Blood, Sweat & Tears
One of last year’s biggest sport documentary surprises was Drive to Survive. With an absorbing, behind-the-scenes look at the world of competitive racing and 10 episodes chock full of exciting Formula 1 action and off-race drama, Drive to Survive quickly zoomed into the podium positions as one of the best sport documentaries of the year. Back for a second season, Netflix return with another engrossing and hugely exciting season of action as the 2019 Formula One World Championship is shown in all its glory.
Beginning several days before the Australian Grand Prix and progressing through to the end of the season with the finale, the opening episode sees returning faces of old joined with fresh blood, as Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton show up after their noticeable omission last year. With a self-aware narrative (a lot of the racers now actively acknowledge Netflix are filming them) and some really tense stories interwoven throughout, Drive to Survive matches, and at times surpasses, the quality of its first season.
As someone who doesn’t watch much sport beyond the odd footy match here and there, Drive to Survive is the perfect opportunity to see the highlights and most exciting parts of a sport on the cusp of change (more on that later). Those who are fans of the sport however will get a lot out of this and much like last year, all the rivalries and big stories are shown in full via various different racers. Whether it be the tragedy in the Belgium Grand Prix, Haas’ absolute nightmare of a season or Daniel Ricciardo’s jump across to Renault, the Netflix camera crew capture all of this and more.
Much like the first season, each episode follows a different racing outfit, with one exclusively focusing on Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton’s torrid time in the German Grand Prix. Another follows Haas as their cars continue to suffer and this explodes into a pretty heated argument behind closed doors at the end of this. This drama is counter-balanced by some uplifting stories too, with Red Bull’s double-bill of episodes honing in on Alexander Albon and his dramatic race to personal glory.
If you watched the first season, Drive to Survive offers up much of the same but on a much grander scale. With every racer featured and a much more level playing field (at least in terms of coverage here, not on the race-track), Netflix’s Formula 1 series continues to impress. There’s a lot of drama this season too and all the crashes, slips, wall hits and behind the scenes rivalries are shown off in full, for better or worse.
The final episode pretty much confirms the series will return for a third which is a very welcome sign too and with the financial regulations being implemented into the sport and a lot of racers finding themselves at the end of their contracts, the world of Formula 1 looks set to be a very interesting playground going forward. What better time to dive into the sport then and if this season is anything to go by, Netflix’s Drive to Survive has a lot more gas in the tank yet. This one’s another podium finish and one of the best sport documentaries of the year.
Verdict - 8.5/10