Start, Yas Marina, 2018

“Drive to Survive Episode 10: Crossing the Line” reviewed

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The final episode of Netflix’s F1 series “Drive to Survive” serves as something of a season recap, bringing together various storylines from the preceding nine episodes around the final race of the season.

It begins with a lengthy recap of highlights from earlier episodes. This drags in places, but does benefit from the inclusion of some material not covered yet in the series.

This includes a recap of the Brazilian Grand Prix which focuses on the collision between Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon. I would have thought that moment of high on-and-off-drama was tailor-made for a series such as this, so it was a surprise to see it get such an incidental treatment.

That serves to set-up the run-in between the pair early in the race in Yas Marina. Verstappen barges Ocon aside, accompanied by another of those clunky sound effects which still jar as badly as they did in the first episode.

Nico Hulkenberg’s alarming first-lap flip onto his roll hoop gets the full dramatic build-up, which is then undercut by Hulkenberg’s somewhat nonplussed recollection of finding himself upside-down.

The bulk of the drama centres on whether Daniel Ricciardo can put one over Verstappen in their final race as team mates. The overwhelming impression given by the edit is that Red Bull’s strategy in the race made that impossible, which is not an unreasonable point of view.

But taking the series as a whole, it does leave the portrayal of the Red Bull drivers looking somewhat unbalanced. We’ve seen plenty of Ricciardo’s better races and more of Verstappen’s weaker moments. Still, Verstappen at least comes out of the whole thing looking better than Romain Grosjean.

The final race of last season was a dead rubber to begin with, and offered little in the way of racing action. Netflix have probably done the best with what was available to them in this one.

The closing sequence of candid comments from the driver in front of the camera rounds things off on a high. These glimpses of the human side of F1 are what make “Drive to Survive”, its faults notwithstanding, an essential watch for all F1 fans.

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Drive to Survive Episode 10: Crossing the Line – Spoilers

For Verstappen, the circumstances of his collision with Ocon still rankle two weeks on. “I said at one point he should understand my reaction,” Verstappen explains to his team mate in between photo shoots.

“If you could hear what he said to me on the scales, he basically started laughing at me, he was like ‘I was faster than you, I wanted to overtake you’. He didn’t even apologise for the crash. That triggered me.”

Ricciardo also hears from team boss Christian Horner, who can’t resist getting in one last jab at his departing driver during the end-of-season picture. When Ricciardo remarks “next year’s car will be faster” Horner fires back: “It couldn’t be slower.”

Renault boss Jerome Stoll makes it clear to his team that he expects the same step forward Ricciardo does. “We are so close to the podium that I am sure next year we can do that,” he tells them. Whether Ricciardo enjoys the kind of success at Renault he’s grown used to at Red Bull will no doubt be a focal point of Netflix’s second F1 series.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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9 comments on ““Drive to Survive Episode 10: Crossing the Line” reviewed”

  1. More like limp over the line..

  2. Essential watch? The rules for F1 fans are getting too strict.

    However, I duly performed my F1 fan duties and watched the entire series. As it progressed, it became less documentary, more mockumentary – since Merc and Ferrari were never part of the storyline – the series was doomed to devolve into a B team soap opera.

    All the cringe-worthy sound efx, fixation on crashes and fake dramas portrays F1 much less a sport and more reality TV series: Fast Sociopaths Gone Wild.

    I’m a fan of F1 because of the engineering, the speed, the skill of the drivers. I also enjoy sausages occasionally – doesn’t mean I feel the need for a hollywood behind-the-scenes tour of the sausage factory.

    1. I had thought (rightly or wrongly, before someone jumps down my thought ;-) ) that both Merc and Ferrari had declined to be part of the documentary. Personally i didn’t miss them not being in the series. They both certainly had their fair share of dramas and incidents in last years season, so maybe they just didn’t want their dirty laundry aired in public. All round i thought the series was ok, nice to hear the TP’s swearing at stuff you assumed they did at, but never heard it before from the normal bog standard censored broadcasting, so it made it all a bit more normal, rather than the ‘staged’ show we’ve been accustomed too.

      I like sausages too :-)

      1. Stupid no ‘edit’ button ;-) ‘thought’ was obviously meant to be ‘throat’

      2. Correct, @barryged. They declined. And ruined not just the season, but the Netflix series as well. ;-)

        Other than a few minutes per episode there was very little behind the scenes footage. For such a highly technical sport, there was no interesting technical info shown. Just rah rah boom boom cut shots.

        Can only assume that Liberty sanctioned this Netflix series to prep F1 fans for a new smash ’em crash ’em F1 spec series where only the faux drama and swearing is important to viewers.

        1. New smash ’em crash ’em ??? I thought we already had that with Romain Grosjean ;-)

        2. @jimmi-cynic No swearing isn’t important as such, but it’s good to see/hear that even the most fittest of sportsman and highest of team principles are also human, and react to things in the same way as other mere mortals, you just don’t get to see/hear it in a normal broadcast of a race weekend, that’s all i was saying :-)

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed it – a number of interesting insights, I felt.

    One question I was definitely left with was how the hell Romain held onto his seat.

    I’d never picked up on the needle between Magnussen and Hulk before either.

    1. @muzza

      One question I was definitely left with was how the hell Romain held onto his seat.

      See Keith’s review of episode 7 (and my own vociferous comment under that article):
      The series didn’t even try to be nuanced or fair (at least in Grosjean’s case, but other drivers/teams were, to a lesser extent, given a very one-sided treatment as well). They almost exclusively dwelled on the worst moments of Grosjean’s season, all but ignoring the redeeming qualities. In this sense, the episode’s title “Keeping Your Head” is disingenuous, as it was construed to leave the viewers wondering how on earth he did keep his head.
      Perhaps, a more honest title would’ve been “Off With his Head”.

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