5 of the most dramatic moments from Season 5 of Netflix’s Drive To Survive
It’s finally here: Season 5 of Drive To Survive hits your screens today, and Netflix’s Formula 1 documentary is as compelling and spectacular as ever…
Yes, Season 5 begins with Guenther Steiner and Mattia Binotto hanging out in a Fiat 500, and it recaps the 2022 campaign with remarkable style – but Drive To Survive is brimming with juicy drama. Scroll down for some of the most delectable moments.
Spoilers ahead, of course.
Mercedes enter the new era
The Silver Arrows entered 2022 defending their constructors’ championship, and their interpretation of the new-for-2022 technical rules led to an unorthodox-looking W13. Unfortunately for Mercedes, the car wasn’t the one that would secure them a ninth-straight constructors’ title. Drive To Survive tracks their realisation that the title defence would turn out not to materialise.
Toto Wolff speaks candidly about the events of Abu Dhabi 2021 and Mercedes’ efforts to bounce back with a title-winning car. And when it turns out that the new car isn’t that machine, Wolff and his colleagues' faces paint a picture of frustration mixed with disappointment as they burn the midnight oil back at base.
When the British Grand Prix rolls around, this hints at being a story of redemption. Lewis Hamilton and George Russell enter their home race brimming with hope and optimism that ultimately does materialise in the most spectacular way as Hamilton clinches a podium in style.
Celebrations reach fever pitch when Mercedes secure a one-two and Russell takes his maiden win in Brazil – but with the title out of reach, it soon becomes clear that their ultimate goal is to beat Ferrari…
Magnussen and Schumacher's contrasting seasons
Steiner is at his best this season. The Haas Team Principal has always told it like it is, in his inimitable, hilarious way. And there’s more of him in Season 5. Last year saw Kevin Magnussen make a sensational comeback to F1 and it’s heart-warming to watch the Danish driver discuss how fatherhood has changed him as he plays with his daughter. Points on debut in Bahrain follow, and Drive To Survive goes behind the scenes on that memorable day with Steiner’s elation clear to see.
But that contrasts heavily and effectively with Mick Schumacher’s struggles at the North Carolina-based team. There’s an episode almost completely based on the young German’s second season with Haas. It shows Schumacher following in his father’s footsteps – with a great old clip of Michael Schumacher and Jos Verstappen discussing whether they’d allow their sons to become F1 drivers – and traces his struggles to find some form with Haas.
“If Mick doesn’t want to stay here, he’s free to leave if he doesn’t like it,” says Steiner to a colleague off camera after a particularly tense interview with a journalist.
The episode then turns its focus to Mick himself, who opens up about the pressure of carrying the Schumacher name in an honest interview. Ultimately, Mick does leave – but his battle with Max Verstappen at Silverstone is given a very deserving spotlight.
The Piastri saga
Otmar Szafnauer opens one episode talking about his departure from Aston Martin: “More pressure, less fun, less achievement,” reasons the Alpine Team Principal.
But there’s plenty more drama to come at Szafnauer’s new team. Alpine, who last year had two-time champion Fernando Alonso alongside Esteban Ocon, were embroiled in a contract saga, a tug-of-war with McLaren that centred on their highly sought-after reserve driver Oscar Piastri.
“He could be the next Max Verstappen,” says Red Bull boss Christian Horner of the young Australian.
Sebastian Vettel’s retirement – a shock to Sergio Perez, who learns of the news just as he’s about to begin an interview with the Drive To Survive producers – is the next piece of the story.
And then it’s Alonso’s turn: he says he’s leaving for Aston Martin. Szafnauer criticises the veteran’s “lack of loyalty”; Alonso grins as he says “bye bye. I’m still the bad guy.”
The story rages on as Drive To Survive delves much, much deeper, capturing the emotions of almost everyone involved with the saga that stretches across two episodes, the latter of which begins with Piastri, grinning into the lens, saying: “I’m back, and I’m a McLaren racing driver now.”
As for Szafnauer, he says: “If I were the CEO of McLaren, I would have taken Pierre Gasly.”
Verstappen’s DTS debut
Max Verstappen sits down and talks to the camera in the latest season of Drive To Survive, and it’s a welcome addition to the show as he shares his opinion on the pressure piled on team mate Sergio Perez and the feeling of being reigning champion.
But it’s the penultimate episode that shines the spotlight on the Dutchman as it focuses on weekends in Singapore and Japan.
The context – with rumours of an investigation into Red Bull’s alleged spending over the cost cap – is plainly offered, and interviews with McLaren’s Zak Brown, Mercedes’ Toto Wolff and Red Bull’s Christian Horner don’t sensationalise, but explain the issue from their perspectives.
But this episode is all about Verstappen, on the verge of winning the title, as he loses out in a painful Singapore Grand Prix but gets another chance to secure the championship next time out in Japan. The camera follows him and gives us a rare glimpse into the champion’s mindset as he tries to stay focused amidst growing attention on his team.
The rain, along with a growing crescendo of music, engines, and team radio chatter, only adds to the atmosphere.
“When I’m in the car, I will never give up,” says Verstappen as the dramatic Suzuka clash gets under way.
As he celebrates his second title and the camera struggles to focus on him with the champagne flying, it switches back to Horner as he speaks to the camera, and says: “So, it looks like we’ve breached the budget cap for 2021...”
Ferrari's ups and downs
Back at the start of the 2022 campaign, Ferrari were not only title challengers, but they were in the lead of the championships with Mattia Binotto at the helm. Drive To Survive tracks the team boss’s efforts to bring Ferrari to the front of the championship – where they expect to be.
It all starts swimmingly with a one-two in Bahrain as Red Bull falter with reliability issues, but Binotto’s brow begins to furrow as Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz begin to see wins slip away from them.
The Italian team boss says there’s a “heavy air of worry” as he describes the atmosphere within the Scuderia; Red Bull boss Christian Horner says he’s “grateful” that his rivals' title challenge is floundering.
“Yeah,” he replies, with a completely straight face.
As for Leclerc and Sainz, Drive To Survive captures the drivers’ sheer disappointment that Ferrari’s hopes are fading – and there’s even an appearance from Carlos Sainz Sr.
That scene leads to the story of Carlos Sainz Jr’s maiden victory in the 2022 British Grand Prix, which is edited in typically theatrical style as the Spaniard’s elation is juxtaposed against his Monegasque’s team mate’s deflation.
Ferrari’s story continues on, but only in the final episode does it reach its conclusion – where in Abu Dhabi they come out on top in the fight for P2 in the constructors’ championship.
Binotto eventually departs – and at the very end of the last episode, Fred Vasseur is asked if he looks good in red.
The brand new series of Netflix's 'Drive To Survive' has landed! And to celebrate, we've curated your first F1 Tracks Playlist Takeover of 2023 from our musical fans of the show – including RAYE, Biffy Clyro, Sigma and You Me At Six. Listen here.