Five times Formula One was basically Mario Kart this season
The Formula One season comes to an end this weekend at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Mercedes teammates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have nine GP wins apiece and just 12 points separate them – so there’s only one thing on everybody’s minds.
i really really wish formula 1 was more like mario kart like this should be top priority for the motorsport industry
— Dream Supreme (@louisbinns) November 12, 2016
Exactly! Well, fear not fans, we’ve had a little review of the season and we reckon there’s been a number of times F1 has seemed pretty close to Mario Kart as it is.
Mercedes’ banana skin
Banana skins left between Mercedes teammates Hamilton and Rosberg haven’t been uncommon this season, but the most significant was their first-lap collision which knocked both cars out of the Spanish GP.
The Mercedes pair have been booby-trapping each other a lot (Manu Fernandez/AP)
It was a slip-up for the Mercedes team and the spin performed by Hamilton as he mounted the grass is as clear a homage to the effect of Mario Kart’s iconic banana skin as you’ll ever see.
Vettel swerves to avoid ‘torpedo’ Kvyat
Things got awkward between Vettel, left, and Kvyat, right (Mark Schiefelbein/AP)
Sebastian Vettel’s crash into his fellow Ferrari at the Chinese GP caused serious damage, essentially ending his teammate Kimi Raikkonen’s podium hopes – but it was Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat who got the blame from the German, after forcing the Red Bull out wide.
The Russian eventually finished in third behind Vettel and Rosberg, which meant for an icy conversation between the two drivers before they took to the podium.
Kvyat shrugged his shoulders about the incident, saying “I was racing”, but Vettel replied: “No, not ‘oh well’ – you came like a torpedo.”
A torpedo eh? Sounds like Kvyat had got himself a Bullet Bill power-up on that corner…
Mario Kart players know all too well to get out of the way when this rocket is about, so perhaps Vettel’s evasive action was justified.
Speaking of which…
Max ‘Bullet Bill’ Verstappen
Dutchman Verstappen is still just 19 (Nelson Antoine/AP)
Max Verstappen’s incredible drive in the Brazilian GP in November also had hints of Mario Kart’s unstoppable power-up.
— John Yeo (@johnyeo1972) November 13, 2016
Bullet Bills often appear to bring drivers at the back forward, and Verstappen’s surge past 11 drivers in the last 16 laps in Brazil to nick third place in the rain was so incredible Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff said it “redefined physics”.
With all the other cars struggling to get to grips with the torrential rain, the Red Bull driver must surely have picked up a Bullet Bill or possibly a star power to keep him impervious from harm.
The rain took no prisoners in Brazil (Leo Correa/AP)
Well, you know – that – or maybe it was just one of the best drives in history…
Verstappen’s 3rd place finish in Brazil, quite possibly the best #F1 drive I’ve ever seen… rain master!
— Tom Dearlove (@dearlove_T) November 13, 2016
Hulkenberg’s green shell
No-one really wants a green shell (Jens Meyer/AP)
Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg has had some problems with his tyres this season. There was a grid penalty at the German GP after his team returned the wrong set of tyres after qualifying – oh, and there’s that time his tyre just fell off.
The wheel flying off down the track bagged Hulkenberg a three-place grid penalty at the Chinese GP, and it couldn’t help but remind us of one of Mario Kart’s most famous – but least useful – weapons.
Fortunately for Hulkenberg, no-one was hurt as green shells are notoriously difficult to actually hit another driver with – in fact, just as he found out, they can often be more damaging to the user than anyone else.
Rosberg did F1 podium better than Mario
You don’t catch Mario popping bottles (Wong Maye-E/AP)
Okay, so this is one where real life actually surpasses Mario Kart – cue faces of shock and awe.
How, you may ask? Well, for a cartoon racing game you would expect Mario Kart characters to be pretty animated when they win a race – and to be fair, its podiums are okay.
Now here’s how Rosberg looked on the top of the podium in F1 this year.
At the Belgian Grand Prix.
Wahoo! (Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP)
At the Japanese Grand Prix.
Go on Nico lad (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)
At the Singapore Grand Prix.
We see you giggling, Daniel Ricciardo (Wong Maye-E/AP)
At the European Grand Prix.
Rosberg should trademark jumping at this point (Luca Bruno/AP)
At the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Here he goes again (Hassan Ammar/AP)
And the Australian Grand Prix.
Going up (Theo Karanikos/AP)
The list genuinely could go on.
Obviously the important point we’re making here though is, despite Mario being a character famous for jumping and not a huge amount else – we think he’s been out-jumped.
Will it be one more leap and a drivers’ championship for Rosberg in Abu Dhabi, or will there be another banana skin waiting for him? Find out this weekend.