The news that Nico Rosberg was to retire with immediate effect was a shock to all the Formula One fans, especially after the superb season he had, which also saw him being crowned World Champion for the first time.
It was a dramatic end to the season, and here are my top 5 moments from the 2016 Formula One season.
5. Lewis Hamilton and the British GP
This year, Lewis Hamilton won his fourth British Grand Prix at Silverstone and drew level with British legend Nigel Mansell who also won four races on home soil. He also became the first driver to win a hat-trick of Silverstone GPs. One of the most iconic moments of the whole weekend was Lewis crowd surfing after crossing the finish line in first. It was definitely one of his top 2016 moments.
As we look back at this 2016 F1 season, who could forget the wonder-child, and young breakthrough driver Max Verstappen? If you weren’t already impressed early on by the sheer tenacity and potential of this Dutch driver, then the Spanish Grand Prix surely made him shine. A shocking collision between the two Mercedes drivers, Hamilton and Rosberg resulted in a fantastic opportunity for Verstappen to win his first (I’m sure of many) Formula One race. The 18-year-old became the youngest ever winner in the history of F1. That was also his first race in the Red Bull car, after the team demoted Daniil Kvyat to Toro Rosso.
Who would have thought of drinking champagne from a race shoe after wearing it for the whole race?
Oh well, it had to be the always-smiling Daniel Ricciardo to set a trend in F1. He first did the shoey when he finished in the top 3 in Belgium with Mark Webber, and also ended up doing it in Malaysia when he won the race with Verstappen and Rosberg also participating. Ricciardo also got Gerard Butler to drink out of his shoe at the US GP. We’ll definitely look forward to seeing it next year!
One of the most emotional moments of the 2016 season (and the moment I ended up crying) was without doubt the Brazilian Grand Prix and Felipe Massa’s farewell to his home fans and Formula One in general. Unfortunately, he retired from the race, but what followed right after brought tears to the eyes of many. His pit lane walk will be one to remember, as he was going down being cheered on by all mechanics and finally being welcomed by his wife and son. This all happened while the race was still going on, but the focus was shifted to Felipe carrying the Brazilian flag at the Brazil GP in front of the Brazilian fans. Definitely one of the best images of 2016.
My number one choice goes to the driver who remained focused through all of 2016, took the challenge race by race and finally achieved his lifelong dream in one of the most stressful races of his career. Nico Rosberg was crowned World Champion in Abu Dhabi, but with every lap, he could see the possibility of losing the title. The last race of 2016 was the perfect season finale, filled with anticipation, nervousness and nail-biting overtakes and tactics. At the end of the day though, Rosberg came out victorious, and it was emotional to see how much it meant to him after such a long and nerve-wrecking year. Too bad we won’t see him racing again in 2017.
The 2016 season surely deserves a bonus spot for a certain Jenson Button who sadly called it a day after the last race of the season. However, his ‘funny’ antics on TV after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (which might have included some alcohol) left us all smiling, and he’ll be missed in the paddock.
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