Dodgy stewarding aside, this is why the 2021 F1 season wasn't perfect

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Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen

 • The 2021 F1 season was the answer to millions of fans' prayers, starved for a closer championship and a smashing of the Mercedes/Lewis Hamilton hegemony.
 • Despite mistakes and penalties, the utter dominance of the two title protagonists ultimately translated to very little jeopardy for either of the two in a season where their teammates should have – but couldn't – do more to shake up the championship order.

 • This is evidenced by the 14 out of 22 1-2 finishes where Hamilton and Verstappen finished ahead or behind the other.

As the internet continues to stew over what is arguably the millennium's most controversial F1 moment; and Lewis Hamilton resultantly blows hot and cold over his future in the sport (hint: he's not going anywhere), seldom – if ever – has a single season drawn as much debate, analysis and indeed, resultant rumination.

Certainly, at face value, it was one for the ages, set up through sheer circumstance: Carry-over of the 2020 cars and a mandated rear downforce reduction overturned the expected competitive order as Red Bull-Honda's Max Verstappen emerged the fastest in the first half of the season, but after a mid-season update and tactical use of engine penalties, Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes bounced back as the benchmark.

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