When Lewis Hamilton crossed the finish line at Yas Marina Circuit on Sunday to seal his 11th win of the season, fireworks shot out from above the stands to draw the curtain on another F1 season.
It was a remarkable campaign for the Briton as he captured a sixth drivers’ title in Texas last month, finishing in front of his team-mate Valtteri Bottas by a comfortable 87 points.
It was not the competitive season we were all hoping for, but the emergence of Charles Leclerc and continued progress of Max Verstappen brings excitement and hope for 2020.
Here, we look back at the year that was with driver of the year, team of the year and rookie of the year awards up for grabs.
DRIVER OF THE YEAR: LEWIS HAMILTON
The Brit won 11 races – more than any other driver this season – en route to sealing a sixth world title and moving within one championship of Michael Schumacher in the process.
He looked virtually untouchable at times this campaign, most notably, in the opening half of the year, when winning six of the first eight races.
With a record 413 points in the drivers’ championship, Hamilton produced his most impressive season to date and has shown no signs of slowing down after 13 years in the sport.
The 34-year-old is in a different class and it is difficult to see him being stopped in 2020, as he eyes matching Schumacher’s record haul of seven world crowns.
TEAM OF THE YEAR: MERCEDES
No surprise to see the Silver Arrow secure a sixth successive constructors’ title with Hamilton and Bottas finishing first and second respectively.
Ferrari and Red Bull did make improvements, but Mercedes were a step above the competition again, winning 15 of the 21 races.
The car may be in the hands of Hamilton and Bottas on the track, but Mercedes success has been built on a strong culture off-track by Toto Wolff and his team.
It is more than just having the fastest car, with great strength in depth, experience and clinical efficiency.
In 2020, Hamilton will be primed to add to his six titles and Bottas, on the back of his best season, will also have renewed confidence.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: LANDO NORRIS
Few rookies have enjoyed such a consistent start to their F1 careers.
The 20-year-old shone in the McLaren to clinch 11 top-10s and finish 11th in the drivers’ championship, ahead of the likes of Nico Hulkenberg, Kimi Raikkonen and Daniil Kvyat.
In the qualifying head-to-head, the Bristol native edged his more experienced team-mate Carlos Sainz 11-10 over the course of the season.
He was key in helping McLaren to a fourth place finish in the constructors’ championship, finishing 54 points ahead of Renault in the standings.
Expect more from him next season.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: SEBASTIAN VETTEL
The four-time world champion won less races, sealed less pole positions and finished behind his Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc.
While many expected the 32-year-old to challenge Hamilton in the early stages of the season, his poor fifth place finish in the drivers’ standings has left plenty of question marks over his future.
His £36 million per year deal expires next season and is unlikely to be renewed, with many believing he is past his best.
He has only won 14 times in five years at Ferrari, in comparison to his 38 victories Red Bull – where he won all his world titles
RACE OF THE YEAR: BRAZIL GP
The German Grand Prix has to be considered for the many incidents, twists and turns that it presented, including a poor pitstop from Mercedes, Vettel soaring from the back of the grid to second, and Kvyat’s stunning podium. But for pure enjoyment of racing, the Brazilian GP last month could not be matched.
It was the unpredictability that made it so intriguing. It had everything, from great overtakes, safety cars, team-mates clashing, the two Ferrari’s crashing out, post-race penalties, Sainz’s unlikely podium from the back of the grid, and Pierre Gasly’s second place in the Toro Rosso.
DRIVER TO WATCH IN 2020: MAX VERSTAPPEN
One could make the argument for Verstappen being awarded Driver of the Year such was his spectacular race craft and calmness inside the car.
In the RB13, the 22-year-old clinched a stunning victory in Austria, scorched to a win in the wet in Germany, and passed Hamilton en route to his third triumph of the season in Brazil.
Of course, when looking at his faults, one may point to his crash in Belgium and then failing to slow for yellow flags brought out by Bottas’ crash in Mexico.
But as each year passes, Verstappen continues to boost his credentials, and depending on what strides are made on the Red Bull in the off-season, it is hoped he can reel in the gap on Hamilton once more.
Know more about Sport360 Application