The best and worst of Formula 1 2013
Race of the year? Overtaking move for the year? Worst decision of the year? Sky Sports Online pick out the highs and lows from the season
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 31/12/13 9:48pm
Race of the year: The Malaysian GP, when drama on the track and the rare event of a close battle for victory was still overshadowed by the fireworks off it; Runner-Up: For all the wrong reasons, the British GP when a spate of tyre blows plunged F1 to the level of farce.
Least accurate statement of the year: "This year's car is the best we've ever made" - Jenson Button, January 31, at the launch of the MP4-28; Runner-Up: "The one certainty is that Paddy will be part of the team for another year" - Martin Whitmarsh, January 31, six months before Lowe joined Mercedes.
Driver of the year: The relentlessly record-breaking Sebastian Vettel, who refused to slow up even after becoming the youngest four-times World Champion in the sport by breaking Michael Schumacher's record for most consecutive victories in a season; Runner-up: Nico Hulkenberg, who is now rightly considered a top-line driver without a top-line seat.
Team of the year: Red Bull, the number one outfit for the last four and a half years. The longevity of their superiority is as impressive as the superiority itself; Runner-up: Mercedes. After three years of knocking on the door, they finally gained admission to the big time. F1 has a new major force to contend with.
Team Principal of the year: Eric Boullier, who retained his dignity to keep Lotus afloat on the track even as the team struggled to stay afloat off it; Runner-up: Ross Brawn. He may not be at Mercedes next year, but in impressively holding his nerve during the Testgate storm and overseeing the team's best Constructors' finish, he underlined why he remains a major asset to any team.
Most improved driver of the year: Romain Grosjean, from first-lap nutcase to first-class performer - the Frenchman was the only driver who matched Sebastian Vettel's level of excellence in the second-half of the season; Runner-Up: Nico Hulkenberg. He was good, now he's better than very good.
Best news of the year: Honda's comeback for 2015 six years after joining the mass exodus of brand names from F1; Runner-up: The rulebook being ripped up after four years of Red Bull dominance.
Saddest news of the year: Maria de Villota's passing at the age of 33 one year after her testing accident with Marussia and the death of Canadian GP track marshal Mark Robinson.
Saga of the year: Testgate, from the bombshell news that Mercedes conducted a 'private test' to the subsequent punch and counter punch Tribunal in Paris, this was F1 at its baffling, bickering worst and its politicking, competitive best; Runner-up: Tyres, for one reason or another Pirelli have been in the headlines all year.
Ongoing saga of the year: The 2014 calendar, the length and detail of which is still unknown at the belated time of writing; Runner-up: The 2014 driver market. The final composition of next year's grid still remains anyone's guess.
Overtaking move of the year: Fernando Alonso overtaking Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen around the outside on the opening lap of the Spanish GP to set up victory; Runner-up: Valtteri Bottas on Esteban Gutierrez en-route to his first points finish at the U.S. GP.
Lap of the year: Lewis Hamilton claiming pole position at Silverstone - totally unexpected, totally euphoric; Runner-up: Either of the two laps set in the wet in Brazil by Sebastian Vettel which were good enough to claim pole position with over half a second to spare. Still saying it's just the car?
Controversy of the year: The legality of Mercedes' 'private test' with Pirelli in the week after the Spanish GP; Runner-up: Multi-21. We'll never hear the last of it.
Memorable moment of the year: "Multi-21, Seb, multi-21."; Runner-up: Sebastian Vettel's victory celebrations in India.
Disappointment of the year: Williams' regression into distant backmarkers less than a year after returning to the winners' enclosure following an eight-year absence; Runner-up: The failure of the rest to offer Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel a genuine challenge after the summer break. Don't mistakenly blame Red Bull for being too fast, justifiably accuse the others of being far too slow.
Quote of the year: "Multi-21, Seb, multi-21" - Mark Webber, March 24; Runner-up: "I was racing, I was faster, I passed him, I won" - Sebastian Vettel, April 11.
Press conference of the year: Sebastian Vettel's 'no regrets' post-Malaysia media briefing at the Chinese GP; Runner-up: The ultra-tense Team Principals conference in Canada, two weeks after Mercedes' tyre test became public knowledge, in which an implacable Ross Brawn locked horns with Christian Horner and Paul Hembery declined to attend.
Comeback of the year: Romain Grosjean's charge from 17th on the grid in India to third at the chequered flag; Runner-up: Jenson Button's recovery in Brazil to land McLaren's best result of the season. Alas, the fact that fourth place represented McLaren's best result spoke even louder.
Innovation of the year: Thermal cam; Runner-up: A dry British GP weekend.
Radio message of the year: "Kimi, get out of the ***king way" - Lotus Trackside Operations Director Alan Permane berates Raikkonen for holding up team-mate Romain Grosjean during the Indian GP; Runner-up: "And now I've just been overtaken by a Williams" - An exasperated Lewis Hamilton, midway through the Spanish GP, in the manner of a man who, moments after finding out his wife has walked out on him, loses his wallet as well.
Worst decision of the year: McLaren's refusal to give up on the flawed MP4-28, a stubbornness which condemned the team to their worst season in living memory; Runner-up: The appointment of Heikki Kovalainen as Kimi Raikkonen's replacement with the Finn subsequently conceding he under-estimated the scale of the challenge before him, and the team's failure to respect the status of Davide Valsecchi rendered an unnecessary snub by Kovalainen's failure to score a point.
Worst-timed driver announcement of the year: Red Bull confirming the identity of Mark Webber's successor at 8.30pm on a Monday night whilst half of the paddock - including the Team Principal - were attending the premiere of Rush; Runner-up: Toro Rosso naming Daniil Kvyat alongside Jean-Eric Vergne at 8.45pm on another Monday evening. At least Red Bull had the excuse of making their announcement on an Austrian television show...
Briefest appearance of the year: David Ward, a high-publicity candidate for the role of FIA President all the way up until the actual election; Runner-up: Luis Razia, Marussia driver for all of two weeks in mid-February.
Inevitability of the year: A victory for Sebastian Vettel; Runner-up: A bad start for Mark Webber off the line.
Track interloper of the year: The fire truck in Korea, the only vehicle to lead Sebastian Vettel on race day; Runner-up: The pigeon in Monaco.