Formula 1 2017 has been spectacular and action-packed so far with a thrilling title battle between two World Champions, team battles throughout the field and unexpected surprises throughout the eleven races so far.
Eleven races in with Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel leading the way ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. There have been highs, lows and amazing moments. As F1 now enters the summer break with 4 weeks of no racing in the sport, here are 8 of the best F1 2017 Season moments.
1. Fernando Alonso Topping Q1 – British Grand Prix
It’s been a while since Fernando Alonso and Mclaren have topped the time sheets in Formula 1. Mclaren and Honda have endured issues throughout the season with questions over their future partnership. But at the British Grand Prix Qualifying 1, something extraordinary happened. During a mixed conditioned session with the track getting drier, Alonso managed to narrowly reach the finish line to start one final lap. He was last place before starting his final lap. With the track evolving in the dry conditions, Alonso surprisingly managed to top the session! The first time a Mclaren has done so since the 2013 Indian Grand Prix. Whilst it was a special moment for a team that are in struggle, only managing to pass Sauber at the Hungarian Grand Prix with a double points finish. Alonso would later have to start at the back of the grid thanks to penalties for over use of power unit elements.
2. Jenson Button Peeing on Alonso’s Seat? – Monaco Grand Prix
When it was announced last year that Jenson Button would not be racing in Formula 1 in 2017, most of the Formula 1 fanbase cried. After 17 years in the sport, it felt strange not having Button in an F1 car. But his “sabbatical” didn’t last long when at the Bahrain Grand Prix, it was announced that current Mclaren driver Fernando Alonso would miss the Monaco Grand Prix to race at the Indianapolis 500. His replacement for the race would be Jenson Button. Button managed to qualify ninth but would take a 15-place grid penalty for Honda power unit replacements. Before the race, from Indy Fernando radioed to Button at Monaco wishing him good luck and look after the car for him. Jenson replied with a witty comment “Ok, I’m going to pee in your seat”. Pleasant. However for Jenson, the race wasn’t plain sailing. Button got caught in an incident with Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein which saw the German fly into the wall and Button retire from the race. Not the best comeback ever but it was nice to see Jenson behind a wheel again for one last splash!… (oops)
3. The Rise of Valtteri Bottas – Russian Grand Prix
Valtteri Bottas has been destined to win a Grand Prix for some years but with Williams, the chance never quite came for the Finnish driver. However, when Mercedes came calling for him when Nico Rosberg announced his shock retirement, we knew at some point Bottas would win a race at some point. At the Russian Grand Prix, he did just that. Despite both Ferrari’s locking out the front row, it was Bottas who led into Turn 2 ahead of both Vettel and Raikkonen. Bottas managed to control the pace and lead the race throughout, even with the late threat from Vettel, Bottas managed to keep the pressure and take his first ever win in Formula 1! A special moment for Bottas and Mercedes. It wouldn’t be the end for Bottas as he repeated victory again with the same pressure and late attack from Vettel at the Austrian Grand Prix.
4. The Battle between Vettel & Hamilton – Spanish Grand Prix
Early on in the season, we saw that the title battle would be between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. Despite their battle, we never really saw them tackle each other on track aside from the first round in Australia. At the fifth round at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, we saw their first true battle. After the midway through the race, Hamilton made his final stop on the soft tyres. Vettel made his stop for the medium tyres and when Vettel came out, he was level with Hamilton going into Turn 1. Side by side, Hamilton on the outside with Vettel on the inside of the corner. Vettel pushing Hamilton wide and forcing him off track. Both were still side by side into Turn 2 but Vettel gained a better exit, re-taking the lead. But the lead wouldn’t last long for the Ferrari as the Mercedes passed him at Turn 1 a few laps later on the quicker tyre. Hamilton would go on to win the race with Vettel in 2nd but the battle would remain a classic and destined a start of what would be a famous friendly battle between two great… Until!
5. Ricciardo, Stroll and Two Title Rivals Hitting Each Other! – Azerbaijan Grand Prix
We know that the Baku track in Azerbaijan wasn’t as exciting back in 2016. Some would call it the worst race in that season, contrasting to this year where it maybe considered the best race of the year! It all kicked off with Finnish drivers Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen colliding with each other at Turn 2 of the opening lap. After 13 laps and behind the safety car, the bizarre happened. Sebastian Vettel made contact with the back of Hamilton under the safety car, with the German accusing Hamilton of brake-testing. Vettel then proceeded to drive alongside Hamilton, only for the German to hit him side on! Shocked and surprised by Vettel’s actions, Hamilton couldn’t believe it. The race resumed after a red flag caused by debris from the clash by the Force India’s. Hamilton led the race but his headrest started to come loose, forcing him to pit. Vettel, for his actions with Hamilton was given a 10 second stop/go penalty for dangerous driving. Both of the main title rivals lost their leads and pitted in for their troubles. Vettel surprisingly got ahead of Hamilton and maintained that way until the end. Whilst all that was happening, Daniel Ricciardo and 18 year old Williams driver Lance Stroll, was leading the whole race! Ricciardo managed to pull a gap away from Stroll and go on to win the race. Stroll was in 2nd but before the line, Bottas managed to pass Stroll meters before the line, meaning Bottas finished in 2nd ahead of the Williams. Neither the less, a Stroll podium was unexpected and surprising! Well deserved from the Canadian! Just a shame he had to deal with Daniel’s shoey on the podium.
6. Kimi Raikkonen’s First Pole Since 2008 – Monaco Grand Prix
Ferrari were truly back when Sebastian Vettel took two victories at the first five races of the year at Australia and Bahrain. Nobody knew when they arrived at Monaco that they would be so dominant in qualifying and in the race, but more surprising, Kimi Raikkonen took his first ever pole position in Formula 1 since the French Grand Prix in 2008, when Kimi was only at his 2nd year at Ferrari. Raikkonen’s lap was unbelievably quick with a 1:12.178, showing how good the Ferrari’s are around tracks with short straights and lots of corners. Raikkonen wasn’t able to transform pole to the win, with Sebastian Vettel taking the victory leading a historic Ferrari 1-2 ahead of the Red Bull’s and Mercedes.
7. Force India’s Clash at Montreal! – Canadian Grand Prix
Sahara Force India are having a fantastic season with Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon producing excellent performances, scoring valuable points for the team. At the Canadian Grand Prix, the opportunity for Force India to grab a possible podium finish looked loom with Esteban Ocon on a fast strategy but was stuck behind his team-mate Sergio Perez. Ocon called on the radio for Perez to move out of the way to chase down Ricciardo. Perez refused and told the team to let them race. As Perez became more of a obstacle for Ocon, the chasing Sebastian Vettel was closing in quickly. Perez still refused and frustrated Ocon, desperate for his team mate to move out of the way. But it was too late, Vettel caught up to the two Force India’s and made his move for them. Even a scary move down Turn 1 to pass Ocon which nearly resulted in an incident, but luckily Ocon avoided and took avoiding action off track. Vettel then passed Perez for 4th but that was all the German can do. Ocon still tried to find a way pass Perez but the Mexican became more of a problem and angered Ocon to the flag. Ocon felt robbed of a chance but knows his chance will come. The next race in Baku, the pair clashed again (literally) and both cost an valuable result for Force India.
8. Raikkonen Losing His Cool… And His Wheel! – Azerbaijan Grand Prix
One thing you don’t want to lose in an F1 car, is your steering wheel! No steering wheel, no driving. That’s what happened when Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix during the red flag. As Ferrari were bringing out Raikkonen to rejoin the race, Kimi was screaming over the radio to his mechanics to bring his steering wheel over to him. His mechanic didn’t quite hear him and continue to hold his wheel whilst Kimi was screaming “Come on, move!”. Finally the mechanic gave him his wheel and Kimi rejoined the race. Just goes to show, despite Kimi being quiet and often shouty, he can do it in a funny way.
Formula 1 still has 9 races left and the title battle is starting to heat up between Ferrari and Mercedes! Who know what will happen at the end of the season at Abu Dhabi! Here are the highlights of the 2017 Season so far!
(Feature Picture Credit: Autosport)