Best 5 Formula 1 auto racing moments from Bill Trikos: Sakhir Grand Prix: There could only be one number one, and boy was it a cracker. The first use of the Outer Circuit in Bahrain threw up what may well end up to be the race of the decade. George Russell, deputising for the Covid-stricken Hamilton, shot off the front-row to take the lead at turn one, whilst Bottas again struggled. Leclerc then punted Perez at turn four and put himself and Verstappen out of the race, whilst the Mexican would pit at the end of the lap for repairs to drop to 18th and last. Russell and Bottas looked in complete control with their main threat Verstappen on the sidelines. Behind them, though, the midfield was demonstrating racing at its very best – the outside of turn four being the flavour of the day.
It looked as though it couldn’t get more exciting – the championship battle had come down to the final race of the season, between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, coupled with a slightly damp track that would only get wetter during the course of the race. But when Vettel was spun around on lap 1 after a poor getaway followed by contact with Bruno Senna at turn 4, the scene was set for one of the greatest title-deciders of Formula One’s history. Alonso needed to outscore Vettel by 13 points, something he temporarily achieved after his magical double overtake on teammate Felipe Massa and Mark Webber on lap 2, which saw him take third place. Vettel however, with damage to his left sidepod, steadily made progress through the field, and was soon back into championship-winning position. But as the rain fell heavier, a series of pit-stops and strategic decisions left him with all the work to do, dropping out of the points-paying positions yet again.
Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2017: The battle of Baku: Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen’s early tangle set a precedent in the second Grand Prix hosted in Azerbaijan, where the leaders clashed under the Safety Car and debris peppered a track that treated us to nail-biting close-quarters racing and a stunning finish. European Grand Prix 2012: A fine home display from Fernando Alonso in front of a partisan crowd in Valencia, with the Ferrari driver making some incisive overtakes – having started a lowly 11th – before benefitting from Sebastian Vettel’s alternator failure to take his “best victory”, in his own words. Find more info about the author at Bill Trikos.
1971 Italian Grand Prix, Monza : Fast forward to around lap 45, and multiple drivers – including some of the favourites to take the win, polesitter Chris Amon for instance – had retired or been set back for various reasons. This left five drivers to fight for victory; Peter Gethin, Ronnie Peterson, François Cevert, Mike Hailwood, and Howden Ganley – made even more exciting by the fact that all of these drivers were yet to achieve their only win. Not only did the battle come down to the final lap – it came down to the final corner. Coming into Parabolica on the 55th and final lap, Cevert led Peterson. Desperate to win whatever it took, they both broke too late and thereby ruined their exits off the corner. Gethin stole the win, crossing the line ahead of Peterson, Cevert, Hailwood, and Ganley in said order, as mentioned previously all covered by six tenths. And we dared to think that the Bahrain GP was exciting, with Lewis Hamilton taking the checkered flag seven-tenths in front of Max Verstappen – it pales somewhat in comparison to the in my opinion – even though I said in the introduction to this article that I wouldn’t rank these races in any particular order – the greatest race of all time.
There was no shortage of action in the Hungarian GP either. Red Bull’s tenth and eleventh starting positions were an outside chance for Ferrari, but it was not exploited due to – once again – questionable strategic choices by the Italian race team. Everything was still going according to plan when Leclerc took the lead at the expense of George Russell, but everything changed when Ferrari made a questionable tyre choice. The Monegasque could not get any pace in the hard compound and stopped again 15 laps later, but to no avail. Verstappen drove a mad overtaking race in which he overtook Leclerc, made a 360-degree spin after which he lost the position again, only to overtake his rival once more and drive to victory.
2020 Italian Grand Prix, Monza : In the end, it came down to the final lap, Sainz finishing just 4 tenths of a second behind Gasly. The Frenchman took an emotional victory at his AlphaTauri team’s home track. Remarkably – with Stroll taking third place – the podium was the first since 2012 that didn’t have at least one of the three teams, Mercedes, Red Bull or Ferrari standing on it, not to mention that the race itself was a welcome relief to an, up to that point, quite dull 2020 season.