Overview: An alternative look at F1 2017
17 December 2017 – In a 20-event season, there are several unexpected moments, humorous asides, and some sub-plots that simply get forgotten. GPUpdate.net takes a look back at some of those in 2017.
Is this the way to Maranello?
Ferrari's engine glitches would become more prominent later in the season, but they appeared as early as Bahrain, when Kimi Räikkönen was forced to stop in FP1. Räikkönen parked his car by the side of the circuit and swatted aside the suggestion of a lift back to the pit lane as he made his way by foot, keeping his overalls and helmet on despite the searing conditions. The TV cameras continued to track his journey through the sand, and as expected, the Internet got creative. Even Formula 1 joined in on the act:
Force India feels the force
Rain on your parade
Monza in early September. The beautiful leaves have begun turning from green to a glowing orange, the Alps remain visible in the distance, while the late summer sun provides desired warmth. Well, usually. On Friday evening the loudest clap of thunder most of the paddock had ever heard rippled across the area, and it didn't stop raining all night. And in the morning it kept raining. And still it rained. And with no wind, and cold weather, it could barely dry. FP3 was almost a no-go, qualifying was repeatedly delayed, Formula 2 got going and finished in near-darkness, after a dramatic finale, while GP3's round was severely truncated. Fortunately, Sunday was back to normal.
Button returns, and gets penalties
Wehrlein's fitness saga
Pascal Wehrlein's nasty Race of Champions crash became a talking point through much of the winter. Speculation mounted that the injury to his back had left him behind on fitness, though this was denied, only to be confirmed when he missed the first test. Wehrlein returned for the second group session, and participated in practice in Australia, but then stood down, as Antonio Giovinazzi got the call-up, and stayed in the car for China. Once Wehrlein returned for good in Bahrain, and performed heroics to almost score a point, it only then became clear just how severe his setback had been.
Sochi, so dull
Ericsson's Safety Car disaster
Ericsson did not score a point in 2017, and he wasn't even close in Monaco, before suffering the most embarrassing exit of the campaign. Having been allowed to unlap himself, Ericsson overtook the Safety Car on the approach to Sainte Devote, only to slide wide on colder-than-usual tyres and haplessly cruise straight into the tyre wall. The onlooking marshals could barely believe the situation which had just unfolded, having been busy holding the 'SC' sign and waving yellow flags, and were duly dispatched to clear the dented Sauber.
Sainz Jr. gets shot down
Kimi's number one fan
When Räikkönen was embroiled in the Turn 1 clash at the Spanish Grand Prix, it was a setback for the Finn, and a disappointment for Ferrari. However, for one young fan, it was sheer devastation. The World Feed cameras picked up on Thomas, clad in Ferrari gear, crying his eyes out at Räikkönen's retirement. The Formula 1 paddock reacted, and soon Thomas and his parents were in Ferrari's hospitality, with the youngster meeting his hero, and receiving a signed cap. Thomas also watched the podium ceremony from parc ferme and met a few other drivers as he became the star of the day.
Sauber's favouritism saga
Bottas gets the jump
Bottas lined up from pole position in Austria and gambled on the lights going out, moving 0.201 after the five red lights went out. It proved to be the foundation for his second win, as he fended off Vettel, but the German was unconvinced. "Hmm, I don't believe that," he said, when Bottas' reaction time was put to him. The FIA clarified that Bottas had made an "exceptionally accurate and fortuitous judgement call, anticipating the moment the lights went out with great precision." Bottas kept his win, while Vettel was still left mildly perplexed in second.
Vettel tries the Shield
Behind the mic to behind the wheel
Paul di Resta has spent the last two years acting as Williams' reserve driver, along with his Mercedes DTM duties, but has also been seen in front of a TV camera, and in the commentary box, with Sky Sports. In Hungary he was present as a pundit when he got the call after FP3 that Felipe Massa's fever had not abated, meaning he was required for the remainder of the weekend. Di Resta dashed in to get changed, got behind the wheel of the FW40 and improved with each lap. In the race, he largely stayed out of trouble – aside from incurring the wrath of Räikkönen – but retired late on amid an oil pressure problem.
Alonso and the iffy exit
Lance strolls onto the front row
Lance Stroll's bewilderingly up-and-down season reached its second high peak at Monza, once the rain had actually receded to a point where the FW40 was more suitable than Noah's Ark. Stroll thrived in the slippery conditions, aided by Williams' package conducive to Monza than some other venues. Stroll qualified in fourth position – comfortably a career high – but thanks to engine penalties for both Red Bull drivers he was promoted to second place on the grid. Stroll was cautious into the Rettifilo Chicane, losing out to Esteban Ocon, and gradually slipped back as faster drivers worked their way through, but still netted a fine seventh.
Grosjean's hopes drain away
The loosened drain cover also indirectly led to one of the bizarre motor races in living memory, when no-one finished the South East Asia Formula 4 race. The first race was postponed to Saturday, with the second race taking place shortly after, as scheduled. However, the short turnaround time, and incorrect estimations, meant the cars were not sufficiently fuelled, with all nine drivers retiring before the end of the encounter. Event organisers apologised, and amended the results accordingly.
Bad luck Pierre
Suck my balls
The Formula 1 midfield can be a ferocious place, as displayed in Hungary, when Nico Hülkenberg and Kevin Magnussen clashed while battling for position. Magnussen and Hülkenberg battled for 11th position through Turn 2, with the Renault driver adopting the outside line, before being edged onto the grass by his opponent. In the post-race TV pen, Hülkenberg approached Magnussen – who was conducting an interview – to say "once again, you're the most unsporting driver on the grid." Magnussen swiftly responded, telling his opponent to "suck my balls", as Hülkenberg walked off, later calling the Dane an "asshole". Everyone, clearly, needed a summer break.
'It's not me, it's YOU!'