With the holiday season now in full swing and racing on hold for a few weeks at least, it is the perfect time to take a look back on the year that has been and pick out some of the highlights of the year.

In the lead-up to Christmas, Crash.net's editorial team has been reflecting on some of their favourite personal moments from the season that has been. From extraordinary moments on-track to poignant moments off it, it acts as a nice look back on our year.

In part two, Lewis Larkam picks out some memorable 2018 moments.

F1 Hungarian Grand Prix - Rain causes qualifying shock

A race expected to be dominated by Ferrari ended up falling the way of Mercedes on a weekend that somewhat symbolised the nature of the 2018 season.

Ferrari looked comfortable in dry running throughout practice and held a clear advantage over Mercedes, with both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel struggling in their respective W09s. But heavy rain, thunder and lightning as Q2 began threw the session wide open and made for a thrilling and unpredictable showdown in Q3.

Lightning even hit the media centre building and wiped out internet connection briefly before Hamilton capitalised on the situation snatching pole by nearly half a second, with teammate Valtteri Bottas completing a surprise Mercedes front-row lockout. The result set Hamilton up for a key win heading into the summer break.

BRDC British F3 - Billy Monger’s return to racing

Billy Monger’s story is a remarkable tale of courage, bravery and determination beyond belief and one that captured the hearts of the motorsport community.

A horrific high-speed crash during a Formula 4 crash at Donington Park in April 2017 resulted in Monger having the lower part of both of his legs amputated due to the severity of his injuries.

In February 2018, having already got behind the wheel of a Fun Cup Volkswagen Beetle at Brands Hatch at the end of 2017, Monger drove a specially-adapted single-seater racing car for the first time since his accident less than a year earlier.

He would go on to compete in the 2018 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship, taking a sensational podium in his first race outing at Oulton Park. Three more podium appearances followed, while Monger also claimed an emotional first British F3 pole at Donington - the scene of his life-changing accident just 17 months earlier - on his way to finishing sixth in the drivers’ standings.

F1 Spanish Grand Prix - The rise and rise of Leclerc

The 2018 Spanish Grand Prix coincided with Charles Leclerc’s rapid rise from a tricky start to his F1 career to start a run of points-scoring finishes that defined a memorable rookie campaign.

Leclerc had already claimed a stunning sixth place during a hectic race in Baku to register his first points finish of his career, and at Barcelona, he rose from 14th on the grid to make a second top-10 appearance in a row.

While the result - 10th place - may have looked somewhat underwhelming on paper, Leclerc described it as the “biggest surprise” of his season so far in terms of the performance he was able to extract from his rapidly-improving Sauber. He engaged in a brilliant tussle with McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and managed to keep the Spaniard at bay until being momentarily caught out at a Virtual Safety Car restart.

Leclerc said he learnt a lot from fighting with the two-time F1 world champion and the battle provided another glimpse of the highly-rated Monegasque’s talents. Leclerc would go on to finish in the points on another eight occasions on his way to completing a remarkably impressive first season that ultimately paved the way for his impending switch to Ferrari in 2019.

Formula 2 Silverstone Feature Race - World Cup clash

With the majority of the F1 paddock - and in particular the contingent of English journalists - switching attention from F1 qualifying to the small matter of an England v Sweden World Cup quarter-final during a summer of footballing fever, there was still action occurring on-track at Silverstone.

The lights for the Formula 2 feature race went out shortly after Harry Maguire had headed England into an early 1-0 lead in Russia, with polesitter and eventual champion George Russell leading the field away.

Amid the euphoria of the next stage of football (almost) coming home being completed, I found myself with one eye on a badly out-of-time BBC stream and the other on the F2 action. The race proved eventful, with Alexander Albon taking victory after a pit-stop issue had cost Russell the lead. Report published, there was enough time to enjoy the closing stages of the football. 

Albon’s win was the second of the season and would ultimately start a run of form that pushed the British-born Thai driver into title contention and ultimately helped him seal an F1 drive with Toro Rosso for 2019.

F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - The end of an era

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix not only marked the end of a thrilling 2018 season but it also saw the curtain fall (for now at least) on Fernando Alonso’s F1 career.

The 2005 and 2006 title winner took part in what is expected to be his 312th and last grand prix start of his 17-year-career as he bowed out of the sport by finishing just outside of the points in 11th.

What followed after the chequered flag was a real poignant - and emotional - moment as fellow multiple world champions Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel drove either side of Alonso’s McLaren to form a guard of honour on the cool-down lap, before rounding off the season with some improvised celebratory donuts along the start-finish straight.

Alonso was visibly moved by the gesture, which he described as a “magic” send-off. It created one of the images of the season and seemed a fitting tribute to one of the best drivers to grace F1 on a race weekend that proved significant for a number of reasons.