IT’S been one of the most intensely fought seasons in Formula One history, and this weekend it’s sure to reach an exciting crescendo.
Max Verstappen could end Lewis Hamilton’s rein of dominance in the F1 worldCredit: AP
The Mercedes driver felt he was ‘very fortunate’ to be alive after a horror crash with Verstappen this seasonCredit: Reuters
They’re currently tied at 369.5 points but Verstappen has the advantage of having won one more race, meaning should neither driver finish, the Dutchman will take the title.
Earlier this week ex-F1 driver Johnny Herbert suggested “only Verstappen” would be willing to cause a crash to take out his rival – and it wouldn’t be the first time a championship has been decided in this way.
In 1990, Aryton Senna intentionally took out Alain Prost to ensure he would win.
While watching the now-infamous Senna crash, Verstappen previously remarked: “I mean, why not?”
It would be a seriously risky move in what is already a dangerous sport.
Ahead of Verstappen and Hamilton battle, we look back at some of the most shocking moments in F1.
Romain Grosjean leaping out of the towering inferno last yearCredit: Splash
The F1 star was left with severe damages to his fingers after emerging from the flamesCredit: Refer to Caption
Romain Grosjean looked to be in good form as he exited turn two during the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.
His Haas car had gained two places, but as he tried to overtake Russia’s Danii Kyvat, disaster struck.
As Switzerland-born Grosjean edged ahead he clipped the nose of his rival and his vehicle shot off into the barrier at 140mph and exploded into flames.
Such a terrifying crash is seldomly seen in F1 and fans watched in horror as a fireball engulfed his car.
Miraculously Grosjean managed to climb out, but he suffered serious burns to his hands.
He was saved by his halo device and racing suit, which had been designed to withstand flames for 20 seconds.
Later Grosjean recalled being trapped inside the burning vehicle and admitted he thought about how painful his death would be.
He claims it was his children, who he saw and spoke to in a vision, that gave him the courage to fight for his life by trying to escape.
“Few people have known that moment where you almost accept that you’re dead,” he said.
Michael Schumacher’s car spun 180 degrees and was crashed into by Vitantonio Liuzzi in 2010Credit: AFP
The F1 legend brushed off the collision that could have left him seriously injuredCredit: Getty – Contributor
During the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher was lucky not to have suffered serious injuries after he spun out at the chicane.
The Mercedes driver’s car rotated 180 degrees into oncoming cars.
Vitantonio Liuzzi’s vehicle mounted Schumacher’s and narrowly missed the German’s head before coming to a stop.
Both cars were badly damaged but fortunately, the drivers were unscathed.
After the race both seemed more concerned with having not finished the race.
Schumacher said: “I am totally fine and was not hit by anything in the incident… It’s a shame obviously as I would have liked to finish the season with a more positive ending.”
Liuzzi added: “I am sorry that we could not score any points today to get back to sixth in the championship.”
Saved by the halo
Lewis Hamilton had a close call earlier this year when Verstappen’s car mounted hisCredit: AFP
Hamilton also had a close call and felt “so, so grateful” to be alive after a treacherous crash at the Italian Grand Prix in September involving Verstappen.
The rivals were neck-and-neck when the Red Bull racer tried to overtake, but their wheels clipped and Verstappen’s car was sent flying over the top of Hamilton’s.
Thankfully Hamilton ducked his head in time – and later praised the car’s super halo for keeping him alive.
Clearly shaken, he said: “I’m very, very fortunate today, thank God for the halo. That ultimately saved my life.
“I have been racing for a long, long time and I am so so grateful I am still here and feel incredibly blessed that someone was watching over me today.”
The shocking crash that ended F1 legend Ayrton Senna’s lifeCredit: Reuters
Ayrton Senna was considered one of the greatest F1 racers to have livedCredit: PA:Press Association
It was a heartbreaking day for the world of Formula One when one of its best ever drivers was involved in a fatal crash.
Ayrton Senna was hot on Michael Schumacher’s tail when his car swerved off the track and collided with a brick wall at around 145mph.
The Brazilian F1 legend, who had just turned 44, suffered fatal skull fractures, brain injuries and a ruptured major temporal artery.
He was declared dead four days later at Bologna’s Maggiore Hospital in Italy.
Drastic changes were made in the wake of Senna’s crash, leading to better helmets, safer cockpits and more medical staff on-hand at races.
The Head And Neck Support (HANS) was also built to prevent “rapid and excessive head movement during accidents”, The National reported.
Sadly he wasn’t the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix’s only fatality.
Two tragedies in 24 hours
Roland Ratzenberger’s head slumped to the side after his horror crash in 1994Credit: AFP
The 33-year-old died 24 hours before Ayrton SennaCredit: Getty – Contributor
The day before Senna’s crash, Austrian driver Roland Ratzenberger crashed during the qualifiers and was killed instantly.
The 33-year-old’s car spun off the track due to suspected front wing failure at speed and hit the wall nose-first at 190mph.
Two of the wheels were knocked off during the high impact crash and half the chassis was destroyed.
The vehicle continued to rapidly spin out of control before it came to a halt and haunting footage showed Ratzenberger’s head slump to the side of the car.
The tragic weekend sent shockwaves through the world of motorsport.
Max Mosley, then head of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), said: “I went to Ratzenberger’s funeral rather than to Senna’s where all the great and good of Formula One were because I felt somebody needed to support him and his family.”
Fuel tank explosion
Ferrari’s Chris Amon driving past the flaming crash of his teammate Lorenzo BandiniCredit: Getty
The Italian racer died of his injuries in hospital days after the crashCredit: Getty
Lorenzo Bandini was another victim of F1 and tragically lost his life after the 1967 Monaco Grand Prix.
He was chasing down Denny Hulme, who was in pole position, when the Italian lost control of his vehicle and crashed into the guard rails and straw bales.
The fuel tank inside his vehicle ruptured and immediately caught fire while Bandini was trapped inside.
In hospital he was diagnosed with third-degree burns, the most severe type, and he died of his injuries three days later aged 31.
Bandini’s death led to straw bales being removed from all competitions.
The wreckage from Ayrton Senna’s horror crash in 1994Credit: Reuters
Romain Grosjean showed the damage caused to his hands by the fireCredit: Instagram @grosjeanromain