Yearender 2020, F1: The Year When Lewis Hamilton Confirmed His Status As One Of The Greatest
Even as coronavirus created havoc with the sporting calendar, F1 saw Lewis Hamilton rewrite the history books as he entered the ranks of the greats, beating the iconic Michael Schumachers race wins record.
Lewis Hamilton had a brilliant year with the Mercedes team
Hamilton broke the iconic Michael Schumachers race wins record
Hamilton also equalled Schumacher's record of seven F1 world titles
One word that will forever be synonymous with the year 2020 is coronavirus. Everything else took a back seat as the world battled the pandemic that still continues to rage in many parts. The coronavirus pandemic also caused massive havoc to the sporting calendar. The Formula One season too took a hit and for a while it seemed that it would be scrapped altogether. But from the ashes one man emerged victorious, unbeatable, and confirmed his status as one of the greats in the sport -- Lewis Hamilton.
Michael Schumacher was a name that came to everyone's lips when it came to the 'GOAT' debate in F1. And while Schumacher will still win the popularity contest, there is little doubt that in terms of ability, Hamilton is on par with the German great.
The year 2020 not only witnessed Hamilton equal a Schumacher record that many thought would never even be touched, but the Briton also managed to break one of the German's long-held record.
The Mercedes driver equalled Schumacher's record of seven F1 world titles with his triumph at the Turkish Grand Prix. But before reaching that landmark the Briton became F1's record all-time race-winner when he claimed his 92nd victory at the Portuguese Grand Prix to pass Schumacher at the top of the list.
Schumacher's record had stood for 14 long years, and for the longest time, it seemed a few would get close to it, forget breaking it. But people forgot to take Hamilton's brilliance and tenacity into account.
Yes, Hamilton won majority of his championship titles in a Mercedes, which was light years better than any of the cars on the grid, but so did Schumacher. At the time, Ferrari utterly dominated the rest, and no other car -- for many years -- could match the speed and consistency of the shiny red prancing horse.
So why should Hamilton's wins in a superior Mercedes be questioned?
Ferrari no show
While there was no matching the domination of the Mercedes team, what surprised and shocked pundits as well as fans was the terrible performance of the Ferrari team this year.
The Italian team was dismal throughout the season, failing to win even a single race. Ferrari finished in sixth place in the Constructor Standings, their worst performance in 40 years. In 1980, the Scuderia team had finished 10th in the championship.
With the F1 season culminating at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Ferrari also bade farewell to four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.
After six years, 14 wins and twice finishing as runner-up in the title race, the four-time champion German has left Ferrari for Aston Martin, the re-badged 2021 version of Racing Point.
The German finished 14th at the Abu Dhabi GP, one place behind his team-mate Charles Leclerc, to conclude his worst season with the Italian team.
Vettel, a father of three and one of the best-loved drivers in the pit lane, has won only once in two years -– at the 2019 Singapore GP.
On the other hand, Red Bull would be buoyed by their performance this year. Despite being second-best behind the Mercedes team, Red Bull will be happy with the strides they have made.
They were head and shoulders above the rest, with Max Verstappen the only one to pose any sort of challenge to the two Mercedes drivers. While Hamilton won the drivers' standings with a whopping 347 points, Verstappen (214 points) was only nine points behind the second-placed Valtteri Bottas.