It’s motorsport awards season, and champion drivers and teams are attending Galas and celebrations all over the world. We thought we’d get in on the act, look back over the 2016 F1 season and give out some ‘alternative’ awards of our own.
Most Unfortunate Emoji
Winner: Mercedes AMG F1
Lewis Hamilton was totally dominating the Malaysian Grand Prix, so of course Mercedes’ social media were going to tweet about it. The fire emoji made sense at the time but in retrospect it didn’t look like the best choice – especially with some of the ridiculous conspiracy theories that were going around.
In a year filled with quality memeage this was an incredibly tough choice, but we’ve decided to go with the second coming of PlacesAlonsoWouldRatherBe.
It was funny enough that he went and sat in a cameraman’s chair after his McLaren broke down, and on it’s own it stands out as being hilarious. But what elevated it to a whole new level of brilliance was the fact that it was the same driver at the same track doing pretty much the same thing as he had a year ago when it spawned probably the biggest of all F1 memes.
Most Predictable Moment
Winner: Kimi Raikkonen (Runner-up: Mercedes AMG F1)
Mercedes winning 19 of the 21 races and getting 20 pole positions is pretty damn predictable, but even they have to concede this award to something even more certain than their success.
When F1 fans noticed that Kimi Raikkonen makes a weird ‘bwoah’ sound before pretty much everything he says they couldn’t stop noticing. Now any time he speaks in an interview, press conference, or whatever – there will be a bwoah. Even his fellow drivers have noticed it. He must be doing it on purpose now, right?
Winner: Daniel Ricciardo
Ricciardo seems to have developed a taste for accents this year. At COTA he busted out a Texan accent on more than one occasion – it wasn’t perfect, but it was at least passable.
The biggest sin was at the German Grand Prix, when a slightly tipsy Ricciardo got asked a question by a Scottish journalist and thought he’d give the accent a go – only for it to come out Irish. Oops!
Most useless marshal
Winner: Barcelona marshal attending Hulkenberg’s Force India
Marshals do a terrific job at all motorsport events, volunteering their time to keep race tracks safe and allow racing to go ahead. Without them, there would be no motorsport.
That said from time to time they’re going to make mistakes, and if they’re unlucky it’ll get caught on camera. When Hulkenberg’s car caught fire in the Spanish Grand Prix a marshal rushed over with a fire extinguisher, only to end up spraying his buddy in the face. Dissatisfied at the way the fire was being dealt with Hulkenberg took matters into his own hands.
Most Savage Burn
Winner: Fernando Alonso
Fernando’s attitude at McLaren has been a lot more relaxed than we’re used to seeing from him. Johnny Herbert wondered whether that signalled a lack of motivation and questioned whether he should retire. Unknown to him, Alonso heard the whole thing and set the record straight on live TV with this sick burn. Rekt.
Winner: Daniel Ricciardo
Love a good game of ping pong pic.twitter.com/699PZVbX7l
— Daniel Ricciardo (@danielricciardo) May 16, 2016
Ricciardo’s lunge on Sebastian Vettel in the Spanish Grand Prix led to one of the best team radio messages of the year, when Vettel wondered if they were racing or playing ping pong.
Daniel obviously heard about the comments after the race and came up with this quality response. If only Vettel had Twitter.
Winner: F1 fans
Max Verstappen has had an incredible year of racing, with some outstanding drives and many well-deserved ‘Driver of the Day’ awards. However the US GP was not one of his finest. He’d qualified behind his team mate, was behind him in the race, came into the pits by mistake and retired with a gearbox problem – but was still voted driver of the day.
Quality trolling by the F1 audience. No-one could have voted for him seriously, could they? It was the least deserved result of F1’s new social feature all year – and that includes the one that was taken away from Rio Haryanto in Melbourne!
The Most WTF1 Thing
Winner: Marcus Ericsson crashing into a chicken
— Marcus Ericsson (@Ericsson_Marcus) September 28, 2016
Here at WTF1 we like to report on some of the stranger and more obscure aspects of motorsport. Every now and then something happens that’s so bizarre and so unlikely that it makes for the perfect WTF1 story.
Marcus Ericsson crashing his bike into a chicken is that story.
The ‘Spirit of Maldonado’ Award
Winner: Nico Rosberg (Runner-up: Daniil Kvyat)
Sadly we don’t have Pastor Maldonado to keep us all amused anymore, so we have to honour those drivers who do the things that Maldonado made look easy. This award is given to a driver who did something particularly stupid during the year.
Daniil Kvyat came close to winning the award for his Russian Grand Prix antics. After hitting Vettel in turn 2 (who clattered into Ricciardo as a result) Kvyat then slammed into the back of Vettel again in the next corner, putting him out of the race. It was all the excuse Red Bull needed to demote Kvyat to Toro Rosso and promote Max Verstappen to the main team.
The winner of this award however has to be newly-crowned champion and retiree Nico Rosberg. Maldonado liked to use his car as a weapon on occasion and while that isn’t quite what Rosberg did in Austria, it was such a clumsy and badly executed bit of driving that it sure made it look that way.