The New Champion

The end of another year of Formula 1 with the crowning of a new World Champion

Matthew Boguski, Paw Print Editor

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have spent the past seven years in Formula 1 dominating both the constructor’s and driver’s world championships. Although today, F1 has a new name on the driver’s championship trophy.

The overall season has been one of the most exciting F1 seasons to date. To recap some of the highlights of this season we can look back to many of the races to find controversy and glory throughout. 

At the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, we had our first taste of wet racing in the season including a wild attempt at an overtake from Williams driver George Russel on Mercedes driver Valterri Bottas. 

At the Monaco GP, the upset from lots of Ferrari fans as Charles Leclerc crashed out from pole position during qualifying and ended up not being able to race as there was a gearbox issue that couldn’t be fixed. As well as an even bigger upset for Mercedes when Bottas recorded the record lovingly known as “the world’s longest pit stop” and Lewis Hamilton not being able to move up places from his qualifying position. Although Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won for the first time in Monaco, his home city.

At the Azerbaijan GP, we saw a roaring race when both Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen crashed out from a strange tyre malfunction that caused their rear left tyres to pop. To make it even more exciting, at the race restart Lewis Hamilton had a huge lock-up coming into the first turn causing him to leave into the escape road allowing Aston Martin’s Sebastion Vettel and Alphatauri’s Pierre Gasly to share a pole with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. 

This F1 season was surely filled with excitement throughout other than those moments alone which are extremely easy to watch thanks to F1 posting highlights from every session on YouTube for everyone to watch. 

But the most excitement this season came from the historic battle that came from Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton as they fought for the World Drivers Championship. Throughout twenty-two races, the duo had shared seventeen podiums with Verstappen winning ten races and Hamilton winning eight races. 

Although there was no other way to finish this season with the most dramatic ending possible. Coming into the final round in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit, the two champion-bound drivers were dead even on points at 369.5. The final race saw drama as early as lap one where Verstappen tried to put it up the inside of the turn 6/7 chicane where Hamilton was forced off of the track and gained a lasting advantage with the stewards not wanting to get involved. The rest of the race was quite uninteresting for the front runners except for the wild defense from Perez as he held back Hamilton while Verstappen was sent to the pit lane. Yet Verstappen was not able to catch Hamilton again. Although lap forty-nine was when everything changed for the possible first Dutch champion. While Nicholas Latifi and Mick Schumacher battled it out and saw Latifi lose it in turn 14. 

Because of this, Red Bull got the miracle they finally needed. Verstappen was on brand new soft tyres while Hamilton was hanging out on old hard tyres. Race director Micheal Masi then released the safety car to close the pack and safely avoid the accident while they attempted to clear up debris and the car. After notice that lapped cars will not attempt to fix themselves, Masi reversed this call to release only the cars in between race leader Hamilton and runner-up Verstappen. With one final racing lap, the two cars went at it until Verstappen overtook the Mercedes and secured the win. Ending the reign of 7-time world champion with 4 championships in a row Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen became the champion of the world and first-ever Dutch world driver’s champion.