The end of another thrilling Formula One season is almost upon us, but there are still plenty of prizes up for grabs before the chequered flag falls…
FORMULA ONE 2018 ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX, Sunday 25 November, 12.10pm, Sky Sports F1®/HD (CH 516/506) and 12.45pm, Channel 4/HD (CH 104/141)
After another season of thrills, spills, breakdowns and drama, this year’s action will once again conclude under the glittering lights of the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Hotel and the setting Arabian sun.
And while Lewis Hamilton wrapped up his fifth title with two races to spare, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is always one to watch – partly for the jaw-dropping visuals provided by the trackside hotel and the transition from day to night, but also for the vast array of overtaking opportunities on offer to drivers looking to end their seasons on a high.
Having won the last four races at the Yas Marina Circuit, a victory for Mercedes looks likely – and although the blisteringly quick Hamilton is obviously the man in form, Valtteri Bottas will be hoping to repeat his 2017 win after a torrid, misfortune-strewn year.
But, since finishing runner-up for both titles to the Silver Arrows of Mercedes, Ferrari will be looking to finish the season with a flourish. Could a final victory in the famous scarlet overalls be on the cards for the departing Kimi Räikkönen?
Regardless of who leaves the UAE victorious, it’s safe to say it’s been another pulsating Formula One season, packed with stunning overtakes and enough on- and off-track drama to fill a library full of box sets.
So we’ve chosen to celebrate another cracking year of action with our own set of end-of-season awards. Read on to find out who’s a winner…
Controversial as the Halo head-protection device initially was, it has become a life-saving and surprisingly unnoticeable addition to the grid, with Charles Leclerc in particular thankful for it when it prevented Fernando Alonso’s car from wiping his head off in Belgium. As a contribution to the culture it’s at least on a par with Beyoncé’s hit “Halo” – well worth an award in our books.
In a sport packed with cutting-edge tech, and tyres thicker than our morning porridge, it was refreshing to watch Hamilton wheel around the grid on the kind of small metal scooter commonly piloted around a crowded supermarket by an, um, adorable child. In fact, Hamilton loved it so much, Mercedes even shot this scooter’s-eye-view video of his preparations for the Japanese Grand Prix.
Red Bull sure went all out in the novelty overall department for the United States Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen became the first ever driver dressed as a cowboy to take a podium finish, following his brilliant drive from 18th on the grid to second. Yee haw, indeed.
This unwanted award goes, not surprisingly, to likeable Finn Valtteri Bottas. Collisions, punctures and the odd mechanical failure have plagued his season, belying his incredible consistency and ability to turn up the pace when he needs it most.
Force India’s ingenious use of the Halo device (which had been unfavourably compared to a flip-flop) to actually advertise a well-known flip-flop brand was one of the most amusing bits of sponsorship we’ve seen, and ensured the head of the team’s marketing department could justifiably add “Chief Banter Officer” to their CV.
As well as being arguably the hunkiest driver on the grid, Kevin Magnussen also proved to be a dab hand at clouting an unsuspecting mechanic in an area that would make any man wince, double over, and question whether they could ever remember a time when there wasn’t a crippling pain between their legs. Unnecessary? Probably. Hilarious? Absolutely.
As well as becoming a five-time champion this season, Lewis Hamilton also became the first and only winner of the “Spainish Grand Prix”. That is, if the misspelt graphic printed along the pit lane was to be believed…
Last and by no means least is easily one of the strangest moments of the season. One fan, after managing to find himself near a trackside microphone in Austin, managed to deliver the greatest F1 car impression ever heard, drowning out hordes of commentators reporting on the race and baffling viewers the world over. Don’t believe us? Check this out… neow!
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