Leclerc and Verstappen signed, over to you Lewis…

Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc have secured top seats for the foreseeable future, but what do their renewals tell us about Lewis Hamilton’s plans?

Some expect the 35-year-old to retire in the near future, others envision him donning the red of Ferrari and many can’t see him leaving Mercedes.

While it’s still unclear what he’ll do, some conclusions can be drawn from the deals that the contenders to his throne have made.

He doesn’t fancy being team-mates with Max

The prospect of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen being team-mates at Mercedes had many a fan drooling and dreaming.

With the Dutchman now staying at Red Bull until Hamilton is 38, it looks like it’ll never happen, and we can’t help but think it was the Briton’s decision.

With Verstappen originally being a free agent at the end of 2020, Mercedes surely would have snapped him up to replace Valtteri Bottas, and he’d have almost certainly jumped at the chance.

If that was the case, negotiations would have already begun and he wouldn’t have committed to Red Bull. So, if both team and driver would have been up for it, why didn’t it happen?

Hamilton has a considerable influence at Mercedes and was consulted on whether Valtteri Bottas or Esteban Ocon got the 2020 seat, so it’s safe to assume that he can veto such a move. That’s not to say he’s scared of Verstappen, but more that he’d rather remain as the team’s clear-cut number 1 driver and have a rear-gunner like Valtteri Bottas to help him out.

It’s understandable, but disappointing from a narrative perspective nonetheless.

The retirement plans are on the back-burner

Even if Hamilton prevented Verstappen from joining him at Mercedes, many were confident the Dutchman would replace him when he eventually called it a day in F1. If he was likely to do so soon, Mercedes would surely be aware and would ensure Verstappen was free for when it happens, as would Verstappen himself.

The fact that this hasn’t happened suggests that Hamilton plans to stick around for a good while yet. It’s a near certainty that he’ll want to drive in 2021 to see what the new regulations are like and to potentially go ahead of Michael Schumacher in the World Championship count.

Retiring after that seemed the most likely possibility, but with Verstappen and Leclerc opting not to wait for Mercedes and the German team happy to let them be taken off the market, don’t be surprised if he ends up signing a longer-term contract himself.

Age is just a number, right?

Mercedes or bust

Regardless of when Hamilton leaves the grid for good, it’s looking more and more likely that the remainder of his career will be spent at Mercedes and not Ferrari, as many had hoped.

The rumours of such a move began to swirl at the end of the 2019 season when the Italian team admitted they were pleased he was available for 2021 and it emerged that the two had held talks. The idea of Hamilton ending his career with a new challenge at the sport’s most iconic team seemed more and more likely by the day. And then Leclerc signed a new deal.

Ferrari prefer having clear number one and number two drivers, and haven’t enjoyed having two of the former in their ranks since Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel became team-mates.

With the Monegasque driver committed to leading the team for five seasons at the least, they’re not going to want a driver come him and disrupt things when they could just have someone like Antonio Giovinazzi assist their golden boy instead.

Unless Hamilton is tempted by the romantic idea of ending things where they began at McLaren, it’s hard to imagine him leaving Mercedes before he retired.

Finley Crebolder

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F1 2021: How is the driver line-up shaping up?

We will bring you all the confirmed drivers as the F1 2021 line-up takes shape with official announcements made throughout the 2020 campaign.

Mercedes drivers F1 2021

Both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are currently out of contract at the end of the 2020 season, with six-time World Champion Hamilton linked with a move to rivals Ferrari.

TBC
TBC

Ferrari drivers F1 2021

Charles Leclerc has committed his long-term future to Ferrari, while question marks remain over not just Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari career, but his future in the sport, too. His current deal also expires at the end of 2020.

Charles Leclerc: Contracted until the end of 2024

TBC

Red Bull drivers F1 2021

Max Verstappen is another big name to secure his future with his current team, Red Bull. Who partners up with him is set to be one of the long-running stories over the course of the 2020 campaign.

Max Verstappen: Contracted until 2023

TBC

McLaren drivers F1 2021

Both Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris enjoyed stellar first seasons with McLaren in 2019, but neither are currently tied down to contracts beyond 2020.

TBC
TBC

Alpha Tauri drivers F1 2021

The rebranded Toro Rosso team may be given some fresh faces to introduce into the Red Bull set-up, while current drivers Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat will be wanting to show they are still worthy of a place on the grid heading into 2021.

TBC
TBC

Renault drivers F1 2021

New recruit Esteban Ocon signed a two-year contract with Renault after being announced as a replacement for Nico Hulkenberg, but will Daniel Ricciardo join him in committing to the team beyond 2020?

Esteban Ocon: Contracted until the end of 2021

TBC

Alfa Romeo drivers F1 2021

Alfa Romeo currently have two drivers in widely different stages of their career. Antonio Giovinazzi will once again be looking to nail down a spot on the 2021 Formula 1 grid for a third season. Kimi Raikkonen, meanwhile, now into his 40s, may decide to call it a day once and for all.

TBC
TBC

SportPesa Racing Point drivers F1 2021

Sergio Perez signed a three-year contract extension with SportPesa Racing Point back in August 2019, while, as long as Lawrence Stroll is in charge, you would suspect his son, Lance, will occupy the other seat.

Sergio Perez: Contracted until end of 2022

TBC

Haas drivers F1 2021

Haas came close to switching up their driver line-up for 2020, but Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen have both been given one-year extensions and another chance to impress ahead of 2021.

TBC
TBC

Williams drivers F1 2021

Williams will no doubt want to keep hold of Mercedes talent George Russell for another season at least and will do so unless the Silver Arrows see an opportunity for him elsewhere. Nicholas Latifi will want to join Russell in making the step up from Formula 2 to Formula 1 look seamless.

George Russell: Contracted until end of 2021
TBC

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Five early questions for the 2020 Formula 1 season

It’s a brand new year, and that means we can now really look forward to a new season of Formula 1.

F1 in 2020 has all the ingredients to be a classic – we saw the gap between Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull close right up as 2019 reached its climax, and the stable regulations give hope that the battle will rage on throughout 2020.

But teams also have a fair bit of juggling to do between 2020 and the following year where F1 will undergo a total transformation, that’s if the new regulations survive as planned.

There is also a very big piece of history on the line for a certain Mercedes driver.

So, with all that being said, here are the five very early questions which we have for the 2020 season…

Can Lewis Hamilton tie Michael Schumacher’s record?

Michael Schumacher holds the record of seven Formula 1 World Championships, and few believed that achievement would ever be seen again.

But, a six-time World Champion named Lewis Hamilton heads into 2020 as the hot favourite to do just that.

The dominant Briton has faced competition in the past, namely Sebastian Vettel during the 2017/18 seasons, and before that his own Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, but in 2020 they could be coming at him from all angles.

Not only is Vettel out to prove that he is still an elite driver, but Hamilton’s current team-mate Valtteri Bottas is desperate after a stronger showing last season to prove that he is a “no-brainer” choice for Mercedes for 2021.

But while those threats are credible enough, arguably Hamilton’s biggest alarm bells come in the form of Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.

In 2019 we saw that all these two needed was an opportunity to reach the F1 summit, and without doubt just some slight gains from Ferrari and/or Red Bull would instantly make these stars of the future title contenders.

So, we know Hamilton has the ability to put his name alongside Schumacher in the history books, but we wait to see if his list of challengers will allow him to do so.

Will we get that three-way title battle?

So with the previous point comes another question – is that three-way title battle between Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull going to materialise?

We have seen the story before where the top three outfits in F1 close up throughout a season, only for the gaps to return once we go racing again the following year.

But this time around there is more confidence, especially in the Red Bull camp. A team well known for being slow starters in the turbo-hybrid era, Red Bull say they are two weeks ahead of schedule for 2020, while the constant gains in the engine department from Honda give hope of a stop to that trend.

And over at Ferrari they have accepted the quite obvious fact that their low-drag approach with the SF90 didn’t work out.

If they turn up now for 2020 with a car that can use that engine power while remaining planted on a technical circuit, then for sure the Scuderia are a threat again.

Though even if Ferrari and Red Bull do take the fight to Mercedes in terms of performance, their next challenge would be to compete on the pit wall where the Silver Arrows flexed their muscles in 2019.

Can Sebastian Vettel keep his place at Ferrari?

Sebastian Vettel to blame for Brazil incident says Nico Rosberg.

In 2019 the emergence of Leclerc caused a problem or too for Vettel, but the German also had his fair share of errors where only himself was to blame.

His unforced spin behind Hamilton in Bahrain was not acceptable at a time where Ferrari were giving him priority as their No.1 driver, while further incidents like his error that cost him victory in Canada, his shunting of Verstappen at Silverstone or that bizarre crash with Lance Stroll in Italy provided further lows.

The four-time World Champion’s contract at Ferrari is up after 2020, so if he really wants to stay in F1 and still believes in his own ability to the level he claims, then Vettel has no choice but to prove it.

Leclerc is now tied down with a contract until 2024 – he is the future – but at 32 Vettel needs to give Ferrari reason to think that he is still a worthy investment for short-term success.

Will the 2021 changes survive?

A budget cap is in place and an overhaul of the sporting, technical and financial regulations is coming for 2021.

There is a strong framework in place, but this is Formula 1 after all, and not every party is satisfied.

So, the question is, will the revamp survive? And if so, will it be the changes which Formula 1 desires?

The midfield teams want the cost-cutting so they can move towards the top three, while Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull at the summit are not too sure – yet Ferrari, the only team who could veto, voted through the new rules in hope of making F1 fairer for those smaller folk.

So only in 2020 will the firmer details spill out into the public eye, and there will surely be some controversy along the way.

Can we cope with 22 races?

For 2020 pre-season testing has been cut from eight to six days in what is an attempt to reduce wear and tear on team personnel as F1 expands to a 22-race calendar.

It will be the first time that a Formula 1 season features 22 rounds as the Dutch and Vietnam GPs join the fold, and there has been a fear among the drivers that the Zandvoort Circuit, home of the Dutch GP, will do little to help F1’s overtaking problem.

But a reprofiled track now featuring banked corners will hopefully make it a spectacle, while Vietnam, a nation with no real connection to the sport, will hope it can follow Azerbaijan in providing a cracking venue to go racing.

In 2020 we will find out just how demanding 22 races will be, and if everyone can make it through that, then we’re safe in the knowledge that the calendar is only expected to become more crowded in future years.

Jamie Woodhouse

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Formula 1 drivers of the decade – 5-1

There were 66 F1 drivers in the 2010s. 25 made the podium, 12 won races and three became World Champions, but who were the 10 best?

We’ve already revealed the bottom half of our list, so let’s get on to the business end…

5. Max Verstappen

It’s pretty impressive that, at the age of 22, Verstappen has been on the grid for half a decade already. What’s even more impressive though is just how well he’s driven in that time.

He started off with a season at Toro Rosso and immediately showed the extent of his talent with excellent drives such as the P4 finishes in Hungary and the USA. He carried that form into 2016 and it quickly earned him a promotion to Red Bull, where he, incredibly, won his first race at the Spanish GP.

Apart from a rocky spell at the start of 2018, the Dutchman has gone from strength to strength ever since. Combining his speed with consistency, he has continually out-performed his car and won eight races, each as impressive as the last. As soon as he has the car, titles will be his. The 2020s may well be the decade of Max Verstappen.

4. Nico Rosberg

In his six seasons on the grid in the 2010s, Rosberg was team-mates with the two statistically best drivers of all time. He brushed aside the first and was one of the few drivers to often prove more than a match for the second. Not bad at all.

He began the decade as team-mate to Michael Schumacher at Mercedes. Most expected the seven-time World Champion to be the team’s star man, but Rosberg had other ideas. He prevailed in each of their three seasons together, getting four podiums to Schumacher’s one and one win to Schumacher’s none.

His team-mate then went from being an ageing legend to one at the peak of his powers in the form of Lewis Hamilton. Rosberg didn’t have the Brit’s speed or raw talent but drove well enough to ensure he’d take any chances he was given. He was rewarded for this in 2016 when, thanks to unrelenting consistency and a bit of luck, he prevailed to win his first World Championship in what would prove to be his final season.

3. Fernando Alonso

In a fairer world, Alonso would have ended this decade with at least one more title to his name. It wasn’t to be, largely due to the machinery he had underneath him, but my word did his driving deserve it.

He won five races and led the standings for much of his first season with Ferrari. However, he got stuck behind Vitaly Petrov in Abu Dhabi to finish it four points behind Sebastian Vettel. He came even closer in 2012, drving the wheels off his car to somehow put himself in title contention. Again though, Vettel took it away from him in the final race, finishing three points clear this time.

After two disappointing years with the Italian team, Alonso left for McLaren in 2015. Sadly it would bring an end to his time at the top in F1. With a Honda (GP2!) engine, the car usually, if lucky, found itself in the midfield battle. Nevertheless, Alonso continued to drive as well as ever and got some extraordinary results in it before retiring to pursue the triple crown.

2. Sebastian Vettel

Vettel may have struggled towards the end of the decade, but he started it with four seasons of near perfection which resulted in four consecutive World Championships. For that alone, he comfortably made our top two.

He didn’t lead the standings for most of 2010, but two dominant victories to end it earned him his first title. 2011 was a different story as he dominated the rest of the pack, winning 12 races and finishing off the podium only twice. The 2012 title was won in the final race with one of his best drives as he fought back to finish P6 after spinning on lap 1. There was no such drama in 2013 as he dominated again, winning 13 races this time.

After a poor 2014, he opted to join Ferrari and has had mixed fortunes. In his first two seasons, he didn’t have a car capable of challenging Mercedes but generally got the most of out it, taking three wins and 19 podiums. In 2017 and 2018 though, he did and could have become World Champion again if not for individual errors. These mistakes were present again in a disappointing 2019 season, but we still think the Vettel from the first half of the decade is still in there somewhere. At least we hope so.

1. Lewis Hamilton

Was it ever going to be anybody else? No, of course not. Winning a race every year and becoming World Champion five times, Lewis Hamilton has quite comfortably been the best driver of the last decade.

The start of it was disappointing by his standards. He finished only 16 points behind the top in 2010 but never truly looked to be in title contention, while 2011 and 2012 failed to give him a car good enough to challenge. Nevertheless, in that time he still won 10 races.

Everything changed when he joined Mercedes in 2013 though. His first season was solid, but once he was given a championship-winning car in 2014, he never looked back. 2016 didn’t go his way, but in the other four seasons, he has been imperious. Seeing off the challenge of his team-mate initially and Sebastian Vettel in 2017 and 2018, he’s proved that he’s the best on the grid and maybe even ever.

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Formula 1 drivers of the decade – 10-6

There were 66 F1 drivers in the 2010s. 25 made the podium, 12 won races and three became World Champions, but which ten stood out?

It’s a tough question to answer, but we’ve given it a go. Starting with the bottom half, this is what we decided…

10. Jenson Button

Having won his first World Championship in 2009, Button joined McLaren in 2010 aiming for more. If you’d have told him at the time that he wouldn’t get them, he’d have been disappointed. However, he generally did the best he could with the machinery he had.

In his first three seasons with the British team, he won eight races, including a stunning victory in Montreal in 2011. That season proved to be his best of the decade as he finished P2 in the standings and comfortably beat team-mate Lewis Hamilton. 2012 was also positive as he finished it just two points behind Hamilton with three wins to his name.

After that, McLaren’s fall from grace begun and there was little Button could do to stop it. He managed to snatch a last ever podium in 2013, but once McLaren took on Honda engines, he was stuck at the back of the grid and thus bowed out at the end of 2016.

9: Valtteri Bottas

Bottas joined the grid in 2013 but, in a poor Williams car, he initially struggled to show what he was capable of, finishing in the points just once in his first season.

But this changed in 2014. Driving far better machinery, he finished P4 in the championship, just over 50 points ahead of experienced team-mate Felipe Massa with six podiums to his name, before maintaining this form for the next two seasons, beating the Brazilian in both and scoring three further podium finishes.

The Finn was rewarded for his performances when he was handed a seat at Mercedes in 2016. Since then, he has proved to be a more than capable number two, winning seven races.

That being said he has struggled to consistently match Hamilton, but in all fairness, most drivers would.

8. Sergio Perez

Perez is the only man in our top 10 who failed to win a race in the 2010s. Nevertheless, he makes the cut for his ridiculous consistency and his ability to constantly make it onto the podium in cars that didn’t belong there.

The Mexican joined the grid in 2011 and after a solid first year, came into his own in 2012. Driving a Sauber, he got three podiums and was agonisingly close to a win in Malaysia. This form earned him a move to one of the big boys, but for various reasons, things didn’t work out at McLaren.

He returned to the midfield scene after just one year, joining Force India, and has been excellent ever since. In that time, he has been beaten by a team-mate only once and has stood on the podium five times, considerably more than any other driver outside of the top three teams.

7. Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi may not have enjoyed a massively successful return to Ferrari, but his early decade form at Lotus was more than enough to earn him the seventh spot in this list.

Having spent two seasons away from the sport, the Finn returned to the grid and was as good as ever. In 2012 he scored five podiums before capping off an excellent season with a dominant victory in Abu Dhabi. He was just as good in 2013, winning the first race and finishing P2 six times.

He was then re-signed by Ferrari and things went downhill. He did little to break free from his role as a number two driver and support for Sebastian Vettel, failing to win a race in his first five seasons. He finally did so in Austin in 2018 before moving to Alfa Romeo where he has enjoyed a solid first season.

6. Daniel Ricciardo

The Honey Badger joined the grid halfway through 2011, driving for HRT, before becoming a Toro Rosso driver at the start of 2012. It wasn’t until he moved to Red Bull in 2014 though, that he showed just how good he is.

Replacing fellow Aussie Mark Webber, Ricciardo was better than anybody expected. It took just seven races for him to get his first win, and not satisfied he picked up two more before the end of the season.

He kept up the impressive form for four more seasons at Red Bull, making some stunning moves and taking four more wins, proving he was more than a match for Max Verstappen.

Feeling he could achieve no more with the Austrian outfit, he took a risk and joined Renault for 2019.

The team failed to give him the car he was hoping for, but he still got the most out of it, finishing second of the midfield drivers. If he can find his way back into a worthy car, he’ll surely be a title contender in the 2020s.

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Ranking the best F1 seasons of this decade – 5 to 1

The 2019 Formula One season officially brought an end to the F1 action in this decade, 10 years which certainly left us with many memories.

So, looking back in time, Planet F1 ranks the best seasons of the decade, moving on to the top half as we crown the No.1 campaign…

5. 2013

Not only was 2013 the end of the V8 era in F1, but it was also the end of an era of dominance from one man and his team.

Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull would secure their fourth straight respective titles and last together, while the German’s run of nine straight wins to the end of the season sent the Vettel days out with a bang.

That streak was a new record of consecutive victories in F1, while his tally of 13 wins for the campaign tied Michael Schumacher’s 2004 record.

One of those wins of course came under very controversial circumstances as Vettel ignored team orders to stay behind Mark Webber in Malaysia, instead passing his team-mate for victory in what became known as the “Multi 21” controversy.

Naughty Seb. Still, it did him little harm with his achievements seeing him recognised by the Laureus World Sports Awards as the Sportsman of the Year.

4. 2014

So with 2014 in came the very quiet turbo-hybrid V6 engines and the arrival of this dominant Mercedes outfit we now know.

Behind the Silver Arrows it was left to the likes of Williams, Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren to battle to establish some supremacy – Daniel Ricciardo achieved that to beat Vettel in his first season at Red Bull and send the four-time champ packing for Ferrari.

A thrilling back and forth duel between Nico Rosberg and Hamilton in Bahrain, followed by identical power issues in Canada and a collision at Spa added some extra spice as the Mercedes pair battled all the way until the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP.

Hamilton entered the last round with a 17-point advantage over his team-mate, and electrical problems for Rosberg coupled with the thankfully short-lived double-points rule saw Hamilton crowned World Champion for the second time in his career.

2014 was also the year of Jules Binachi’s crash in Japan with his injuries sadly later proving fatal. His memory will remain in the sport forever.

3. 2016

Nico Rosberg will tone down his comments after negative reactions to his comments from Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

Two years later Hamilton and Rosberg were at it again, and Abu Dhabi would prove to be the decider once more, though this time Rosberg had a 12-point cushion over his team-mate.

Hamilton secured pole and led from the start, and it would lead to one of the craziest F1 moments of the decade as Hamilton slowed considerably to back Rosberg into Vettel in hope that the Ferrari man could make the overtake.

Mercedes’ clear instructions to stop would be ignored by Hamilton, though his plan failed to deliver as Rosberg crossed the line P2 behind the Briton to claim his only World Championship crown by five points.

It was a season of scruffy moments and bad luck for Hamilton, but after taking full advantage Rosberg would famously retire from F1 rather than returning to defend his title.

We also saw the emergence of a chap called Max Verstappen in 2016 as he claimed victory on his Red Bull debut in Spain after Hamilton and Rosberg took each other out on the opening lap.

2. 2010

For our runner-up in best season of the decade we skip back to the season which kicked it off, 2010.

There was plenty of excitement coming into it as Michael Schumacher made his return to the sport with Mercedes, while Hispania, Lotus and Virgin arrived to make it a 24-driver grid.

What we also got was one hell of a title battle – Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Vettel all claimed victory in the opening three rounds in Bahrain, Australia and Malaysia respectively.

Victory in China made Button the first driver to win two races in the season, before back-to-back P1’s for Mark Webber in Spain and Monaco showed he was a contender. It could well have been a hat-trick if it wasn’t for his collision with Red Bull team-mate Vettel in Turkey.

And it was in Germany where Ferrari returned to form and Felipe Massa was hit with the famous “Fernando is faster than you” message. It would be an important win for Alonso, but a $100,000 fine was the cost for the Scuderia.

Come the title decider in Abu Dhabi Vitaly Petrov would prove to be the key factor, holding Alonso to P7 when he needed P4 to win the title. Vettel would win the race and in doing so claim his first World Championship by four points.

Incredibly, that was the first time that Vettel had led the standings in 2010.

1. 2012

And now we get to the crown jewel – for us 2012 has earned its place as the best F1 season of the decade.

There were many elements that made 2012 the pinnacle, starting with the fact that we saw seven different winners in the opening seven races as Button, Alonso, Rosberg, Vettel, Pastor Maldonando, Webber and Hamilton all placed themselves atop the podium.

This run was a new record for the series with Alonso becoming the first repeat winner at Round 8 in Valencia. As was the number of World Champions starting the season with Vettel, Alonso, Button, Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and Schumacher all lining up in pursuit of further glory.

It was also a season of stunning underdog stories like Maldonado’s wonder drive in a Williams at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, while Nico Hulkenberg could have added his name to the list in Brazil under different circumstances.

As it was the season finale came down to Vettel and Alonso, it seemed the changeable conditions had rescued the Spaniard when he made it into the podium spot he needed at Interlagos while Vettel’s poor stop relegated him to P12.

But Vettel would fight his way back up to the P7 he needed to clinch the title, before Schumacher allowed his fellow German through into P6. Even a late Safety Car couldn’t stop Vettel as he brought his damaged Red Bull after earlier contact with Bruno Senna home to win his third World Championship.

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How the Formula 1 drivers celebrated Christmas

Many sports around the world require athletes to spend a lot of time away from their families, including at Christmas time.

Thankfully for Formula 1 drivers though the season finishes perfectly in time for Christmas, and here is what they got up to…

Romain Grosjean was rocking the Christmas jumper, and it looked like his boss Guenther Steiner had provided some artwork for the tree.

His Haas team-mate Kevin Magnussen though was having a more low-key celebration. Straight to the point.

Maybe he needed some artwork from Lando Norris to spice up his post?

Lewis Hamilton’s dog Roscoe provided the music – let’s be honest, it made a welcome change from the same old Christmas songs.

The Verstappen family meanwhile were all together for the holidays.

After the season Williams have had, nobody could blame George Russell for waiting with anticipation to see what gifts were coming his way.

Sergio Perez channeled the true spirit of Christmas and offered a lovely message to his followers.

There were no winter blues for Pierre Gasly – it looked lovely and warm as he wished everyone a Merry Christmas.

Rocking that Santa hat Antonio!

And finally, we can only wonder what this legend got up to…

Actually it was this, fun in the snow for the Raikkonen family. A picture summing up the ideal Christmas.

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Best of Pit Chat part 2: When Rosberg became JV

We take a look back at some of the most memorable moments from the second half of the season including Nico Rosberg being declared the new Jacques Villeneuve.

German Grand Prix

It was a case of freaky Friday in Germany. Everyone that got stuck in the lift with Daniel Ricciardo after practice all had a big fat DNF next to their name come race day.

Hungarian Grand Prix

Usually it’s Sebastian Vettel going into detective mode but, in Hungary, it was over to Carlos Sainz.

Belgian Grand Prix

Toto Wolff didn’t quite grasp the concept of smiling for the camera…

While Kimi Raikkonen still continued to absolutely love doing media work…

Italian Grand Prix

The Italian Grand Prix actually turned into Have a Pop at Nico Rosberg weekend after reaching for the spotlight one too many times.

Step forward Max Verstappen…

“I think he is the new Jacques Villeneuve. He [Villeneuve] has come around, but now it looks like it’s Rosberg who constantly wants to share a controversial opinion.

“Maybe he wants to attract viewers or something? He does it very often. At the beginning of this year he called me a narcissist. That is very extreme.

“Maybe he wants to earn money with his YouTube channel. If he had driven on longer, he could have earned much more.”

Step forward Lewis Hamilton…

“I thought it was really funny – I think Max is generally a really funny guy so I was cracking up when I saw it.

“Unfortunately drivers become irrelevant when they retire and ultimately have to hang on to utilise other people’s light to keep them in the light and so… but that’s the way of sport, I guess.”

And step forward Martin Brundle… even he could not resist getting a dig in by bringing up Monaco qualifying from 2014.

Singapore Grand Prix

How do you make a broken phone actually more valuable than it would have been working? Well just accidentally bump into him in the paddock and he’ll do the rest.

Russian Grand Prix

George Russell provided a savage Instagram post on his way to Sochi after his collision with Romain Grosjean in Singapore.

And Sebastian Vettel has never had so many fans agreeing with him after this classic radio message…

Japanese Grand Prix

Suzuka proved that you always need to have your wits about you around Daniel Riccardo…

Mexican Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel had zero time for Mexican Stig…

United States Grand Prix

…but a lot of time for converting young Mercedes fans into Ferrari ones…

Brazilian Grand Prix

Yep, Kimi Raikkonen still has zero time for the media. Grid interview for the first time on French TV, Kimi?

Ok, catch you next time.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Talk about saving the best until last, Lando. We didn’t know whether we were laughing or crying along with this one.

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A very Merry Christmas from PlanetF1

Turns out Christmas is supposed to be about spending time with family, friends and food, and not just continuing to write about Formula 1.

Whilst we take a couple of days to get into the festive spirit, we will leave you with all our post-season features in one handy place in case you want to stop talking to the extended family members you don’t particularly like that much or, if you’re in the UK, don’t want to be forced into watching Mrs Brown’s Boys.

We’re here to help you through:

Alfa Romeo, Haas, Williams driver reviews

McLaren, Renault, STR, Racing Point driver reviews

Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull driver reviews

Conclusions from the 2019 season

Five biggest success stories of 2019

Five biggest disappointments of 2019

Ranking the 2019 drivers – 20 to 11

Ranking the 2019 drivers – 10 to 1

PlanetF1’s end of season awards

PlanetF1’s alternative end of season awards

Ranking the 2019 rookies

A farewell piece on Nico Hulkenberg

A farewell piece on Robert Kubica

Concerns for Schumi Jr as the numbers don’t lie

Best of Pit Chat part 1

Best of Pit Chat part 2

From all of us at PlanetF1, we wish all our readers a very Merry Christmas!

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Best of Pit Chat part 1: When F1 got caught red-handed

We take a look back over some of the most memorable moments of the first half of the season, including F1 hyping up its own rather forgettable 1000th race.

Australian Grand Prix

The season started strongly with Red Bull having a cheeky dig at Fernando Alonso after Honda powered them onto the podium.

And Sebastian Vettel had clearly been spending some time during the off-season perfecting his Aussie accent so he could share it with the masses come race weekend.

Bahrain Grand Prix

Kimi Raikkonen provided some classic radio gold, just in case you had forgotten how straight to the point he is.

Chinese Grand Prix

China gave us one of the most unlikely selfies of the year…

While Formula 1 were caught red-handed trying to hype up their own 1000th race with pre-written tweets to then select from at end of the race…naughty.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix

The recovery truck didn’t do a particularly great job in recovering George Russell’s Williams car. That bang still makes us wince to this very day.

Spanish Grand Prix

Whilst we waited for someone, anyone, different to win other than a Mercedes driver, the state of Formula 1 was openly taken the p*ss out of by IndyCar, thankfully a particularly strong run of entertaining races after France would see the complaints subside somewhat.

Monaco Grand Prix

In Monte Carlo, Ferrari messed up qualifying with Charles Leclerc being a shock elimination in Q1 due to a miscalculation in the cut-off time. Luckily Ferrari didn’t open themselves up for more ridicule after holding a strategy masterclass prior to the session.

Oh…hang on.

Canadian Grand Prix

Canada, Canada, Canada…something happened there. What was it? Hmm…oh yeah!

French Grand Prix

While the French Grand Prix certainly didn’t give us anything on the track. In the build-up to the race week, though, we got Bernie Ecclestone and Helmut Marko in knock-off Spice Girls merch. Still can’t believe these photos exist.

Even Christian Horner’s smile suggests he can’t believe it.

Austrian Grand Prix

Now we thought Kimi Raikkonen flipped Lewis Hamilton the bird after blocking him in qualifying at the Red Bull Ring. Sorry for ever doubting you, Kimi.

British Grand Prix

Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo in the same press conference = entertainment. Just don’t expect any questions or answers to be given uninterrupted.

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