F1: Top 5 blunders of the 2018 season

F1 Grand Prix of Germany
F1 Grand Prix of Germany

With the 2018 season done and dusted, we are left with just the different types of analysis and all the could-have-been moments. All teams and drivers would like to have a trouble-free race weekend but like we all know, Formula One is nothing like that! From crashes to strategy, everything in F1 is dynamic and ever-changing.

In this list, we take a look back at some interesting times in the 2018 F1 season, when blunders from certain drivers had dire consequences for them and their teams in the long run. The likes of Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, and Max Verstappen have all faltered at some stages in this campaign, and it proved catastrophic to their respective title challenges in the end. It proved beneficial for others though, and drivers such as Lewis Hamilton have a lot to owe to these mistakes by his contemporaries.

So here is a list of five of the biggest blunders in the 2018 season. Some affect the Championship directly and some the team. Let us have a peek:

#5 Nico Hulkenberg- Belgian Grand Prix

Normally one of the steady drivers in the paddock, the German had a moment to forget on Turn 1 when he locked up on braking and smashed into the unassuming McLaren of Fernando Alonso, who got airborne and hit the Sauber of Charles Leclerc. Post accident images showed black tyre marks on the Halo device of Leclerc reminding us all of the reason why we got the Halo installed despite heavy criticism.

Apart from these three drivers, the race also affected the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo who subsequently retired due to debris from Nico’s brain fade moment. Quite a blow the German’s reputation took after this one.

#4 Daniel Ricciardo – Azerbaijan GP

Azerbaijan F1 Grand Prix
Azerbaijan F1 Grand Prix

The Red Bulls had been dicing with each other since the second lap of the Grand Prix, though it was all fair and clean and rather enjoyable with the best driver pairing of the grid treating the fans to some nice and hard racing. However it was short-lived, as soon after the first round of pit stops, Ricciardo attacked his teammate, feigning a move to the outside and then immediately moving onto the inside.

Not to be outdone, Max Verstappen covered the apex on the inside under braking and his teammate clattered into his gearbox - taking them both out of the race and causing a safety car. The safety car stopped a near-certain Sebastian Vettel victory and instead, Lewis Hamilton emerged victoriously.The turning point maybe? Needless to say, there weren’t too many handshakes being exchanged in the Red Bull pit garage.

#3 Romain Grosjean – Spanish GP

Romain Grosjean
Romain Grosjean

Remember Romain Grosjean 2009 edition? Well Grosjean 2.0 gave us a small look into his younger self. The Frenchman’s teammate Kevin Magnussen was forced to turn wide on turn 3 due to the McLarens dicing together further ahead, and Grosjean was forced to evade his younger Haas teammate.

He spun across as a result, but strangely enough, kept his car on power and turned a whole 360 degrees creating a whole lot of smoke from the tyres and leading to both Nico Hulkenberg and Pierre Gasly smashing into the Haas, which led to another Safety car for six laps. Grande` Romain.

Nonetheless, the Haas driver's long stint in Formula One proves that he is here to stay and can mix it up with the very best the business has to offer. A blunder or two might not significantly alter his future in the sport.

#2 Sebastian Vettel – German GP

F1 Grand Prix of Germany
F1 Grand Prix of Germany

To many, this mistake by the four-time champion lost him the Drivers’ Championship psychologically. At his home race, the German comfortably led the field while Lewis Hamilton was charging through the field in his Mercedes. With an isolated shower across the track after the pit stops, most of the drivers were slipping and sliding as it wasn’t wet enough for inters nor dry enough for slicks.

To everyone’s shock, Sebastian Vettel missed his braking point at the main grand stand, went across the gravel and bumped his nose into the barriers, instantly retiring. Post-incident images showed the German banging his steering wheel in frustration and apologising to his team after losing another near-certain victory. Needless to say, a certain Lewis Hamilton won the race.

This may well have been the turning point as things turned out, with Hamilton easily clinching the Championship in the end.

#1 Esteban Ocon – Brazil GP

F1 Grand Prix of Brazil
F1 Grand Prix of Brazil

Touted as a future World Champion and Mercedes driver, the young Frenchman did his reputation a decent amount of harm this term. On a bad day for Force India in general, after the round of pit stops, on lap 44, Ocon emerged behind Max Verstappen (who was leading the race) albeit a whole lap down. Being on fresher rubber, he attempted a move on the outside of Verstappen on turn 1 to unlap himself (which is allowed incidentally).

What the Frenchman didn’t anticipate, however, was the fact that the inside line into turn 2 will be covered by the Dutchman, and sure enough, Verstappen moved to cover the inside not expecting Ocon to still be there. The result? Lewis Hamilton breezing past the duo for yet another victory, Verstappen causing people around the world to cover their ears as he mouthed expletives into his pit radio, and a ten-second stop-go penalty for Ocon.

Post race imagery showed the Dutchman seeking the Frenchman out to shove him in the chest after robbing him of a comfortable victory.

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