Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Rubens Barrichello - classic F1 2011

Rubens Barrichello is the latest driver to choose his five favourite all-time grands prix for our new-look classic Formula 1 series.

For those unfamiliar with the format, BBC Sport has asked all the F1 drivers to reveal their five favourite races and we are serialising their choices before every race this season to whet your appetites for the action to come. Highlights will be shown on this website and the red button on BBC television in the UK.

So far, we have had world champion Sebastian Vettel, F1 legend Michael Schumacher and Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi. Ahead of this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix, we have the most experienced F1 driver in history.

Barrichello's selection of races cover his life both before and during his F1 career. He has chosen three grands prix from his childhood, and two from his time in F1.

He gave his choices in chronological order, and his first is a particularly fascinating one.

It is an event that wraps up in one pretty much all the many aspects that make the sport such a compelling spectacle for millions of fans around the world - from the thrills of the world's greatest drivers battling for supremacy in the fastest cars, to the tragedy that inevitably occasionally visits an activity from which danger can never be fully removed.

The race in question is the 1978 Italian Grand Prix. It is notorious for a terrible crash at the start which eventually claimed the life of the legendary Ronnie Peterson, but also featured a thrilling fight for the lead between world champion elect Mario Andretti of Lotus (Peterson's team-mate) and Ferrari's Gilles Villeneuve. Brabham's Niki Lauda, who finished third on the road, was classified as the winner after Andretti and Villeneuve, first and second across the line, were penalised a minute for jumping the start.

This is Barrichello's reason for choosing that race: "The one that I remember from a very long time ago is the very first one I saw in Monza where Ronnie Peterson died in a big accident in 1978. It was the very first race that I saw on television, it's a very sad one but a classic one for me."

In chronological order, his other choices are as follows, in his own words:

1983 US Grand Prix, Long Beach

"It was the race when Keke Rosberg did a 360� spin and he kept on going for Williams. In my head it was just phenomenal."

1985 Portuguese Grand Prix, Estoril

"When Ayrton Senna won his first race in Portugal in 1985, it was also special for me. First of all because I had him as a mentor but also because he was just so fantastic in the way he drove every time he got into the car.

"Though he was to go on to win three championships, that day in Portugal he hadn't won a Formula 1 race before. It was so wet and everyone was crashing out, stopping and so on but Senna held on from pole to lead the race and it was so nice when he hung on to win in the Lotus.

2000 German Grand Prix, Hockenheim

"I love to watch my race in Hockenheim in 2000 when I took my first grand prix victory from the back of the grid.

"I had a problem with my car, it wasn't ready for qualifying, and then 20 minutes into the session it started to rain and I ended up qualifying back in 18th for Ferrari. I just wanted Saturday to go and for Sunday to come. I was sad because Hockenheim's a good race track and I knew I had a good chance of a podium.

"But I started the race just wishing the weekend to go and then all of a sudden on Sunday, I was overtaking, overtaking and overtaking. I saw my chance to win the race - and I did."

2008 British Grand Prix, Silverstone

"The other one that I love to watch is the British Grand Prix in the wet at Silverstone. We Brazilians do like the rain - and I've had a lot of practice in the wet in the Brazil right from my karting days.

"That race at Silverstone, I was soaked inside the car. When the Honda guys asked me what tyres I wanted, I said 'wet tyres'. Then they told me that others were going out on the intermediates and I said: 'They must be crazy because it's raining really heavily.' But that's how I got up (the order) during the race.

"I was a lap behind Lewis Hamilton's McLaren. He went on to win the race, but I took that back and I was going on. It felt so great to drive a car that was not that good but with better tyres than the others. I was able to overtake the others and finish on the podium."

With each driver, we choose one of their races to highlight and for Barrichello we have picked Monza 1978. That's because we have not shown it before, whereas all his other choices have featured in classic F1 over the last two years.

Usually, we would show the entire 'Grand Prix' highlights programme that was broadcast on the evening of the race. In this case, however, we have had to edit it because we felt some of the coverage of Peterson's crash was inappropriate.

As a result, the video starts with commentator Murray Walker summing up the events at the first start before reconvening for the second one.

The long highlights are embedded below. Underneath them are both short and long highlights of last year's Turkish Grand Prix, to further whet your appetites for this weekend's race.

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I'm sure you'll remember it was one of the most thrilling races of 2010. Red Bull team-mates Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber crashed while disputing the lead. That left McLaren team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button up front and they had their own little tussle, passing and re-passing before they were told to ease off, Hamilton going on to win.

We will be showing short highlights from the 1983 US Grand Prix West 1983, Portugal 1985, Germany 2000 and Great Britain 2008 as well as long highlights from Turkey 2010 on the red button on BBC digital television in the UK.

Satellite and cable viewers will be able to watch them from 1500 BST on Wednesday 4 May until 12 noon Saturday 7 May.

They will be on Freeview from 0940-1150 BST on Friday 6 May and 1010-1050 BST on Saturday 7 May. The shorter window on Saturday means there will only be time for US West 1983, Portugal 1985, Germany 2000 and Great Britain 2008.

We hope you enjoy them.


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