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The 2016 season: from A to Z

23 Dec 2016

From giant lizards to dancing marshals, we present an alphabetical guide to the most irreverent, unusual and crazy moments of the year…

A is for… Accent

Fresh from quaffing champagne out of his race boot on the podium in Germany (more on that below), Daniel Ricciardo felt compelled to answer a question in the post-race press conference in the accent of the journalist who’d asked it. Cue a hammed-up Irish accent, which would have been perfect had the journalist not have been Scottish. And to prove he's no one-trick pony, the Red Bull star then went all Texan on us in Austin.


B is for… Birds

Does Lewis Hamilton have something against our feathered friends? Sebastian Vettel certainly thought so after picking up the Briton for failing to give a pair of brave seagulls a wide berth during the race in Canada.


C is for… is for Crowd surfing

It’s not every day that you get to hoist a sweaty, champagne-soaked F1 world champion above your head – but for a lucky few fans at Silverstone that unusual scenario became a reality when Lewis Hamilton celebrated his home win by unleashing his inner rock god. Judging by Nico Rosberg’s post-title antics in Abu Dhabi, he was clearly impressed…


D is for… Dab

It may not have meant much to older fans, but the kids loved seeing Lewis Hamilton drop a ‘dab’ after his victory in Hungary. No word yet on whether Toto Wolff plans to pull out the same move at the Mercedes Christmas party.


E is for… Emotion 

From Felipe Massa’s tears in Brazil to Maurizio Arrivebene’s frequent displays of animated excitement, and from Daniel Ricciardo’s Monaco despair to Nico Rosberg’s very obvious relief at finally landing the title in Abu Dhabi, it’s been a rollercoaster season in the F1 paddock.


F is for… Face Paint 

This year’s Grand Prix in Mexico neatly coincided with the beginning of the country’s Day of the Dead festivities, so why wouldn’t Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen show up for their Thursday media commitments in full face paint?


G is for… Godzilla

With its high temperatures and brutal bumps, some would say racing in Singapore was hard enough without the organisers releasing real-life monsters onto the circuit. Well, makes a change from the groundhogs in Canada at least…


H is for… Hand gestures

With so many buttons, switches and paddles to operate, you’d think the drivers wouldn’t have time to take their hands off their steering wheels, but sometimes actions speak louder than words…


I is for… Insects

Daniel Ricciardo is more than comfortable racing an F1 car at over 350km/h, but doing an interview in the company of a particularly persistent wasp? Not so much…


J is for… Jacket

He may be a multi-millionaire who flies around the world in his own private jet, but Lewis Hamilton certainly hasn’t forgotten his manners...


K is for… Kickabout

Not content with being one of the world’s best drivers, Fernando Alonso proved in 2016 that his feet are just as adept at kicking a ball as they are with a throttle pedal and brake. But even the silky skilled Spaniard couldn’t prevent the F1 all-stars from getting a propping pasting in a special game against ex-professional players on the Monza pit straight. The final score? 22-10. Ouch!


L is for… Lederhosen

2016 was another record-breaking season for Max Verstappen, with the Dutch teenager becoming the youngest driver to both win a Grand Prix and to record a fastest lap. Oh, and thanks to a cunning PR stunt by Red Bull for their home race in Austria, he also became probably the only driver in F1 history to wear lederhosen on an F1 podium…  


M is for… Marshal antics

Where would F1 be without its brave band of men and women in orange jumpsuits? In 2016 they were fleet-footed, fond of dancing and occasionally in the firing line – but always on duty. F1 marshals, we salute you! 


N is for… Near misses 

Lewis Hamilton was involved in a couple of unusual near misses, but no one breathed a bigger sigh of relief in 2016 than Kimi Raikkonen…


O is for… On your bike! 

After a string of technical maladies in Abu Dhabi, you can hardly blame Daniil Kvyat for opting to use pedal power to get back to the pits after parking up his Toro Rosso with gearbox issues on lap 14.  Knowing his luck, it’s amazing he didn’t pick up a puncture…


P is for… Ping Pong

Ping pong: a sport in which players hit a lightweight ball back and forth across a table using a small bat, not, as Sebastian Vettel mistakenly thought in Spain, another driver attempting to pass up the inside…


Q is for… Quick exit

F1 drivers are required to be able to exit their cars within five seconds, but it took Kevin Magnussen considerably less time to jump clear of his Renault in the Malaysia pit lane. Well, it was on fire…  


R is for… Radio wire

Back in June Nico Rosberg became the first driver to win in Baku, and how did he celebrate this historic occasion? By hitting himself in the eye with his radio wire, of course!


S is for… Shoey

Give credit to Daniel Ricciardo: not only did he finish third in the world championship in 2016, he was also responsible for the most stomach-churningly disgusting celebration of the season. “Nico [Rosberg] told me he didn’t like it very much,” the Honey Badger said in Malaysia. “I love the taste, personally…”

T is for… Torpedo

In a brilliantly awkward pre-podium moment in China, Sebastian Vettel accused Daniil Kvyat of using his Red Bull like a weapon during their first-corner battle. Oh Seb, if only you’d known then what was coming on the opening lap of the next race in Sochi…  


U is for… Unexpected arrival 

On a good day, the best pit crews in F1 can change a car’s tyres in under two seconds. It does help, however, if they know the driver is coming in…


V is for Victory song

You’ve won in Italy, lifted the trophy aloft on the podium, sprayed the champagne and looked out over a sea of fans. What’s left to do? Encourage the fans to join you in a mass singalong of The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army, of course!


W is for… wrong hat

What is it with F1 drivers and podium headwear? Last year we had the infamous ‘cap toss’, this year we had Sebastian Vettel mistakenly putting the winner’s cap on in Italy and Nico Rosberg doing the same thing in Mexico. Come on chaps – it’s not like the finishing positions aren’t written on the side of them!


X is for… Xtra slow crash

Albert Park witnessed the biggest accident of the year, but it also witnessed the slowest: a perfectly choreographed spot of pit-lane wheel-locking conducted at a snail's pace by Manor’s Rio Haryanto and Haas’ Romain Grosjean. For a while it looked like they’d never be separated!    


Y is for… Yee-haw!

F1 has been going to Texas since 2012, so it was probably only a matter of time before the drivers started picking up the lingo, as Fernando Alonso showed when he let forth his inner cowboy after his late-race pass on countryman Carlos Sainz in Austin.


Z is for… Zoom

The bad news was Fernando Alonso’s car broke down during FP2 in Brazil. The good news was that he got some hands-on training in camera operation…