Since it’s the end of decade, so let’s retrospect the last decade into the world of Formula 1. The last decade was divided into two mini eras. The pre Hybrid-Era where we saw Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing dominate and the current Hybrid-Era where we’re witnessing sheer dominance by Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes. Although the decade saw only 3 different drivers (Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg) being crowned world champions but fierce rivalries, controversies, scary accidents, funny team radios, and of course great races kept us all captive and intrigued throughout the decade.
Since failing to acquire the liberty from the editor to write about all the great races, I’ll just stick to the top 5 races of the last decade to save my job.
2011 Canadian Prix -
(Image Source: Google)
If god grants me the wish of re-experiencing just one race from the past it will always be this one. If someone ever wants to witness Formula 1 in a nutshell, this race should be on their list. The race entered into the history books for being the longest race ever in Formula 1. The race was won by Jenson Button driving for McLaren after making 5 pit stops, serving a drive through penalty, colliding with his teammate, and being plum last to eventually passing Sebastian Vettel on the very last lap of the race. The race was started under safety car because of heavy downfall and standing water on the track, Sebastian Vettel led the grid after starting from pole and withstanding a charging Fernando Alonso behind him. After running wide Lewis Hamilton fell behind teammate Jenson Button and tried to pass Button on the pit straight only to collide with each other. Hamilton retired and Button was given a drive through penalty for speeding behind safety car. After a complete halt of the race for 2 hours because of heavy rain storm, the race resumed with still Vettel leading the way. Button after pitting fell behind Fernando Alonso and tried to pass him at turn 3 only to make contact and damaging Alonso’s suspension and suffering a puncture himself. After pitting he was literally plum last. But that is when things started to change, with track drying up and fresh tyres he made his way through and was quickly catching the front runners. During the closing stages Button was on the tail of Vettel after passing Webber and Schumacher and exerting enormous pressure on the German. On the final lap and Vettel and Button separated by only 0.9 tenth, Vettel made a mistake and lost it out of turn 6 and Button passing him to take the lead on the last lap. Button eventually finished first with Vettel and Webber second and third respectively. The race proved why you should never give up. As described by Button it was one of his best drives.
2012 Brazilian Grand Prix -
(Image Source: Google)
This race was all about who could handle the pressure better. After a year long gruelling fight between Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel it all came down to the wire at the season finale in Brazil with Vettel leading with a 13 points advantage over Alonso. The race started under damp conditions and Vettel got off poorly dropping to 7th and then at turn 2 disaster struck for Vettel when he collided with Bruno Senna, spinning around and facing the wrong side of the track last while your championship rival was 5th. At that point in time we all thought it was over for Vettel and RedBull and his dreams of becoming the youngest triple world champion came crushing down. But as they say fortune favours the brave, Vettel quickly started making up places and was suddenly at the rear of Alonso in 5th position. With safety car deployed because of debris on track Vettel lost fifth position to Kobayashi in drying conditions. While Hulkenberg, Hamilton and Button were the leading trio, Hulkenberg and Hamilton colliding at turn forcing both of them to retire and handing the lead to Button. When it started raining again Vettel pitted for intermediates but his failed radio caused an awfully long delay in the pit. With Vettel behind his fellow countryman Schumacher in seventh, the veteran German not putting up any resistance and happily handling over sixth place to Vettel which was crucial for him to regain the world championship. After Di Resta’s crash the race finished under safety car and eventually crowning Sebastian Vettel the youngest triple world champion and proving once again why you just shouldn’t give up. Unarguably regarded as one of the best races in Formula 1 history.
Watch the race highlights here.
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2019 German Grand Prix -
(Image Source: Google)
Even though the 2019 championship was wrapped early by Lewis Hamilton, it was because of races like these that made the 2019 season one of the best season of recent times. The race was chaotic, crazy, exciting, thrilling and I’m running out of words to describe the race. The race was chosen as the race of the decade by Formula 1 and rightfully so. The race started under safety car conditions due to heavy rainfall. After 3 laps the race director decided it was time to race and made a standing start. Max Verstappen had a nightmare start failing to get off the line properly dropping him down the field with Lewis Hamilton leading the charge. Both Ferraris after a disastrous qualifying where Vettel and Leclerc started 20th and 10th respectively due to mechanical issues made their way through the grid. Vettel gained 6 places at the start. Perez was the first victim of the wet track where he spun and crashed eventually causing a safety car. With the rain lighten Vettel and Albon were the first to pit for intermediates. With the thinking of drying track several drivers opted for slick tyres but the decision was an error of judgement with the track considerably wet the slick tyres were just undriveable. With the drag strip at turn 17 , Leclerc had to power to stop his car from crashing into the barrier and ending his hopes of winning the race and bringing out a safety car. Just then Lewis Hamilton ran wide at the same corner and damaged his front wing in the bargain and returning to the pits for a minute long pit stop since his team wasn’t ready for him. He got a penalty for entering the pitlane from the wrong side of the bollard. After the safety car period it was Verstappen leading from Hulkenberg, Bottas, Albon and Hamilton. The drag strip claimed its second victim when Hulkenberg crashed and bringing out yet another safety car. Several drivers pitted for fresh intermediates tyres with one exception of Lance Stroll who fitted slick tyres and played a huge gamble. By lap 46 rain stopped and a dry line started to emerge across the track. All the top runners pitted for slick tyres with Hamilton dropping to 12th because of his penalty. Lance Stroll found himself in an unfamiliar situation in the lead after gambling to opt for slick tyres behind the safety car. Verstappen and Kyvat passed him and he dropped to third. Vettel who was silently making progress in the drier conditions and was running 8th. On lap 56 Valtteri Bottas running in 4th slid off the track and into the tyre barrier at turn 1 eventually causing yet another safety car. The safety car ended and it was all about the podium spots with Verstappen growing a sizable lead it was behind him that all the action was happening. Vettel was able to show significant pace when he passed Sainz, Stroll and Kyvat and ran 2nd till the end of the race. Kyvat finished third eventually leading home to Toro Rosso’s first podium after the 2008 Italian Grand Prix. It was redemption day for Vettel when he crashed while leading the race last year. This raced proved what Formula 1 is all about.
2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix -
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This race slammed the statement that only wet races can produce exciting races. The race was thrilling, unpredictable, and eventful. But probably the most important adverb to describe the race was controversy. The race started with Lewis Hamilton on pole followed by Bottas, Raikkonen and Vettel on his tail. But on the very first lap the two Finnish drivers, Raikkonen and Bottas collided at turn 3 both suffering major damages and forced to pit. When the safety car was deployed to clear off the debris caused by Raikkonen’s Ferrari that is when the action happened behind the safety car when Vettel ran into the back of Hamilton, escalating damage to his front wing and Hamilton’s rear diffuser. Even though the damages were marginal but when Vettel proceeded to drive alongside Hamilton to protest what he believed was Hamilton brake-testing him and swerved into the side of him that is when the hot topic arose. After the safety car restart the two Force Indias crashed into each other with Perez suffering a front wing damage and Ocon a puncture. This brought out a red flag that halted the race because of the debris on track. When the race resumed Hamilton led from Vettel, Massa, Stroll and Ricciardo. Ricciardo made a sensational pass on both the Williams at turn 1 and jumped to 3rd place. On lap 29 the headrest on Hamilton’s car suddenly came loose, although he tried to fix it back into position but he was directed by the stewards to pit concerning safety reasons. Two laps later Vettel served his 10 seconds stop go penalty for dangerous driving regarding the earlier incident. Even though he was handed over a penalty he managed to jump Hamilton and came out in front of him because of Hamilton stuck in traffic. This meant Ricciardo inherited the lead and followed by Stroll and the fast charging Bottas, Vettel and Hamilton. The young Canadian was under pressure to hold off Bottas in a fast Mercedes which he almost did only to be overtaken on the final lap on the pit straight with the delta between them being 0.105 seconds. Ricciardo eventually taking the victory followed by Bottas, Stroll on the podium. The race certainly spiced up the championship battle between Hamilton and Vettel.
2014 Bahrain grand Prix -
(Image Source: Google)
This race find its spot on the list not because of incidents, controversies, or challenging conditions but only because of its wheel to wheel racing which it offered between the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. The battle between the two was one of the best wheel to wheel racing you can witness in recent times. Hamilton triumphed at the first corner overtaking Rosberg at the first corner and extended his advantage. With Maldonado tossing Gutierrez into a roll it brought out a safety car. After the safety car period what followed was hardcore gruelling fight between Hamilton and Rosberg over several laps for the lead of the race and eventually for the win. Although the only other highlight of the race was Force India’s first podium after the 2009 Belgium Grand Prix. The battle was worth experiencing rather than imagining so I’ll end my writing skills here and let you enjoy the race highlights here.
Next Read | Best F1 races of all time