Monday, June 13, 2011

Paul di Resta - classic F1 2011

Scotland's Paul di Resta, who has made such an impressive start to his grand prix career with Force India this season, is the latest driver to feature in our revised classic Formula 1 series.

Ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, the 25-year-old has picked his five favourite all-time F1 races. We will broadcast highlights of each of his choices in this blog and on the BBC red button to whet your appetites for the action to come in Montreal this weekend.

Di Resta follows in the footsteps of Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher, Sebastien Buemi, Rubens Barrichello, Fernando Alonso and Nick Heidfeld so far this season.

The drivers have all taken a different approach to this task. Vettel, for example, picked only races from his own career, while the others drivers we have showcased so far have all to one degree or another chosen a mix of races in which they featured and ones from before their own time in the sport.

Di Resta has raced in only seven grands prix so far, so it is no surprise that four of his five choices are from the archive.

His first is this year's Australian Grand Prix - after all, a driver will always remember his F1 debut fondly.

The rest are as follows:

The 1968 German Grand Prix, which has gone down in history as one of the great Jackie Stewart's most extraordinary victories, and one of the greatest of all time.

Di Resta says he "read about it in Jackie's autobiography - sounded exciting". The race, memorably described by Stewart himself, was held in teeming rain and dense fog, and Stewart was in a league of his own, winning by four minutes in his Matra.

The next choice is the 1979 French Grand Prix, famous for the thrilling duel over second place between Ferrari's Gilles Villeneuve and Renault's Rene Arnoux in the final three laps, the two men passing and re-passing, banging wheels in lurid, thrilling fashion, until Villeneuve finally prevailed.

It was one of the iconic Villeneuve's landmark performances, a man of sublime talent transcending the limitations of his machinery and taking on faster cars.

A similar description can be applied to Di Resta's next choice, the 1993 European Grand Prix at Donington Park, which has entered F1 folklore as one of the late Ayrton Senna's greatest wins.

In a race of constantly changing conditions, Senna moved from fifth to first in the course of a stunning first lap and raced off into a league of his own. Such was his superiority that at one point he had lapped the entire field.

Finally, Di Resta has chosen the climax to the 2008 world title fight at the Brazilian Grand Prix, when, as he puts it, "the championship went to the last corner".

Many will recall that Ferrari's Felipe Massa would overhaul McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and take the title if the Brazilian could win, with Hamilton finishing lower than fifth.

Massa completed his part of the bargain and, as he crossed the line to take the chequered flag, Hamilton was down in sixth place, having recently been passed by Toro Rosso's Vettel.

In the Ferrari pit they celebrated, but with rain falling all was not lost for Hamilton. Ahead of him the Toyotas, which had decided not to stop for wet-weather tyres, were struggling, and the Englishman passed the gripless Timo Glock at the last corner of the race to sneak the place he needed.

As regular readers will know, we pick one of the driver's choices to highlight and I have to admit that the initial inclination was to run Di Resta's choices ahead of the German Grand Prix and show the '68 race at the Nurburgring.

Highlights of that race do not exist in the BBC archive, though, so instead we have moved Di Resta to Canada and chosen the '79 French race because of Villeneuve, after whom Canada's F1 track is named.

So the full 'Grand Prix' highlights programme broadcast on the evening of that race is embedded below - it has never been shown since that day 32 years ago.

Beneath it are links to long and short highlights of last year's Canadian Grand Prix. It was arguably the best race of the season last year, featuring a thrilling battle between all five of the men who fought out the championship - Hamilton, his McLaren team-mate Jenson Button, Alonso's Ferrari and the Red Bull drivers Vettel and Mark Webber.

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The details for the BBC red button on digital television in the UK are as follows:

Long highlights from France 1979, short highlights of Europe 1993, Brazil 2008 and Australia 2011 plus extended highlights of the Canadian Grand Prix 2010 will be broadcast on satellite and cable from 1500 BST on Wednesday 8 June until 1700 BST on Sunday 12 June.

Unfortunately, a lack of bandwidth because of the Queens tennis tournament means we are unable to broadcast these highlights on Freeview.


Ukyo Katayama Ken Kavanagh Rupert Keegan Eddie Keizan Al Keller Joe Kelly Dave Kennedy

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