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From Ricciardo’s dramatic return to Hamilton’s future dilemma – 5 standout moments from Season 6 of Drive To Survive

Staff Writer

Mike Seymour
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It’s been a dream week for F1 fans as, not only have cars returned to the track for testing in Bahrain, but the ever-popular Drive To Survive has returned to our screens on Netflix. After watching all 10 episodes from Season 6, we present five of the most memorable moments from the latest instalment…

Ricciardo seals his comeback

Daniel Ricciardo looked down and out after a troubled stint at McLaren saw the two parties separate a year earlier than planned, but the Australian secured a lifeline for 2023 when Red Bull brought him home as their new third driver.

READ MORE: Ricciardo says he’s ‘fallen in love’ with F1 again as he admits Red Bull return is his ‘dream’

Such is the way in F1, it was a lifeline that soon turned into much more, with Episode 2 following Nyck De Vries’ struggles to adapt to his full-time seat at AlphaTauri while a rejuvenated Ricciardo ticked all the boxes in the simulator and during media appearances.

By the midway point of the season, Red Bull chiefs had lost their patience with De Vries and, after several months out of a real-life cockpit, Ricciardo was given the ultimate chance to audition for the Dutchman’s seat with a test outing at the British Grand Prix venue.

Netflix joined Ricciardo for the full experience, capturing his pre-test jitters on the car journey to the track, conversations with Red Bull engineers in the garage, plenty of shots of him pounding around (which included an early spin) and the moment he got informed that the drive was his – cue that trademark grin…

But from Ricciardo’s elation, the cameras cut to a dejected De Vries in his apartment as he came to terms with his F1 dream effectively being over – the sequence summing up how the sport is full of thrilling highs and painful lows at every turn.

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Drive to Survive | Season 6: Ricciardo's test run at Silverstone

Hamilton’s future conundrum

A couple of episodes later, the focus shifted to Mercedes and, more specifically, Lewis Hamilton’s future in F1, with the seven-time world champion taking his time to commit to a new deal that was eventually announced last summer.

It came amid another season of relative struggles for the Silver Arrows, who have yet to nail the current ground effect era, with Hamilton recalling the moment he urged Mercedes’ engineers to make changes for 2023, only to be told “we know what we’re doing – you’re wrong”.

BUXTON: Hamilton’s Ferrari move is the biggest driver signing in F1 history – and the prospects are delicious

As the early races ticked by and Mercedes struggled to make an impression – Hamilton’s follow up with engineers leading them to admit that “maybe you were right” – it looked as though a separation could be on the cards, but Netflix were there for a breakthrough Spanish Grand Prix when the updated W14 landed a double podium finish.

Later in the year, after further progress and some honest conversations between driver and team boss, Hamilton put pen to paper on a two-year extension, commenting that “there just never feels like a time where I’m not going to be a Mercedes driver”, while Wolff added with a smile: “Lewis at Ferrari in a red overall… it wouldn’t suit him”.

It all makes for a fascinating, somewhat surreal watch given the recent bombshell development of Hamilton exercising a release clause in his freshly signed contract and agreeing terms with Ferrari for the 2025 season.

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Drive to Survive | Season 6: Wolff on Hamilton's move to Ferrari

Steiner’s reunion with Binotto

Episode 4 brought us a side-by-side chapter covering the efforts of Williams and Haas – and their differing approaches to racing – as they battled it out for position in the lower-end of the constructors’ championship, with every point scored being crucial.

While Williams showed plenty of encouraging signs as the season wore on, rising to an impressive seventh in the standings, Haas went in the opposite direction, ultimately falling to the foot of the order and piling the pressure on team boss Guenther Steiner.

READ MORE: Steiner addresses Haas exit, the moment that ‘stung’ and his future F1 plans

Netflix were present for several more calls between Steiner and team owner Gene Haas, which unsurprisingly included their fair share of frustration and swear words and served as a build-up to the winter conversation that saw the Italian relieved of his duties.

At the end of the episode, Steiner caught up with his old friend, former Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto, at a vineyard in the Italian Dolomites, for a reunion that will no doubt delight Drive To Survive fans after their entertaining road trip opened last season.

Checking out some grapes and sitting down for a glass of wine together, Binotto shared what life has been like away from the fast-paced world of F1, telling Steiner that “it’s all about slowing down”, while the latter pondered his own future and ended the episode with the telling line that “maybe it’s time to do something different”.

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Drive to Survive | Season 6: Steiner and Binotto reunited

Lawson’s unexpected F1 chance

At the start of this piece we wrote about Ricciardo sealing an F1 comeback, but no sooner had he returned to action, a practice crash at the Dutch Grand Prix left him with a broken wrist and facing several races on the sidelines.

That meant a golden opportunity for Red Bull and AlphaTauri reserve driver Liam Lawson, who was – quite literally given the weather conditions – thrown in at the deep end at Zandvoort, before growing in confidence and impressing with a series of strong qualifying and race performances.

READ MORE: Ricciardo, Tsunoda and Lawson – Inside the three-way fight for an RB seat in 2025

The standout showing from his stand-in sequence was undoubtedly the Singapore Grand Prix, where cameras joined Lawson and his family – who had flown over from New Zealand – for a memorable weekend under the Marina Bay lights.

When Lawson remarkably landed a spot in Q3 at the expense of Red Bull driver Max Verstappen and then battled his way to some valuable points, his family could not believe what they were watching, leading to some particularly emotional and heartwarming moments.

While AlphaTauri stuck with Yuki Tsunoda and the recovered Ricciardo for 2024 – Lawson asserting that “it’s meant to be me” when quizzed about the situation by Netflix – his substitute efforts raised plenty of eyebrows and were a highlight of the season.

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Drive to Survive | Season 6: Lawson celebrates with family

Alpine’s dramatic reshuffle

Alpine and their two drivers, Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, feature heavily throughout the new season of Drive To Survive in what proved to be an action-packed 2023 for the French manufacturer both on and off the track.

While Gasly and Ocon’s rivalry – stemming from some disagreements in their karting days – got plenty of coverage, so too did the managerial movement above them as Alpine’s parent company, Renault, grew more and more frustrated at a lack of progress.

READ MORE: Famin confirmed as Alpine team boss for 2024 season after interim period

By the Belgian Grand Prix, the button had been pushed and sweeping changes were implemented, with Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer and Sporting Director Alan Permane both dramatically shown the door and former engine chief Bruno Famin stepping up to take the reins.

Netflix followed Szafnauer as he made his departure from the Spa-Francorchamps paddock – while the race weekend was still running – to head home and think about what the future might hold, and captured what was said between him and replacement Famin.

After that exchange, Famin is shadowed on a trip to Alpine’s Enstone factory where he is met with a wall of staff watching his every move and listening to his every word intently, and the reality of what’s ahead of him dawns.

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Drive to Survive | Season 6: Alpine leadership changes

Head to Netflix now to watch every episode of Drive To Survive Season 6.

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