Best quotes and moments from Season 4 of Drive to Survive

They say life imitates art and as Drive to Survive became a success, the wildest and craziest season of Formula One unfolded.

Just how was Netflix going to spin the 2021 campaign into 10 episodes? Mercedes vs. Red Bull was the dominant theme spanning several episodes and with good reason as the drama between drivers Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen on the track — plus team principals Toto Wolff and Christian Horner off the track — kicked off with the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix and rolled right through the year to the controversial finale in Abu Dhabi.

On the eve of the 2022 campaign, Netflix dropped Season 4 of Drive to Survive and I binged through it (twice) to provide the top quotes and moments from each episode.

Episode 1: “Strategy’s important but at some point, it comes down to the two drivers racing for the finishing line.” —Toto Wolff

Right off the bat, the season establishes Red Bull’s attempt to dethrone Mercedes as the focal point and the pressure of remaining the king of the castle. Mercedes boss Wolff says those somewhat prophetic words (that may come back to haunt him) about the season opener in Bahrain — where Hamilton pits earlier than Verstappen, something the seven-time world champion disagrees upon, and then has to fight to hold off the fresher Red Bull to the finish line.

The episode also deals with Mercedes’ struggles during pre-season testing and hints at perhaps the end of an era, but as we’ll see those doubts were premature.

Episode 2: “Let’s f—ks—t up.” [laughs] —Lando Norris

Things weren’t rosy to start between new McLaren teammates Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. Norris, in his third season with the team and in F1, is considered a star in the making while Ricciardo arrived in 2021 as McLaren’s splashy free-agent signing. As much as it’s about helping your team in the constructors’ standings, your teammate is also who you’re constantly compared to as they’re the only one in identical equipment.

Norris appears quite distraught after Ricciardo out-qualifies him during the Bahrain GP, ​​although their fortunes are reversed on race day.

Ricciardo is reminded about his trademark line while signing an autograph for a fan, which Norris later mocks. There’s also a little incident when Norris says to the media he doesn’t feel sympathy for Ricciardo that’s he’s struggling. “What I said was just the truth,” Norris protests. Don’t worry, it seems the two have gotten along well since.

Honorable mention: “I’m gonna put something like ‘Congrats’ first.” — Carlos Sainz

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz needs help from Charles Leclerc figuring out what to text Norris after his friend/former teammate receives a contract extension from McLaren. Something we all can relate to, sort of.

Episode 3: “If you want something bad enough, you’ll do whatever it takes.” —Christian Horner

The battle between Red Bull and Mercedes heats up. Verstappen’s win in the Monaco Grand Prix vaults him to the top of the drivers’ standings and Red Bull to first in the constructors’. On the other hand, Mercedes struggles with Hamilton finishing P7 and teammate Valtteri Bottas retires after a problematic pitstop. You can feel the pressure building at Mercedes with Hamilton pacing back and forth examining Verstappen’s car during the Styrian Grand Prix, wondering what they have that he doesn’t.

As the series shifts to Silverstone, the British GP, Horner reminds Verstappen on the starting grid: “I suspect this one might get a bit fruity.” If by fruity you mean a side-by-side collision, then you’re right on point. Hamilton and Verstappen make contact by sending the Red Bull car off course and smashing into the barrier. Although Hamilton is slapped with a 10-second penalty, he battles back with ease to win his home race while Verstappen watches from the hospital.

PS Wolff sure loves his pumpernickel at breakfast, huh?

Honorable mention: “This is what amazes me about Monaco. You’ve got all the money here, then you’ve got this guy. How does he get in?” —Christian Horner

Although titled “The Tipping Point,” this episode could also be called “The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” Walking past yachts and superyachts ahead of the marquee Monaco GP, Horner jokingly points out a dinghy sailboat that has somehow managed to find itself parked in prime real estate.

Episode 4: [Ominous music playing]

Oh like you don’t watch Netflix with the captions on? The Haas F1 Team episode had the potential to age like milk given what’s happened with the team in recent weeks with Russian driver Nikita Mazepin plus title sponsor Uralkali, which is owned by his father Dmitry Mazepin, dropped in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a call for all sports to disassociate with the country.

Whenever the elder Mazepin appears on screen, that jaws theme knockoff kicks in and sends a brooding tone for a heavy-handed sponsor unhappy with how the team is treating his son. Cue the opening lap of the season where Mazepin lasted all of three corners plus a montage of other unforced errors. A frustrated Haas team principal Guenther Steiner screams, “This is why everyone hates you.” Steiner believes the 2020 season was too dramatic, well, it’s only gotten worse.

Honorable mention: Steiner posing next to children’s toys for the Aldi catalogue. The things you have to do for sponsors, right?

Episode 5: “In Formula One, you can be the hero today, but maybe the forgotten one tomorrow.” — Daniel Ricciardo

Back to McLaren as Ricciardo reflects on a disappointing first half of the season as his tenure at McLaren hasn’t turned out the way either side expected, and the Australian driver is potentially at a crossroads in his career. Danny Ric returns from the summer break refreshed heading into Monza, home track for Ferrari.

Ferrari vs. McLaren is one of the sport’s greatest rivalries even when they’re fighting for third place in the constructors’ standings. Although Ferrari ends up ahead in the standings, McLaren scores a crucial win on their rival’s turf with Ricciardo and Norris finishing 1-2 to really twist the knife. This episode needed more “shoey” celebration though.

Mclaren driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia drinks champagne from his shoe as he celebrates after winning the Italian Formula One Grand Prix, at Monza racetrack, in Monza, Italy, Sunday, Sept.12, 2021. (Luca Bruno/AP)

Episode 6: “Season four. Hopefully, we make it in this year.” — George Russell

Williams driver George Russell finally gets a starring role in Drive to Survive and we’ll definitely see more of him in future seasons. Plus we also get some CanCon with teammate Nicholas Latifi of Toronto receiving some screentime.

It’s the end of an era for Williams Racing with the team sold to an American investment firm and Jost Capito installed as the new CEO after Claire Williams, daughter of the late great Sir Frank Williams, steps down. Williams was once the model franchise winning races and championships but has fallen behind and failed to keep pace with the factory teams where they’re no longer fighting for championships but just fighting for points. It’s best exemplified as Capito talks about the “walk of shame” — every Grand Prix, he has to pass all of the other teams through the paddock before arriving at Williams’ spot.

The Williams team shows flashes of potential picking up points but is it enough to entice Russell to stay put? (Spoiler alert: No.)

Episode 7: “Dude, when’s the last time you put the washer on?” — Liam Lawson

Rookie AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda experiences culture shock adjusting to British food but apparently, laundry habits are also hard. F2 driver Liam Lawson chastises Tsuonoda for having a mountain of clothes piled in the hamper. It’s a candid slice of life for men in their early 20s living on their own — it just so happens to be set upon the backdrop of fancy cars and exotic locations.

Tsunoda’s struggles with fish and chips over sushi were as well documented as his struggles in the car although he picks up points in his debut race in Bahrain and caps the year off with a season-high fourth place finish in Abu Dhabi.

Episode 8: “Combination of wrestling and 50 Shades of Gray.” — George Russell

Russell (getting even more screentime) laments with his performance coach Aleix Casnovas about the physical fitness training he undergoes. It’s also a stark reminder of how athletic Formula One drivers have to be in order to withstand the G forces and the physical toll of what they go through on race day. That segues into Russell’s rise taking the second seat at Mercedes in 2022 after the team parts with Bottas.

Episode 9: “What started as Olympic boxing went to pro boxing and is now MMA. We are in the ring there and gloves are off.” —Toto Wolff

Drive to Survive paints the picture of the fight between Mercedes and Red Bull being more between the team principals than the drivers as Wolff and Horner barbed words more than Hamilton and Verstappen and have become stars in their own right.

The two have a joint press conference ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix, like two prize boxers heading to the ring. Horner’s quips to the media were clearly getting under Wolff’s skin — Wolff in German asks, “What’s his thing why my ass?” — with the mind games building towards an explosive finish.

That’s not to say Hamilton and Verstappen didn’t have their own moments as they did during GPs in Monza, with Verstappen driving on top of Hamilton’s card, or Brazil, with Verstappen appearing to see Hamilton off the track, and in Saudi Arabia, with Verstappen forced to give up the lead to Hamilton and apparently brake-testing him instead to cause a collision between them.

Honorable mention: “What’s ‘buongiorno?’ Buenos dias?” —Lando Norris

Norris asks after repeating “good day” in Italian to Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates winning the Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in front of the second placed Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands, in Jiddah, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021. (Andrej Isakovic, Pool Photo via AP)

Episode 10: “Now it’s just about driving.” —Toto Wolff

The season finale in Abu Dhabi had enough drama to fill its own season and this was surely the most anticipated episode that captures the essence and then some. Hamilton and Verstappen entered the final Grand Prix tied at the top of the table, something that hadn’t happened since 1974, and battled side-by-side throughout the race.

Early in the race, Red Bull is fuming Hamilton wasn’t punished enough when he cut the curb to maintain the lead but that seems minor to the dramatic finish.

Race director Michael Masi’s cameo appearances increased over the course of Season 4 and were building towards this moment. Nicolas Latifi crashes late and out comes the safety car with Hamilton in the lead followed by Verstappen, who had pitted for fresh tires, and five lapped cars separating the two. Race control didn’t allow any lapped cars to pass the safety car initially until changing their minds — but only the five lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen. Canadian driver Lance Stroll, who was also down a lap but behind Verstappen, had to stay put and exclaimed, “What the f–k?!”

Unlike the season opener, Hamilton is unable to fend off Verstappen to the finish line as the Red Bull driver pulls ahead and away to capture his first world championship. As Wolff is furious saying it’s not right, Masi explains, “It’s called a motor race. We went car racing.”

Honorable mention: “There’s nothing they could have done better to motivate us. … Everybody has a target on their backs next year.” —Toto Wolff

Oh, you wouldn’t like Wolff when he’s angry and the end to Season 4 hints at the Mercedes Revenge Tour coming in full force for double world championships in 2022. This Sunday’s season opener can’t come soon enough.

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