Speaking of underrated – 1997. Many people today are overlooking 97 because of THAT crash but it was almost a perfect season. It had a tight championship battle, return of the McLaren to the top, last hurrah for Benetton , 6 drivers in 4 manufacturers winning races and that controversial ending. Almost like a Hollywood script. + it was the last year for the wide slick tyres.
I’ve been a fan since I was seven in 1998 as a Schumacher fan.
I have to say 1998, even with Hakkinen triumphing – his battles with Schuey were epic, is hard to beat, it had all the hallmarks of one of the classic seasons of all time as far as a head-to-head battle.
2000 followed a similar trajectory to ’98, albeit concluding in Schu’s favour, and of course it was the first Ferrari drivers’ title in twenty-one years, marking it in many ways superior to ’98.
2003 was a vintage season, it was open, it had the Michelin tyre controversy and there’s no doubting it was Schumacher’s most hard fought title – he had to dig deep.
2010 is on par with ’03, the Red Bull rivalry, the debates about the RB6 front-wing flexibility, a few races with rain, it had it all.
2007 was scandalous from round one – Alonso v Hamilton, Spygate… and there were three drivers fighting for the title going into the last race, no doubting Kimi deserved the crown that year.
2006 was reminiscent of the Hakkinen v Schumacher era, and it was Schuey’s last season (for the time being), and the mass damper controversy really spiced things up.
2012 promised to be the greatest, but the fact Red Bull aka Vettel pulled away significantly in the final third of the season means it lost some of its sparkle, slightly redeemed by the final races.
Even as a Schumacher fan, as an eleven-year old in ’02 and thirteen-year old in ’04 – his utter dominance was great, but in hindsight does not sit well.
1999 was the first full season I followed and it’s probably still my favorite one. Interesting WDC battle between Häkkinen & Irvine, fantastic performance from Frentzen with Jordan, fantastic race at Nurburgring & of course my all time favorite driver Häkkinen winning the title in the end. From Finnish point of view 2007 was also great, although it didn’t have so great races. Other great ones are 2003, 2008, 2010 & 2012. Only season I stopped following in Mid-season was 2002, which is by far the dullest Season I have witnessed.