Seemingly no sooner than it started, a breathless F1 season has flown by in a hurry and come to a conclusion. 

With the end of a challenging year in sight, we’ve taken a look back over some of the best storylines and moments that defined an unprecedented season for F1 that featured a compact calendar of 17 races squeezed together over the course of six months.

Here’s the second and final part of our top 10 moments that defined the 2020 F1 season…

SEE ALSO: 10 moments that defined the 2020 F1 season - Part 1 

Hamilton matches Schumacher in Turkey 

Hamilton followed up eclipsing Schumacher’s all-time wins benchmark a few weeks earlier in Portugal by clinching a seventh drivers’ world title to move level with the legendary German on world championship triumphs. 

The 35-year-old sealed the title with three races to spare with his 10th and final victory of the 2020 season, but his route to the win was far from straightforward. 

Hamilton started sixth on the grid after Mercedes suffered its worst qualifying result of the season in unusually low temperatures during a rain-hit qualifying session on Saturday. 

But Hamilton turned in a masterful drive on Sunday with victory at a treacherously wet and slippery Istanbul Park. Following a cautious opening stint in which Hamilton found himself 20 seconds off the lead, the race opened up for Hamilton around half-distance thanks to decisive strategy calls that saw him stay out on worn intermediate tyres and hunt down and pass the race-leading Racing Point of Sergio Perez

Once in the lead, Hamilton never looked back and pulled clear to win by half a minute as he even lapped teammate Bottas, who spun six times on his way to taking a lacklustre 14th as he lost the title. 

‘Underdog’ McLaren conquers midfield 

McLaren overhauled Racing Point in a dramatic final-race showdown at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to claim the lucrative and much-coveted third place in the constructors’ championship. 

It came after an incredible, topsy-turvy tussle against midfield rivals Racing Point and Renault as McLaren secured a top-three finish in the championship for the first time since 2012. 

The pendulum of momentum dramatically swung between the three outfits all year long but in the end the fight boiled down to McLaren and Racing Point, the latter of which managed a race victory with what appeared to be the fastest car of the entire midfield. 

Despite favouring 2021 developments over immediate performance gains in 2020, the consistency of Lando Norris and teammate Carlos Sainz was key to the Woking squad leapfrogging its chief rival in the final championship table. 

With just seven points separating the two teams at the end of the season, Racing Point’s 15-point deduction for its controversial ‘copycat’ saga and close resemblance to Mercedes’ 2019 car which earned it the nickname ‘Tracing Point’ ultimately proved costly. 

Grosjean’s miraculous escape 

The entire Formula 1 paddock breathed a huge and collective sigh of relief when Romain Grosjean dramatically jumped from smoke and fire to pull off one of the most miraculous escapes in the sport’s history at the Bahrain Grand Prix. 

Grosjean suffered an enormous head-on collision with the Turn 3 barriers at 137mph after making contact with AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat on the opening lap of the race. The impact measured a force of 53G and resulted in his Haas being torn clean in half before bursting into flames. 

The scenes were as shocking as they were sickening as Grosjean’s car sliced through the armco and almost instantaneously exploded into a raging fireball in one of the most horrifying crashes F1 has seen for years.

The fact that Grosjean was able to escape the incident with minor burns after being trapped in his fiery car for nearly 30 seconds was remarkable, and the Frenchman’s survival will be remembered as the defining moment of the 2020 season. 

Russell gets his chance… and takes it 

George Russell endured an incredible - yet heartbreaking - weekend when he got an unexpected chance to swap the slowest car on the grid for the fastest at the Sakhir Grand Prix. 

Called up by Mercedes after world champion Hamilton tested positive for coronavirus, Russell stood in for his compatriot at short notice and made the F1 world take notice by immediately impressing in Hamilton’s absence. 

Despite barely fitting into Hamilton’s cockpit and having to quickly adjust to new surroundings and steering wheel procedures, Russell was edged out to a maiden pole position by Valtteri Bottas by just 0.026s on his qualifying debut for Mercedes. 

He got the better of Bottas in the race, beating the Finn to snatch first place at the first turn. From there, Russell looked accomplished out front as he confidently managed his pace and slowly eked out an advantage over the second Mercedes. 

Russell appeared on course to register a dream first grand prix victory but his hopes were squandered by a “colossal” pit-stop mix up and a late puncture, ultimately leaving him left to settle with eighth place and his first points in F1. 

2020 had already been a mightily impressive season for Russell, who had dragged his Williams into Q2 on nine occasions with a number of starring displays, but his performance at the second race in Bahrain underlined his potential and showed exactly why he is destined for a Mercedes seat in the future. 

Perez scores fairytale win 

Mercedes’ pit-stop blunder opened the door for one of the most remarkable and feel-good stories of 2020, as outgoing Racing Point driver Sergio Perez capitalised to take his first F1 victory in Sakhir at the 190th attempt. 

Perez looked to be out of contention after finding himself languishing at the back of the pack following a clash with an overly-ambitious Ferrari of Charles Leclerc on the opening lap. But the Mexican produced the drive of his life - and rode his luck along the way - to turn last place into first by carving his way through the field. 

It was the perfect way to bounce back from the heartbreak he had suffered a week earlier at the same circuit when his engine packed in just a few laps from home with the Mexican on course to finish on the podium. 

Perez’s performance - along with his outstanding displays across 2020 - made Red Bull sit up and take notice and ultimately resulted in the team moving to secure the services of Perez for 2021 in place of Alex Albon, who had struggled to match the performance of teammate Max Verstappen all year.

 

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