It may not have been a classic season but the 2016 Formula One campaign certainly had its moments.
We had a brand new world-champion – and a post-season bombshell. Plus, we witnessed the emergence of the sport’s next superstar, every team scored a point for the first time in seven years and former world champ Jenson Button called it a day.
So with the dust just about settled on another year criss-crossing the globe and doing battle on the greatest racetracks, here are the moments Ladbrokes News loved most in 2016…
Silver Arrows self-destruct in Spain
It had been coming. For two-and-a-half years it had been coming. But finally, in Spain, the two Mercedes team-mates wiped each other out in a manner not seen since Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna in 1989.
It was an enthralling, dramatic, stunning piece of sporting action, as Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton came to blows just seconds after the start and Mercedes suffered a global PR disaster.
Rumours later surfaced that Hamilton threatened to quit and walk out on the team – and the sport – there and then. Tensions between the two title protagonists reached another level that weekend.
If there was one man who did more than any other to stun the crowd and court the world’s press, then it was Max Verstappen.
The Dutch superstar received a surprise promotion from Toro Rosso to Red Bull in round five in Spain, and after Hamilton and Rosberg lay in the gravel, a stunning debut win duly came.
The youngest Formula One winner in history, the 19-year-old made more overtakes than any other driver this season, and after ruffling more than a few feathers, saved his best until the end.
Making a late-switch for tyres in Brazil, the teenager left everybody in awe with his display to scythe through the field to finish third. The manner in which Verstappen drove was eerily reminiscent of wet-weather legends Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher. Watch this space in 2017.
In the modern world of sport, it’s very easy to simply go through the motions, pick up the paychecks, and repeat.
But Nico Rosberg had a dream, one which he finally realised in Abu Dhabi last month.
With nothing left to prove – to himself more than anything – and a boyhood dream achieved, Nico, with young family in tow, mic dropped the world by announcing his retirement just five days after winning the title.
Whatever your views are on the German, you have to respect his refreshingly honest and humble approach to Formula One and its place in the world.
Slowly realizing what happened yesterday. I guess I have a third ? now ??? pic.twitter.com/0FBpAur10Y
— Nico Rosberg (@nico_rosberg) November 28, 2016
A moment for Manor
Everyone loves an underdog, and Manor are everyone’s favourite.
After a difficult few seasons, it was delightful to see the Banbury-based outfit mix it in the midfield this season.
And the highlight came at Austria, where Pascal Wehrlein picked up only the team’s second-ever Formula One finish.
Still regarded by most of the Formula One world as the out-and-out best driver around, Alonso continued to work miracles as McLaren and Honda made sizeable improvements on their disastrous 2015 campaign.
To finish 10th in the standings was nothing short of incredible, and and as the sport learns to grow into the social media era, Alonso is the best in the business there too.
— WTF1 (@wtf1couk) October 2, 2016
Even when his car broke down, the two-time champion still managed to steal the show…
— Snap: voltapramarcar (@VoltaPraMarcar) November 11, 2016
And after surviving a horrendous accident at the season-opener in Australia, Alonso responded in witty fashion…
— Guille de Oliveira (@goliveira) March 21, 2016
Daniel Ricciardo’s shoey
When it comes to drivers of the year, Daniel Ricciardo is likely to feature in the number one spot more often than not.
The Aussie was simply faultless for Red Bull this year, and but for team errors, would have won three times instead of once.
But the ever-smiling Ricciardo was always on hand to provide some personality with his shoey celebration.
— Scuderia Ferrari Fan (@Ferrariforever5) October 2, 2016
Champagne out of a hot-sweaty racing boot? Mmmm…
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