Daily: 1st September 2011

1 September, 2011 at 00:00 (GMT+01:00)

By Colin McBain

On my last daily post a fortnight ago a pub prediction question was submitted on whether or not it would rain during last weekend's Belgian Grand Prix.  The answer given to this question was, 'Yeah, probably.'  It has come to my attention that the Grand Prix was dry throughout, therefore the answer given in the post was incorrect.  I wish to apologise for the error made and promise that such inaccuracies may or may not happen again, depending on if I can be bothered to put the research in.

And with that out of the way, hello everyone and welcome to Thursday's daily post.  Before we concentrate on the Belgian GP, I should draw everyone's attention to the official 2012 calendar, which the FIA ratified on Wednesday.  There are some points of note, namely that the Turkish GP has been dropped due to regularly poor attendances [hurray], the Australian GP will be the opening race of the season again [hurray again], the US GP in Austin has been confirmed for the penultimate race i.e. November [don't mind either way] and the Bahrain GP has been scheduled for race 4 of the season, presumably in the hope that the civil unrest there will have subsided by then.

So back to 2011 and the race last weekend.  The Belgian Grand Prix at Spa was a braw feast with overtaking, incidents and the same old German taking the top step of the podium.  Even though he's 24 and not really that old.  The Spa-Francorchamps circuit is an all-time classic racetrack that can hold its own against the newer, modern tracks, and as such has been the location for some unforgettable moments in Formula 1.  Thus, here are five of my personal favourites:

  1. Here's a fun look at a pre-World Championship Belgian Grand Prix from 1937, which was won by Germany's Rudolf Hasse for the Auto Union team.  You might be able to recognise some familiar corners.
  2. 1995 saw one of the most exciting battles between two supremely talented drivers.  Michael Schumacher [Benetton] started from 16th on the grid and had fought his way up into 2nd.  Damon Hill [Williams] had been leading before it started raining.  Hill decided to pit for wet tyres but Schumacher elected to stay with slicks.  The battle that ensued culminated in the German winning in superb and controlled style.
  3. Who can possibly forget the 1998 race?  Where do you start?  I would suggest starting here, and then eventually here.
  4. There was another titanic battle for the lead in the year 2000, this time between Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen.  The Finn is desperately trying to get past his Ferrari nemesis but without much success, so he decides to use a back-marker to help him.
  5. Wet weather is a regular theme in Spa and 2008 was no exception.  In the last remaining laps of the Grand Prix, the heavens opened after what had been a dry race, but the top 2 of Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton decide not to pit for wet tires.  The resulting see-sawing battle is something to behold.  Although Hamilton eventually won, he was stripped of his victory after having deemed to have overtaken Raikkonen by cutting the final chicane, despite giving the place straight back as they crossed the start-finish line.

And there it is, five memorable moments.  Okay, make that four memorable moments and one interesting one.  Still, anything's more interesting than the most recent IndyCar race at Sonoma, California.  It was an event, which, it has to be said, had a procession-ness and a boredom factor similar to that of the Hungaroring or Valencia.  Or Istanbul.  Or Abu Dhabi.  Or Singapore.  Take your pick.  It was a race where Will Power claimed victory to reduce his arrears over championship leader Dario Franchitti by leading the race from start to finish.  With four races left to go, there's a 26-point gap between the top two, or a race win and a 10th place in F1 money.

So that's it for another fortnight.  And with another historical race - the Italian GP at Monza - coming next week, the F1 train just keeps on rolling along.  Well, that's as good an ending as I can think of just now.


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