De Vries, sushi and madness in Miami - GP Blog's alternate season part 2

20-12-2019 16:55 | Updated: 20-12-2019 18:42
by Joseph Tyrrell
F1 News
De Vries, sushi and madness in Miami - GP Blog's alternate season part 2

Four months ago we brought you our alternate first half of the season, filled with drama, action and chaos. But with nine more races under our belts since then what has the GP Blog universe got in store for us this time?

Ferrari frenzy as Vettel and Leclerc clash at Monza

Expectations were high for Ferrari as fans flocked to the Autodromo Nazionale Monza for the Italian Grand Prix. A front-row lockout was confirmed with Charles Leclerc starting on pole, the Monegasque having the beating of Sebastian Vettel all weekend, but things aren't that simple...

Both drivers got a clean getaway and it looked as if the pair of them would drive off into the sunset in a two-horse race. The fans were ready to storm the track it looked as if a Ferrari would stand on top of the podium for the first time since 2010 at their home race but then disaster struck!

With just two laps remaining Leclerc misses turn one and he's forced to go around the bollards seemingly letting Vettel through for the win. Leclerc not content with second place re-enters the track, shunting Vettel into the barriers. Mercedes streak through for a one-two (normal service resumed).

Both drivers storm back to the garage where Vettel pushes his teammate. A 20 man brawl ensues as the two garages go to war. Both groups are eventually calmed down and Leclerc and Vettel are called to the stewards. They both receive a five-second stop and go penalty, are forced to say sorry and have to write 100 lines of "We will not fight in the garage again".

Williams rejuvenated? Verstappen vs De Vries

The summer break couldn't have come at a better time for the Williams Formula 1 team. Bottom of the table, only a single point to their name they decided they needed a change. Out with Robert Kubica and in with Nyck de Vries as they looked to rejuvenate their team.

And it looked as if it had worked when their new man scored two points on his debut at Spa. However, things quickly went south as an engine failure for both of Williams' drivers saw them leave with nothing in Singapore and Russia. 

During this rocky spell, De Vries went to his fellow Dutchman for advice as he looked to get out of the rut. However, at the next race in Russia, the pair went wheel to wheel after Verstappen dropped from fifth to 18th at the start of the race. A brief battle played out before Verstappen pulled away. 

The Red Bull driver managed to pull off an impressive podium finishing third, but the pair came to blows once again as the former F2 star gatecrashed the podium interviews shouting expletives at his compatriot. Martin Brundle. who had previously been on the wrong end of Lewis Hamilton's rage, tried to split the pair up only to fall over Verstappen's champagne.

De Vries was sacked by Williams for the altercation and subsequently replaced by Nicholas Latifi. Alongside George Russell, he scored enough points for Williams to finish ahead of Haas in the Constructors' Championship.

Lando Norris takes maiden F1 win in Japan

Lando Norris was dubbed Hamilton 2.0 in the buildup to the 2019 season but sat outside the top ten in the Drivers' Championship heading into the Japanese Grand Prix. The Bristolian's fear of sushi making the headlines over his driving.

However, his fear of sushi would be the making of the young McLaren driver. After voicing his fear of sushi after the Russian Grand Prix, Norris was the only driver on the grid not to immerse himself in the Japanese culture. All of a sudden Lewis Hamilton dropped out of the race with food poisoning. Then Vettel, then Verstappen and before you knew it the grid was down to ten. 

Racing against a mix of F1 regulars, up and coming motorsport stars and for some reason Fernando Alonso who decided to make a comeback, Lando Norris led from pole to take his first-ever Formula 1 Grand Prix victory.

In his podium celebration, alongside Mahaveer Raghunathan and Jamie Chadwick, Norris filled his Valentino Rossi bucket hat with champagne and declares it a "hatty". The celebration never caught on much to the delight of Daniel Ricciardo. 

Esteban Ocon's revenge

The season looked as if it was going to play out hiccup-free after Mexico and COTA brought us back to reality with a pair Mercedes one-two finishes. 12 months on from Max Verstappen's nightmare at Interlagos, no one was going to stop him in 2019. No one but Esteban Ocon that is.

The Frenchman aggrieved after missing out on a drive this season turned up for his standard Mercedes duties only for Bottas to throw up moments before the race after eating some dodgy porridge. Whilst the stewards cleaned up the mess on track, Mercedes called on Ocon to step in. 

Max looked on for the win, all he had to do was hold Ocon off for one more lap, but the former-Racing Point driver swooped past at the Senna S and crossed the line two seconds clear of his rival.

Verstappen in his frustration refused to take to the podium and for being a bad sport was handed community service. Ocon meanwhile was rewarded with his P45 and he signed for Haas.

Mercedes meltdown at Miami season finale

A quiet but consistent second half of the season had seen Mercedes take control of the Drivers' and Constructors' Championship but four drivers had a shot at the title heading into the final race. Chase Carey's moustache got his way again as F1 got a Miami race and immediately instated it in place of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 

Lewis Hamilton needed to win and Valtteri Bottas finish fourth or lower to retain his title but Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel could all win. As the race entered its closing stages, Hamilton and Bottas sat P1 and P2 with the Brit backing up his rivals in a bid to let them overtake. First Toto Wolff, then Bono and then Nico Rosberg called on the five-time World Champion to speed up but to no avail. 

It looked as if it would be Abu Dhabi all over again, but the Brit locked up at the final turn of the final lap with Bottas shunting into the back of this teammate. Both Silver Arrows were forced to retire whilst Max Verstappen stormed through and took the win making him the youngest ever World Champion in the most dramatic of circumstances. 

A jubilant Verstappen was presented with his World Championship trophy by Rosberg who vlogged the entire thing.

Well, what a season we've enjoyed here at GP Blog! Thrills, spills and everything in between. Let us know what mayhem occurs in your alternate universe in the comments below!

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