first F1 point, podium and victory all at once. Tragedy struck as the 22-year-old Briton suffered a rear-left puncture which forced him into the pits. Russell finished the race in 9th place, one spot behind teammate Bottas.
After being plumb last at the end of the opening lap, Sergio Pérez captured a first victory for both himself as well as for Racing Point; teammate Lance Stroll crossed the line in 3rd to complete a 40-point haul for the dubbed ‘pink Mercedes’.
In his 190th GP, Pérez became the first Mexican driver to pick up a race win in the sport since 1970.
Renault’s Esteban Ocon surged to P2 which meant that for just the second time in the 2020 season, the podium consisted of three drivers with no previous race wins.
Ferrari-bound Sainz stormed to P4, followed by Ricciardo, Albon & Kvyat.
On his debut for Mercedes, Russell set the fastest lap of the race.
Hamilton returned for the season finale in Abu Dhabi, as Russell reclaimed his seat at Williams.
At the last time of asking, Verstappen took his first and only pole of the season as he edged Bottas by 25 milliseconds. Hamilton qualified P3 ahead of Norris & Albon.
Leclerc & Vettel started the final race in P12 and P13, respectively.
In a bid to finish the year as runner-up to champion Hamilton, Verstappen trailed Bottas by 16 points in the standings ahead of the final race weekend, and needed the Finn to finish the race in 6th or lower.
Nobody could match the pace of the second-generation Dutch driver who took his second win of the season; Bottas finished runner-up ahead of Hamilton and Albon.
At 23 years & 80 days, Verstappen became the youngest driver ever to achieve 10 race wins in the sport.
The McLarens of Norris and Sainz finished in P4 and P5 which gave the English constructor a year-end finish of third-place, for the first time since 2013.
Ricciardo finished P6 and set the fastest lap of the closing race of the season.
It was a bitter swansong for Vettel, who finished 14th in his 118th and final GP for Ferrari. During his 6-year stint in red, Vettel claimed 14 race wins and 55 podium finishes.
His relationship with Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has seemingly deteriorated beyond repair following a truly underwhelming season for the 33-year-old German, who ended 2020 in 13th place with just 33 points.
2020 stat pack:
Driver Wins Podium Pole Fastest lap
Hamilton 11 14 10 6
Bottas 2 11 5 2
Verstappen 2 11 1 3
Pérez 1 2 0 0
Gasly 1 1 0 0
Stroll 0 2 1 0
Ricciardo 0 2 0 2
Leclerc 0 2 0 0
Albon 0 2 0 0
Norris 0 1 0 2
Sainz Jr 0 1 0 1
Vettel 0 1 0 0
Ocon 0 1 0 0
Russell 0 0 0 1
The 2021 F1 season is scheduled to be the largest in history, with a proposed 23-race calendar.
Driver lineups are all but confirmed, and three driver debuts are in place – two coming at Haas Racing and the other at AlphaTauri.
Nikita Mazepin and F2 Champion Mick Schumacher are set to inherit the seats abdicated by Grosjean and Magnussen at Haas, while Yuki Tsunoda will replace Kvyat at Red Bull's sister team.
Tsunoda, 20, is set to become the first F1 driver born in the 21st century as well as the first Japanese driver since Kamui Kobayashi in 2014.
Defending champion Hamilton has not confirmed his participation in the upcoming season, with whispers of retirement doing the rounds.
Constructor changes see Racing Point rebrand under the Aston Martin marque, while Renault change their name to Alpine F1.
Constructor Power Unit Drivers
Mercedes Mercedes Sir Lewis Hamilton (?) & Valtteri Bottas
Aston Martin Mercedes Sebastian Vettel & Lance Stroll
McLaren Mercedes Daniel Ricciardo & Lando Norris
Williams Mercedes George Russell & Nicholas Latifi
Ferrari Ferrari Charles Leclerc & Carlos Sainz Jr
Alfa Romeo Ferrari Kimi Räikkönen & Antonio Giovinazzi
Haas Ferrari Mick Schumacher & Nikita Mazepin
Red Bull Honda Max Verstappen & Sergio Pérez
AlphaTauri Honda Pierre Gasly & Yuki Tsunoda
Alpine Renault Fernando Alonso & Esteban Ocon