After motorsport series across the world closed their doors to fans in the midst of the pandemic in 2020, the rollout of Covid vaccines led to governments permitting spectators back to circuits over 2021.
Here is a selection of RaceFans’ favourite F1 fan footage from the 2021 season.
Russell rocks Silverstone
On the first of F1’s sprint race weekends, with qualifying brought forward to Friday, George Russell put in one of his best performances of the season to get his Williams into Q3 and delight the Silverstone crowd, which Joel Spencer captured.
Hamilton and Verstappen collide at Copse
Neither the first nor last incident involving the championship contenders during 2021, but certainly the one which produced the heaviest hit, as this remarkable video from the spectator enclosure at Silverstone’s Copse corner attests. After tangling with Hamilton, Max Verstappen went backwards into the barrier with a force of over 51G.
Despite collecting a penalty for the tangle, Hamilton went on to win the race, and was pilloried by Red Bull for celebrating after Verstappen was taken to hospital. Hamilton had been able to see Verstappen standing by his car after the collision, as shown in this excellent 4K footage of one of the defining moments of the 2021 season, captured by Rob Fisher.
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Hamilton’s lonely restart
The restart of the Hungarian Grand Prix was one of the most bizarre the sport has ever seen. From the grandstands approaching turn one, YouTube user Retro F1 Futamok caught the amused reaction of the Hungaroring crowd to Lewis Hamilton being the only driver on the grid for the restart.
Verstappen starts the party in Zandvoort
The first Dutch Grand Prix for decades was always going to attract incredibly passionate supporters of Verstappen. The Red Bull driver did not disappoint his home fans, taking pole position and dominating the race to send trackside fans, including Marco de Jong, into raptures. The stands may only have been two-thirds full due to Covid-19 restrictions, but this was without doubt the liveliest event of the year.
The contenders collide again
The Italian Grand Prix saw the two title rivals come together for a second time in the season. Rounding the Rettifilo Chicane side-by-side, there proved to be not enough room for two at the impossibly-tight corner, with Team L_G‘s video capturing the inevitable outcome.
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Norris’s dreams of victory evaporate in Sochi
Lando Norris appeared to be within reach of a maiden grand prix victory in Russia, before a late downpour changed everything. This 14 minute video shot by Dmitriy Vasilevskiy at turn one, shows how the track conditions changed as the rain began to fall before Norris’s hopes of winning disappear at the 6’45 mark.
F1’s triumphant Texas return
Having not race in the USA in 2020 due to the pandemic, Formula 1 returned to Texas and the Circuit of the Americas to be greeted by the biggest crowd ever assembled for a grand prix in North America.
Watching from the start-finish line, Zamir Ahmadi captured this excellent footage showing the electric moments at the start of the race.
The shot that cost Verstappen €50,000
Peguei o Max conferindo as asas ao final do Qualy. pic.twitter.com/QY8gr66ujO
— Frederico Monteiro (@frd182) November 12, 2021
Red Bull had suspicions about Mercedes’ rear wing before the Sao Paulo Grand Prix began. That prompted Verstappen to take a close look at Hamilton’s car after Friday qualifying at Interlagos. He got too close however and was later fined €50,000 (£41,750) for breaking parc ferme rules by touching his rival’s car.
As it happens, something was up with Hamilton’s rear wing, though not quite what Red Bull had suspected. Two screws had come undone on the right-hand-side of the wing, which led it to fail a post-qualifying inspection. Hamilton was disqualified and had to start the Saturday sprint qualifying race from the back of the grid.
Final corner frustration for Verstappen
Max Verstappen looked destined to storm to pole position for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after blitzing the opening two sectors – until he reached the final corner. YouTube user hsm42201679 captured a dejected Verstappen in the moments after throwing away pole position.
Verstappen takes the title
The 2021 F1 season came to a controversial end on the final lap as backmarkers were selectively moved aside and the race hurriedly restarted, teeing Verstappen up for a crack at race leader Hamilton and the championship. The FIA is still grappling with the ramifications of that decision a month later.
Watching from the grandstands where the crucial move was made was Yvonne Guillermo Adorna, who captured Verstappen’s championship-winning pass which – through no fault of his – became instantly infamous.
Once Verstappen had passed Hamilton, the Red Bull driver still had to bring his car home. And Drew S was in the perfect place to capture the celebrations from Verstappen’s fans in the stands and the Red Bull team on the track.
Bonus – Castroneves climbs the fence
The Indianapolis 500 regularly attracts one of the biggest audiences in international motorsport, so it was an especially sad spectacle when the 2020 race was held behind closed doors. Fans were back in 2021, however, and the 105th running of the race saw the single biggest sporting crowd since the outbreak.
Helio Castroneves joined an exclusive club of four-times winners, holding off eventual champion Alex Palou in a thrilling conclusion to the race, held on a beautiful late-Spring Sunday. YouTube user turbomattk captured this fantastic footage of Castroneves celebrating a popular win.
Which F1 races will you go to in 2022?
- Going to the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit
- Going to the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at Jeddah Corniche Circuit
- Going to the 2022 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park
- Going to the 2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola
- Going to the 2022 Miami Grand Prix at Miami International Autodrome
- Going to the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya
- Going to the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix at Monaco
- Going to the 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix at Baku City Circuit
- Going to the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
- Going to the 2022 Britain Grand Prix at Silverstone
- Going to the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix at Red Bull Ring
- Going to the 2022 French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard
- Going to the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix at Hungaroring
- Going to the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps
- Going to the 2022 Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort
- Going to the 2022 Italian Grand Prix at Monza
- Going to the 2022 Russian Grand Prix at Sochi Autodrom
- Going to the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix at Singapore
- Going to the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka
- Going to the 2022 United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas
- Going to the 2022 Mexico City Grand Prix at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
- Going to the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix at Interlagos
- Going to the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina
Will you be attending any races in the 2022 F1 season? Let us know in the comments.
2021 F1 season
- Title ‘stolen’ from Mercedes made us ‘underdogs people cheer for’ – Wolff
- Red Bull Racing spent £230m during Verstappen’s title-winning 2021 campaign
- ‘I can’t box?’: Hamilton and Verstappen’s 2021 Abu Dhabi GP radio transcript
- Abu Dhabi’s legacy one year on: How the controversial 2021 finale changed F1
- The case for changing F1’s penalty points system as Gasly nears ban