F1: Drive to Survive is BACK – what to look forward to including Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen

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Interest in Formula One has arguably never been greater off the back of incredible 2021 season that featured a championship battle that went down to the final lap.

But the bitter, and at times toxic, title tussle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton isn’t the only reason why F1’s popularity has sky rocketed in recent times.

The ‘Drive to Survive’ documentary of the sport has reached out to a new fanbase within Formula One and has been a commercial success for producers Netflix since its inception in 2019.

And many fans will be delighted at the announcement that a fourth series will return on March 11 a week ahead of the 2022 season opener that will take place in Bahrain.

Drive to Survive typically gives unprecedented behind the scenes access to drivers and teams, profiling the biggest stories while focusing on other interesting subplots. It has attracted a growing fanbase – as evidenced by the third series holding the biggest audience share yet. 

US broadcaster ESPN revealed that the sport’s viewing figures have climbed from 547,000 people in 2018 to just shy of one million last year. But what can we expect from the new series filmed during the action packed 2021 campaign as fans look to get their F1 fix away from the on-track drama bound to be served up this term?

Netflix announced that the new series of 'F1: Drive to Survive' will be released on March 11

Netflix announced that the new series of ‘F1: Drive to Survive’ will be released on March 11

The Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton battle

For the first time in the series, DTS gets to profile a championship battle… one still so fresh in people’s memories it may as well have taken place yesterday.

Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton was undoubtedly the headline act right from the off and the additional insight into the events of the season which include highly controversial collisions at Silverstone, Monza, Interlagos and in Saudi Arabia will be catnip to many diehard fans of the series and sport.

It was a rivalry so fierce it tended to spill over into a Mercedes vs Red Bull war and there will be plenty of content to get stuck into.

Hamilton may have a major influence and across the four series this could be his most in depth feature yet. Having dominated the previous three campaigns with little resistance not even the entertainment business could turn those into must-see TV events – it barely needs tweaking this time round.

I think that pretty much covers everything from the title battle we need to see…

The series will likely show Verstappen's (right) crash with Lewis Hamilton (left) in Italy

The series will likely show Verstappen’s (right) crash with Lewis Hamilton (left) in Italy

THAT last lap in Abu Dhabi

…Ah yes, maybe there was one element of the Verstappen vs Hamilton tussle we did  leave out, but that needs a section of its own.

Many believe that so bizarre were the events that night, conspiracy theories stretched to it playing out just to benefit the typical casual viewers of Drive to Survive, which of course is nonsense.

Spoiler alert – but unless you have been living under a rock, you will probably be aware that Verstappen took the world championship at one of the most controversial grands prix of all time in Abu Dhabi.

His final lap pass on Hamilton for the win came after chaotic scenes under the safety car as Red Bull and Mercedes had furious rows with race director Michael Masi on how to apply the rules.

Even now the events are still furiously debated, while the sport still hasn’t released its full findings over its internal inquiry to the drama that played out.

Unseen footage from the night’s events from both teams’ perspectives is likely to provide some of the biggest highlights of the series. 

Don’t expect to hear much from Verstappen though. The new world champion will not be part of the coverage, having previously accused ‘Drive to Survive ‘of ‘faking rivalries’ in a bid to provide entertainment.

Having tracked the title fight, DTS is set to reveal fresh footage from the dramatic season ending race in Abu Dhabi that saw Verstappen win the world championship

Having tracked the title fight, DTS is set to reveal fresh footage from the dramatic season ending race in Abu Dhabi that saw Verstappen win the world championship

McLaren’s Monza one-two

Daniel Ricciardo is another driver along with Verstappen who has been left a bit perplexed over DTS, previously accusing the show of building up a rivalry with Carlos Sainz that ‘wasn’t really there’.

But he looks set to play a role again in the new series and how could he not after taking a stunning victory at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza where the charismatic Australian led home team-mate Lando Norris to claim McLaren’s first win in nine years.

While McLaren’s return to the top step of the podium is a compelling story in its own right, it came during a campaign where Ricciardo had largely struggled with the team before the victory – often outpaced by Norris for much of the season.

Tracking Ricciardo’s struggles and then ultimate victory works perfectly around any half-decent story telling template. 

Daniel Ricciardo won the Italian Grand Prix to help McLaren to a first victory in a decade

Daniel Ricciardo won the Italian Grand Prix to help McLaren to a first victory in a decade

Alpine hitting the summit

Both of Alpine’s drivers enjoyed stunning moments during the season, with Esteban Ocon winning his first ever grand prix in Hungary after being able to fend off a charging Hamilton late on.

It was a team effort in Budapest though and without assistance from his team-mate Fernando Alonso in being able to hold up the Brit for a few laps, that victory is unlikely to have come about in Alpine’s maiden season since its rebranding from Renault.

Alonso’s return though is where the real content is. The double world champion back in F1 after two years away and still eager to prove he is one of the world’s best, was mainly fighting among the midfield for a chunk of points.

He didn’t get much opportunities to snatch much else, except in Qatar when he bagged his first podium in seven years. Hopefully DTS will manage to get more inside scope on what the Spaniard has dubbed ‘El Plan’ following his welcome return last year. 

Fernando Alonso returned to the grid and grabbed his first podium after seven years

Fernando Alonso returned to the grid and grabbed his first podium after seven years

Kimi’s ride off into the sunset

The beauty of DTS though is offering an in depth look to some drivers who may get lost in the shuffle during the season but yet still have a compelling story to tell.

Yes, and that includes Kimi Raikkonen – a man who on a good day gives little more than three words to journalists such is his loath of performing media duties.

On paper it makes the 2007 world champion sound like a bore, but fans, most of all those who witnessed him at his peak during the 2000s, will be aware he still expresses a compelling character.

Dubbed the Iceman due to his Finnish nationality and his ability to always remain composed even when under extreme pressure, Raikkonen bowed out of F1 at the end of the season at the age 42, two decades after his debut.

Racing for backmarkers Alfa Romeo, it was sad to see his final year end mostly under the radar. There is much hope that the series can shine a spotlight on the enigmatic star and maybe, just maybe, get two sentences out of him. 

Kimi Raikkonen brought an end to his Formula One career 20 years after his debut

Kimi Raikkonen brought an end to his Formula One career 20 years after his debut

The debut of Mick Schumacher

This really is where DTS could provide it some excellent TV. While the great Michael Schumacher’s son Mick coming into the sport made major headlines at the start of 2021, racing for back of the pack strugglers Haas meant he got very little attention throughout the season.

Mick probably wouldn’t have minded that at all as he was largely left alone to settle into a sport where his father picked up a record seven world championships.

Haas despite their anonymity during a race weekend, are fan favourites in the series, with team boss Guenther Steiner proving extremely popular with viewers. 

Seeing how Schumacher really dealt with the sport in his first season at Haas as well as providing in depth insight on how he has handled stepping up into F1 with unavoidable comparisons to his illustrious father’s career would be a big addition to the series.

Mick Schumacher went under the radar at Haas but the story of his debut campaign will be excellent content to see how he settled into a sport where his father Michael won seven titles

Mick Schumacher went under the radar at Haas but the story of his debut campaign will be excellent content to see how he settled into a sport where his father Michael won seven titles

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