Everyone has their own stand-out moments in a season that’s been full of fantastic action, team-mate rivalry and the emergence of some stellar talent. For Bernie Ecclestone, it was the moment when a Munich judge said, “all right, £60m and you can walk away.” For everyone else it’s been about what’s happening at the circuits.
Here are 10 stand-out moments that Andrew Davies has pinpointed. Make up your own list of 10 and post them underneath.
10. McLaren Get A Double Podium
Having spent a year in the wilderness, where the team didn’t score a single podium finish, culminating in the amiable Martin Whitmarsh getting fired, they went and scored two in the first race of 2014. The success may have been short-lived, but it was a very quick monkey to get off Eric Boullier’s back.
9. The Return of the Austrian GP
Say what you like about the Red Bull organization, they know how to organise an event. The Austrian GP weekend was where F1 was reunited with an old friend. Unlike most new-country GPs, it wasn’t a question of spot-the-spectator on Friday and Saturday, it was a sell-out race. It may not have delivered the kind of racing result that the two Dieter Mateschitz teams were hoping for, but it restored the buzz back to F1.
8. Wlliams Get A Podium
They may have signed up Pat Symmonds and Rob Smedley, but it seemed inconceivable that Williams would go from a team that finished 9th in 2013 with five points to having the third fastest car on the grid and jostling Ferrari. Certainly Pastor Maldonado didn’t think so. Despite an overwhelming share of bad luck Valtteri Bottas finally got his podium in Austria. And then in Britain and Germany too.
7.Hamilton Ignores Team Orders…
…and gets Niki Lauda’s blessing! The Hungarian GP was another fantastic advertisement for F1 but contained a very rare event. Normally in races, drivers have very little idea about what’s going on around them and rely on the team to make strategic decisions in their best interests (after all, they have all the facts). In the Hungarian GP, Lewis Hamilton didn’t know what was going on around him and still made the right choice by not letting Nico Rosberg through. Mercedes should have had him using Softs like Rosberg but couldn’t see it. In the race, his pass of Jean-Eric Vergne was an epic move.
6. Marussia Score Their First Points
Marussia finally did what Caterham (and HRT) failed to do by scoring two World Championship points in their 83rd race. Jules Bianchi scored a 9th place in Monaco elevating them above Caterham and veteran team Sauber. They don’t have a massive budget, so the ASDA value-cider was flowing in the Marussia garage.
5. Monaco Qualifying
Did Nico Rosberg deliberately stuff up his braking into Mirabeau and ruin Lewis Hamilton’s final lap in Qualifying? Of course he did. How many people missed their braking point there in the race? And why, if you’ve gone all the way down the escape road – would you start reversing back up it if you wanted to stay well out of the way? It stirred up an amazing level of controversy and made a lot of Mercedes personnel have to lie in a way they’re not used to, which was interesting to watch in itself. The race was an anti-climax after that.
4. Ricciardo wins in Canada
Daniel got a much-deserved payback for his podium failure in Melbourne. He took a late late win with none of the pressure of leading from the front and suddenly F1 was welcoming a new GP-winner into the firmament of racing greats. Only eight drivers on the grid had won races before, and now it was nine. And then he went and did it again in Hungary and added further weight to the debate – exactly how good is Sebastian Vettel?
3. First Mercedes 1-2 For 59 Years
We knew it was coming after the dominant performance in Australia, but Mercedes scored their first 1-2 since the Italian GP of 1955 in Malaysia and backed it up by doing several times more.
2. Daniel Ricciardo’s Duel With Fernando Alonso at the German Grand PrixThe sequence of overtaking, drafting, re-taking, diving up the inside, diving round the outside that Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciado engaged in at Hockenheim was some of the purest F1 racing we’ve ever seen. There have been multi-corner battles before, but this was all done without either going beyond the bounds of fairness, or banging wheels. It was like they were driving historic F1 cars and didn’t want a $4m repair bill for their irreplaceable machinery. Breathtaking.
As was this. This was the Battle of the Season so far, Lewis Hamilton using every last bit of racing craft he knew to keep the patently faster Nico Rosberg behind him. It was edge-of-the-seat stuff, two drivers going for it, with the rest of the field mere spectators. And unlike Ricciardo vs Alonso, you knew that Lewis might just push it that little bit further. We are due at least one more battle like this before the season ends, and it could come at any time.