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The disruption of 2020 meant we got to see Formula 1 cars in action at a selection of unexpected and unfamiliar venues, from the sweeping curves of Mugello to the plunges and crests of Algarve.

But the most spectacular sight of the year came in Bahrain, where Romain Grosjean’s Haas exploded into flames on the first lap of the night race. Mercifully, he escaped with his life from a crash which appeared to belong to another age.

Pre-season

The year began with the usual pre-season launches and tests, but as the teams began to pack up for the opening race in Australia concerns over the potential impact of Covid-19 were growing.

Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Daniil Kvyat, AlphaTauri, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Daniil Kvyat, AlphaTauri, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
George Russell, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
George Russell, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Frederic Vasseur, Alfa Romeo, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

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Australian Grand Prix

The race that never happened. Formula 1 crossed the world to reach Melbourne for the season-opening round, but after a positive case of Covid-19 was detected, the shock decision was taken to call off the grand prix. In an astonishing turn of events, the following nine races were all cancelled or postponed, and an almost entirely new calendar arranged.

Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo, Albert Park, 2020
George Russell, Williams, Albert Park, 2020
George Russell, Williams, Albert Park, 2020
McLaren F1 hospitality in the paddock on Friday, Albert Park, 2020
Fans, Albert Park, 2020
Fans, Albert Park, 2020
FIA Press Conference, Albert Park, 2020

The shutdown

Through March, April and May when the season should have been getting underway, the engines fell silent. A factory shutdown was enforced, though many teams deployed their resources to producing equipment to fight the pandemic. They finally returned to the track in June, ahead of the belated start of the season the following month.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2020
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2020
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Maranello, 2020
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Maranello, 2020
Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2020
Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2020
Mercedes-AMG GT R Official FIA F1 Safety Car with new WeRaceAsOne livery, 2020
Mercedes-AMG GT R Official FIA F1 Safety Car with new WeRaceAsOne livery, 2020

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Austrian Grand Prix

Our first sight of F1 racing in a pandemic came at the Red Bull Ring. Valtteri Bottas claimed first blood in the title fight with an assured win from pole position – form he struggled to replicate over the remainder of the season.

Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, Red Bull Ring, 2020
Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, Red Bull Ring, 2020
Red Bull Ring, 2020
Red Bull Ring, 2020
Carlos Sainz Jnr, McLaren, Red Bull Ring, 2020
Carlos Sainz Jnr, McLaren, Red Bull Ring, 2020
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Red Bull Ring, 2020
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Red Bull Ring, 2020
F1 drivers take a knee, Red Bull Ring, 2020
F1 drivers take a knee, Red Bull Ring, 2020
Lando Norris, McLaren, Red Bull Ring, 2020
Lando Norris, McLaren, Red Bull Ring, 2020

Styrian Grand Prix

Formula 1’s first ever ‘double header’ saw the teams race again on the same track the following week. Lewis Hamilton dominated a soaked qualifying session and delivered his first of 11 wins.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2020
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2020
Red Bull Ring, 2020
Red Bull Ring, 2020
Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Red Bull Ring,2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2020

Hungarian Grand Prix

There was pre-race drama in Hungary as Max Verstappen crashed on his reconnaissance lap. Speedy Red Bull repair work allowed him to take the start and collect second place behind Hamilton.

Pierre Gasly, Lewis Hamilton, Hungaroring, 2020
Pierre Gasly, Lewis Hamilton, Hungaroring, 2020
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Hungaroring, 2020
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Hungaroring, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2020

British Grand Prix

At Silverstone the drama came at the end of the race – Hamilton, Bottas and Carlos Sainz Jnr all suffered late tyre failures. Hamilton limped to victory with a punctured tyre.

Nico Hulkenberg, Racing Point, Silverstone, 2020
Nico Hulkenberg, Racing Point, Silverstone, 2020
Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Silverstone, 2020
Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Silverstone, 2020
Esteban Ocon, Renault, Silverstone, 2020
Esteban Ocon, Renault, Silverstone, 2020
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2020
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2020
Lando Norris, McLaren, Silverstone, 2020
Lando Norris, McLaren, Silverstone, 2020
Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Silverstone, 2020
Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Silverstone, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2020

70th Anniversary Grand Prix

Another ‘double header’, but this time Pirelli brought softer tyres. Mercedes suffered heavy blistering and Verstappen easily passed them to win for Red Bull.

Antonio Giovinazzi, Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, Silverstone, 2020
Antonio Giovinazzi, Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, Silverstone, 2020
Carlos Sainz Jnr, McLaren, Silverstone, 2020
Carlos Sainz Jnr, McLaren, Silverstone, 2020
Nico Hulkenberg, Racing Point RP20
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2020

Spanish Grand Prix

Normal service resumed in Spain, where Hamilton won again, though Verstappen split the Mercedes drivers on the podium.

Lance Stroll, Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Lance Stroll, Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Parc ferme, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Parc ferme, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Belgian Grand Prix

While Mercedes collected a one-two, Renault demonstrated their improving form by completing the top five behind Verstappen.

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020
Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020
Anthoine Hubert tribute, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020
Anthoine Hubert tribute, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020
Esteban Ocon, Renault, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020
Esteban Ocon, Renault, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020

Italian Grand Prix

Monza brought a shock result: Hamilton fell foul of the stewards, Bottas slipped back into the pack and Verstappen’s power unit failed. That opened the door for Pierre Gasly to hold off Sainz for a stunning win.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Monza, 2020
Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Monza, 2020
Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Monza, 2020
Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Monza, 2020
Claire Williams, Williams, Monza, 2020
Claire Williams, Williams, Monza, 2020
Carlos Sainz Jnr, McLaren, Monza, 2020
Carlos Sainz Jnr, McLaren, Monza, 2020
Lando Norris, McLaren, Monza, 2020
Cars leaving the pits, Monza, 2020
Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Monza, 2020
Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Monza, 2020

Tuscan Grand Prix

The first Formula 1 race to be held at Mugello in Tuscany saw carnage from start to finish. Verstappen was eliminated in a first-lap collision, a chaotic Safety Car restart wiped out several other drivers and a tyre failure pitched Lance Stroll hard into the barriers.

Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Mugello, 2020
Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Mugello, 2020
Fans, Mugello, 2020
Fans, Mugello, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Mugello, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Mugello, 2020
Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Mugello, 2020
Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Mugello, 2020
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Mugello, 2020
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Mugello, 2020
Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Mugello, 2020
Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Mugello, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Mugello, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Mugello, 2020

Russian Grand Prix

Bottas took a useful win in Russia as another penalty for Hamilton added intrigue to an otherwise typically processional race at Sochi.

Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2020
Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2020
Williams, Sochi Autodrom, 2020
Williams, Sochi Autodrom, 2020
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Sochi Autodrom, 2020
Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Sochi Autodrom, 2020
Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Sochi Autodrom, 2020
George Russell, Williams, Sochi Autodrom, 2020
George Russell, Alexander Albon, Lando Norris, Sochi Autodrom, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2020

Eifel Grand Prix

Late autumn races in Europe meant uncertain weather, which wrecked Mick Schumacher and Callum Ilott’s hopes of appearing in practice at the Nurburgring. Hamilton won again after passing Bottas, who then retired with a power unit glitch.

Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Nurburgring, 2020
Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Nurburgring, 2020
Mick Schumacher, Alfa Romeo, Nurburgring, 2020
Mick Schumacher, Alfa Romeo, Nurburgring, 2020
Nurburgring, 2020
Nurburgring, 2020
Nico Hulkenberg, Racing Point, Nurburgring, 2020
Nico Hulkenberg, Racing Point, Nurburgring, 2020
Daniil Kvyat, AlphaTauri, Nurburgring, 2020
Daniil Kvyat, AlphaTauri, Nurburgring, 2020
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Nurburgring, 2020
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Nurburgring, 2020
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Nurburgring, 2020
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Nurburgring, 2020
Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Nurburgring, 2020
Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Nurburgring, 2020

Portuguese Grand Prix

The rolling Algarve circuit produced a lively race, thanks also partly to rain on the opening lap. Hamilton’s latest win was his 92nd, setting a new Formula 1 record.

Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Autodromo do Algarve, 2020
Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Autodromo do Algarve, 2020
Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Autodromo do Algarve, 2020
Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Autodromo do Algarve, 2020
Esteban Ocon, Renault, Autodromo do Algarve, 2020
Esteban Ocon, Renault, Autodromo do Algarve, 2020
Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Autodromo do Algarve, 2020
Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Autodromo do Algarve, 2020
Start, Autodromo do Algarve, 2020
Start, Autodromo do Algarve, 2020
Anthony Hamilton, Lewis Hamilton, Autodromo do Algarve, 2020
Anthony Hamilton, Lewis Hamilton, Autodromo do Algarve, 2020
Lando Norris, McLaren, Autodromo do Algarve, 2020
Lando Norris, McLaren, Autodromo do Algarve, 2020

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

For the first time in 14 years F1 returned to Imola, where memories of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger are never far away. Hamilton won at the track where his hero died in 1994.

Imola, 2020
Imola, 2020
Imola, 2020
Imola, 2020
Romain Grosjean, Haas, Imola, 2020
Romain Grosjean, Haas, Imola, 2020
Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Imola,2020
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Imola, 2020
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Imola, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Imola, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Imola, 2020
Mercedes celebrate their seventh constructors' championship, Imola, 2020
Mercedes celebrate their seventh constructors’ championship, Imola, 2020

Turkish Grand Prix

Hamilton’s seventh championship had long seemed a formality, but he won it in style at Istanbul, where the recently re-laid track surface was made treacherous by rain. Stroll took a surprise pole position on Saturday.

Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Istanbul Park, 2020
Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Istanbul Park, 2020
George Russell, Williams, Istanbul Park, 2020
George Russell, Williams, Istanbul Park, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Istanbul Park, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Istanbul Park, 2020
Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Istanbul Park, 2020
Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Istanbul Park, 2020
Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Istanbul Park, 2020
Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Istanbul Park, 2020
Start, Istanbul Park, 2020
Start, Istanbul Park, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Istanbul Park, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Istanbul Park, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Istanbul Park, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Istanbul Park, 2020

Bahrain Grand Prix

Grosjean’s fireball crash stunned Formula 1 and pictures of his incredible escape made headlines around the world. Astonishingly, he survived, but was left with burns which prevented him from completing his final season with Haas. Hamilton won again, while a late MGU-K fault cost Sergio Perez a podium finish.

Romain Grosjean, Haas, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Esteban Ocon, Renault, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Esteban Ocon, Renault, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Romain Grosjean crash, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Romain Grosjean crash, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Romain Grosjean crash, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Romain Grosjean crash, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Romain Grosjean, Haas, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Max Verstappen, Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020

Sakhir Grand Prix

F1 raced again at the same venue a week later but things were very different. Hamilton was absent following a positive test for Covid-19, and George Russell took his place at Mercedes. Jack Aitken was handed his F1 debut at Williams and Pietro Fittipaldi likewise for Haas in place of Grosjean. Russell could have won his first race as a Mercedes driver, but was hit by multiple tyre dramas. With Bottas also compromised and Verstappen eliminated in a first-lap crash, Perez became the second first-time winner of the year.

Alan van der Merwe, Romain Grosjean, Dr Ian Roberts, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Alan van der Merwe, Romain Grosjean, Dr Ian Roberts, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Pietro Fittipaldi, Haas, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Pietro Fittipaldi, Haas, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Jack Aitken, Williams, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Jack Aitken, Williams, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
George Russell, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
George Russell, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
George Russell, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Sergio Perez, Racing Point, 1st position, celebrates on the podium

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

The season finale had none of the drama of the 16 races which preceded it, though it did produce an unexpected result. With Mercedes off form and Hamilton unwell. Verstappen took a pole-to-flag win.

Esteban Ocon, Renault, Yas Marina, 2020
Esteban Ocon, Renault, Yas Marina, 2020
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2020
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2020
Drivers, Yas Marina, 2020
Drivers, Yas Marina, 2020
Start, Yas Marina, 2020
Start, Yas Marina, 2020
Carlos Sainz Jnr, McLaren, Yas Marina, 2020
Carlos Sainz Jnr, McLaren, Yas Marina, 2020
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2020
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2020

2020 F1 season review

Read more of RaceFans’ 2020 Formula 1 season review:

Browse all 2020 F1 season review articles



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