Several sports – including Formula 1 – had initially thought to suspend their entire seasons since the COVID-19 pandemic last year. However, by strictly enforcing COVID-19 guidelines for drivers and races to guarantee a successful execution of the 2020 season, Formula 1 strove to be visionary. This meant that there were a few unexpected outcomes, and in the spotlight, some lesser-known drivers appeared. On that note, let’s take a look at the top drivers from the latest season.
Top 10 Formula 1 Driver
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Lewis Hamilton has celebrated a brilliant season, except perhaps the COVID-19 contraction that led him to miss the first Grand Prix of his professional F1 career. Although there has always been a question on who is the GOAT of F1, that which can not be dispelled is that Hamilton is undoubtedly the best since matching the record of seven titles by Michael Schumacher, tackling the iconic German driver’s winning milestone along the road that now stands at 95. Another remarkable milestone from Hamilton is that he recognized his voice’s power and used it to speak about sensitive issues like racism.
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
For Max Verstappen, you would think so much more was conceivable, but five retirements tell their own tale – in 17 races, astonishingly featuring in all three Grands Prix in Italy, but not one was through his own making. Verstappen stood on the podium on 11 instances in the other 12 races, with two victories, six runner-up positions, and a third-party trio, as he was simply the best of the rest after Hamilton. Verstappen was the only competitor to give Mercedes a run for its money, and this is more than likely to be true again the next year because of the relative consistency of the regulations.
3. Sergio Perez (Racing Point)
Racing Point’s move to abandon Perez in lieu of Sebastian Vettel previously in the year to help bring in its new paradigm as next season’s Aston Martin seems to be a massive blunder performed this campaign’s two drivers. The Mexican was also the first COVID-19 driver, leading in him missing out on the British and 70th Anniversary Grands Prix at Silverstone, but either side of all that, the man is incredible. The cherry on top for this season was that Perez has managed to secure a drive with Red Bull for 2021.
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault/McLaren)
When he announced his departure, there was an inevitable surprise and a certain degree of resentment from within Renault towards Ricciardo, the impression that he had not put sufficient trust in the campaign. It is a compliment to Ricciardo that after bringing his all through a campaign in which he scored points in 14 Grands Prix, including the last 11 in a row, he leaves on good terms, most notably his two-thirds place that finishes at Nürburgring and Imola.
5. Carlos Sainz (McLaren)
Talking about Sainz, until the season began, the Spaniard was at the core of the driver’s merry-go-round, unable to resist proposing a dream transfer to Ferrari despite saying how at peace he felt after his first year with McLaren. In its season-long fight for the 3rd spot in the namespaces’ championship with Racing Point and Renault, which eventually created the difference for the Woking-based brand, the team has finished as high in the rankings for the first time since 2012. His clear highlight was Sainz’s second position in the Italian GP, although his string of consistency in his final seven races was just as impressive as his final seven. He will prove to be an even bigger asset for Ferrari.
6. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
For Charles Leclerc, 2020 was yet another campaign that questioned the popularity of one of the worst cars made by Ferrari for several years. In pre-season trials, the SF1000’s power shortcomings were revealed. From that point, it was an enormous challenge for Ferrari and Leclerc, particularly compared to Sebastian Vettel, who was nothing but a bit-part player. Two podiums were completely against the odds during the first four races as Leclerc dug deep inside himself and the car to somehow carry it into an area of competitiveness that it had no right to be.
7. Lando Norris (McLaren)
Definitely, the 21-year-old won his head-to-head qualifying war with Sainz nine to eight, but it’s the latter who ranked eight points higher in the drivers’ rankings, completing three ranks higher. Basic numbers are not the only criteria why Lando Norris is also behind his team members on this ranking because after creating a great start to the campaign with his launch, he had no overall consistency.
8. George Russell (Mercedes)
“A legend was born” and “future F1 champion stuff” You just had to sit up and take note when a guy of the caliber of Ross Brawn enthuses about a driver with so much vigor. Before Mercedes asked George Russell to substitute COVID-hit Hamilton, it was obvious that there would be a driver with tremendous ability obscured by another Williams underperformer’s flaws. And then arrived the Sakhir GP success that propelled Russell into the limelight and the pinned guarantee of a secure Mercedes seat in the future.
9. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
It is possible that some of you would differ with this evaluation. Many who would feel that the Finn ought to be higher on there, and definitely those who could pitch him even further up the order. And that is the issue with the season for Bottas. It’s hard to rate. So much more, particularly after winning pole position and winning the season-opening race in Austria, was expected from him. In three different races, the fact that Bottas only managed to complete ahead of Hamilton says volumes for the dynamics between both the drivers throughout the season, where one was at the top of his game and top of this list, the other, as hard he might attempt, was floundering.
10. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)
The amazing victory of Pierre Gasly in the Italian Grand Prix with AlphaTauri was undoubtedly one of the best of the season, a matter of being in the right place at the right time to capitalize on the misfortunes of someone else, especially Lewis Hamilton. But when coming under pressure from Carlos Sainz, Gasly also delivered speed and a stern defense late on. Gasly is clearly still young at the age of 24, and with time on his side, if he holds his head down, proceeds to work harder to achieve success, then his way may come several noteworthy opportunities.
The most recent F1 season has been dramatic. Because of the coronavirus, unpredictable winners, and, of course, some record-breaking, what with the initial race schedule being ripped apart. One of the weirdest seasons of F1 ever? Undoubtedly. We look back at the 2020 season at the end of it all and find out who stood-out — who really shone and who fell short. Tell us how you felt about their performances in the comments section.