For even the most dedicated Formula 1 fans, the latest Netflix series of Drive To Survive reveals some eye-opening topics to have unfolded across the 2020 season.
While the fates of Alex Albon and Sergio Perez, the Pink Mercedes saga and Lewis Hamilton's relentless romp to a seventh world title would all unfold in the public eye, DTS cast light on some of the lesser-known stories taking place in the paddock.
The frivolous reactions to coronavirus
Initially, when the virus landed on the tip of our tongues, it was still seen as a bit of an unknown. No one knew how it would stop the world, no one knew how it would impact on our lives or how long it would last. Knowing what we know now, it's awkward to watch people carrying on as normal, right on the precipice of what we all know now to be a global pandemic. As free practice was supposed to go ahead in Melbourne, the race was eventually cancelled. Some were in favour, some weren't. We'd go on to learn it was the right decision.
F1 would move on to becoming one of the first sports to get back out there, strictly locked down in bubbles, with empty grandstands but ultimately a thrilling season to come.
That naivety though is something we all went at the time through, unknowingly heading into the strangest years of our lives.
Christian Horner and Toto Wolff's surprising friendship
They're rivals on the track, but off the track, Red Bull boss Christian Horner and Mercedes chief Toto Wolff have what appears to be a great friendship with each other. Horner, somewhat the underdog with his team compared to the might of Mercedes in the last seven years, is like the annoying younger brother, intent to take any advantage he can over his rival and doing so with a smile on his face and a chuckle as he tries to get closer to the front of the pack.
Since 2010, only Horner and Wolff have celebrated championship wins with their teams so their bond perhaps comes from a mutual appreciation of each other's achievements, but given their fierce rivalry on track, their friendship off it makes for a pleasant change.
The mental capitulation of Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri 2.0 launched at the Australian Grand Prix in 2019. Battered from pillar to post in 2018 by a dominant Hamilton, the Finn wanted to relaunch his career at Mercedes, requiring a new mental approach and a ruthless streak, but it never materialised.
Hamilton crushed him again en route to the 2019 title and it would be a similar story in 2020. By the time the circus arrived in Russia, Hamilton was on the brink of two of Michael Schuamcher's all-time records – 91 race wins and seven titles.
Bottas cut a beaten character though. Prickled by some barbed comments online, he used it to rekindle some fire to win just his second win of the season in Sochi but the relentlessness of Hamilton's charge to the crown would only get worse after that.
When you're out, you're out at Ferrari
The 2021 driver market took shape early in 2020. Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez and Alex Albon would all move and shake, but one of the most high profile figures to move was Sebastian Vettel leaving Ferrari for Aston Martin.
Known to operate behind something of a curtain, DTS lifted some of the veil on Ferrari's reaction to his departure. Despite snide comments from even members of his own team, Vettel would have something of the last word when he announced his new contract with Aston Martin on the brink of Ferrari's 1,000th race, spoiling the party a little bit.
His former boss Christian Horner said when a driver says they're leaving “you naturally shut down to that person,” and that has not been more true than at the Prancing Horse.
The horror and reality of Grosjean's crash in Bahrain
It was the crash which shocked the world, not just F1. Pictures of Romain Grosjean's fiery, brutal and horrifying accident in Bahrain are mind-blowing and the fact he survived is still a miracle. While fans, drivers, team members all watched in horror, accounts from the man himself and more so his wife Marion hammer home the reality of the dangers which are so close every time the engines fire up.
No true F1 fan wants to see crashes, least of all crashes of the magnitude which Grosjean experienced and survived. Hearing how the world nearly lost not just a driver but a husband and father, even knowing the outcome and seeing Grosjean's bright smile afterwards, remains a chilling thing to come to terms with.
Fortunately, the story has a happy ending.
How to watch Drive to Survive season 3
The series, as with the first two seasons, is exclusively available to stream on Netflix, having arrived on Friday 19th March 2021.
Netflix’s Basic plan costs £5.99 per month, but you can only watch one screen at a time using your account. The Standard plan ups this to two screens and upgrades the picture quality to HD, costing £9.99 per month. Premium membership costs £13.99 per month: this adds Ultra HD and allows you, family and friends to watch four different things at any given time.
Netflix is available on smart TVs, games consoles and Blu-ray players, as well as computers and laptops. You can also download Drive to Survive on your smartphone or tablet to watch on the go.
The series launched one week before the first practice session of the 2021 season.It covers the time period from pre-season testing before March 2020 until the end of the season in December when Lewis Hamilton won the driver’s championship. As with season one and season two, there are 10 episodes.