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Highs and Lows: 2016

Teenager Max Verstappen became F1's youngest-ever winner in 2016
Mark Webber - C4F1 analyst and nine-time Grand Prix winner

My highlight of the 2016 season? I think I have two. Max Verstappen's drive in Brazil in the wet - incredible - and Nico Rosberg winning the championship in Abu Dhabi.

The low lights for the season were the new qualifying rules at the start of the year and then Ferrari's performance.

I hope the most exciting part about 2017 is that the drivers can push a lot harder, and they don't save their tyres for as long, as that's not exciting for me or the drivers. So, more aggression from the drivers for longer in the race is something to look forward to.

Jolyon Palmer - C4F1 columnist and Renault Sport F1 driver


I have two highlights of 2016 – my first Grand Prix in Australia and then the race in Malaysia.

To line up on the grid in Melbourne against the best drivers in the world was amazing and what also made it a high was that it was a really good race for me. I was in the points for a lot of it and finished 11th.

The next landmark came in Malaysia when I was finally able to get a point on the scoreboard in Formula 1, it was great to tick that off.

The low point of year was definitely Monaco. That part of the year was tough but Monaco was a particular shame because I’ve always done really well around Monte Carlo and won there twice in GP2.

I was giving it plenty that weekend but I had an engine deficit to Kev so I was over-driving on a track I really like.

I started the weekend on the back front because I had a crash in first practice and when you start on the back foot in Monaco, it’s difficult to recover. Then in the wet on Sunday I had a reasonably big crash, which destroyed the car right at the start of the race, to cap off a pretty grim weekend.

Karun Chandhok - C4F1 technical analyst

I would say my high point of the season was the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.

In the build-up to the race weekend we suddenly we got the news that Max Verstappen was getting harpooned into Red Bull and moving up from Toro Rosso.

Changing teams meant changing engines, procedures, systems, steering wheels, people - you name it.

He was just 18 but by the end of Sunday he was a Grand Prix winner.

I spoke to his Dad Jos Verstappen under the podium and there was just utter disbelief in his voice.

There was also a fabulous moment in the Red Bull motorhome when Daniel Ricciardo walked in at the same time as Daniil Kvyat.

They both looked at each other as if to say 'what the hell has just happened?' Kvyat had lost his seat to Verstappen and Ricciardo had lost the race in Spain to him on strategy. They both shook their heads and went into their respective rooms at opposite ends of the motorhome.

The race had started with the drama of the two Mercedes hitting each other and we were all scrambling in the paddock to get reaction about that too. It was a really dramatic, incredible weekend but it had a fairytale ending.

My low point was in Bahrain. The new qualifying rules introduced in Australia were a mess but we went forward with the rules again at the second race of the year.

Bernie Ecclestone and the team bosses had a meeting for more than two hours in Bahrain to try to come up with a solution. I'll never forget seeing the media, including our own Lee McKenzie, standing outside in the hot sun waiting to hear the answer.

When the big wigs came out all they told the perspiring media that the decision of the meeting after two hours was to have another meeting and that nothing was going to change!

The FIA President Jean Todt also came out and did a Q&A saying he really didn't have the power to change the system. It made me quite sad to see what a mess F1 was in at that stage. It was stale-mate and felt like a really low point for the sport.

I remember talking to Ben Edwards about it at the time and we are fans of F1 first so felt quite disillusioned.

Happily, the qualifying rules were eventually reversed for the Chinese Grand Prix and the season developed with some great racing and plenty of optimism for the future.

Ben Edwards - C4F1 commentator

My highlight of 2016 would be Max Verstappen's drive in Brazil.

My lowlight would be a taxi ride I shared with Lee from the airport in Japan to Suzuka where the driver barely did 40mph on the motorway so we were being passed on both sides by trucks, and I had to keep him from falling asleep.

Lee McKenzie - C4F1 reporter 

My high point of the season was my interview with Nico Rosberg after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

In hindsight it was a clue to what would happen a few days later when, after winning the world title, he would announce that he was leaving the sport. 

It was evident how much this year, and the previous years, had taken out of him. He was so honest, totally shocked and almost unbelieving that he had at last achieved his dreams. 

I don't really have a low point but I do remember that terrifying taxi ride with Ben… 

Watch the season review show on Channel 4, Sunday 18th December at 12:30pm

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