Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Jaime Alguersuari - classic F1

Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari is the latest grand prix driver to pick his five all-time favourite races for BBC Sport's classic Formula 1 series.

The 21-year-old Spaniard has been impressing on the track in recent races, putting to one side speculation about his future with strong drives into the points in the last three races - Canada, Valencia and Silverstone.

Alguersuari is a singular character - outspoken and interesting, with a particularly idiosyncratic approach to his Twitter account.

He has applied that uniqueness to his choice of races for this feature, which we use to whet your appetites for the action to come at this weekend's German Grand Prix.

In chronological order, his choices are as follows:

The 2006 Japanese Grand Prix

A no-holds-barred, flat-out battle between F1's then top two drivers - Fernando Alonso and Michael Scumacher. It was reminiscent of a similar fight between Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen six years previously. Alonso, driving for Renault, put huge pressure on Schumacher throughout the race, so much so that the Ferrari's engine eventually broke.

The result did not quite secure Alonso a second consecutive championship but it did put him in a virtually unassailable position - and he made no mistake at the final race of the season in Brazil. This is the first time we have shown highlights of that Japanese race.

The 2007 European Grand Prix.

Alguersuari remembers that "there was a big casino with the rain and you had whatever Force India was then - Spyker maybe - actually leading the race and a lot of people crashing". He's right. This was a spill-a-minute race, won by Alonso, who was driving for McLaren. More on that in a moment.

The 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix

"Because it was my first grand prix," says Alguersuari.

It was also the scene of a brilliant victory by Lewis Hamilton in a McLaren car that had started the season more than two seconds off the pace.

The 2010 Australian Grand Prix

This race will long be remembered for Jenson Button's inspired victory for McLaren. It was also enlivened by Alguersuari's brief but exciting tussle with Michael Schumacher, when the Spaniard re-passed the German legend after being overtaken.

"It was the first time I had really had a battle with someone in Formula 1," Alguersuari says. "It was the start of something good, of what was a big season for me in 2010. It was the basis of my championship."

The 2010 Malaysian Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel led Mark Webber to a comfortable Red Bull one-two but Alguersuari remembers the race because it was the one in which he scored his first F1 points. "That was very nice and something I will not forget," he says.


As always, we choose one of these races to highlight. This time, we have gone for the 2007 European Grand Prix, which was held at the Nurburging, the track that hosts this weekend's German GP.

It was an incident-packed weekend, starting from the moment Hamilton crashed his McLaren at high-speed in qualifying after a wheel came off, leaving the Englishman in 10th place on the grid, with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen on pole and Hamilton's team-mate Alonso beside him on the front row.

The Nurburgring, high in the Eifel mountains, is famous for its capricious weather - and this race was no different. After rain hit on the first lap, Spyker's Markus Winkelhock, making his one and only grand prix start, held the lead. The race was then stopped after four laps before Alonso and Raikkonen's team-mate, Felipe Massa, battled it out for the win.

In the dry, Massa pulled out a lead of about five seconds only for Alonso to cut it back in the closing stages. The late rain then gave Alonso the chance he needed.

After both men had fitted intermediate tyres, Alonso was much faster than Massa, the Spaniard passing the Brazilian with a superb move around the outside of Turn Five, the two men banging wheels as the McLaren went through.

The result moved Alonso to within two points of Hamilton in the championship - and set the stage for a cataclysmic sequence of events at the next race at Hungary.

The highlights of that thrilling Nurburgring race are embedded below - Murray Walker is the commentator as he did a one-off stand-in race for BBC Radio 5 live that weekend.

There are also links to short and extended highlights of last year's German Grand Prix, which was held at Hockenheim. During the controversial race, Ferrari asked Massa to hand the lead to Alonso, now his team-mate, to boost the latter's title chances.

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A selection of the classic races will be shown on the BBC red button on interactive television in the United Kingdom. These will be Japan 2006, Europe 2007, Malaysia 2010 and extended highlights of Germany 2010.

Satellite and cable viewers will be able to watch them from 1500 BST on Wednesday 20 July until 0855 on Friday 22 July, when our broadcast of free practice starts.

Those watching via Freeview will be able to see the classic races between first and second practice on 22 July, from 1035 until 1255.


Stirling Moss Gino Munaron David Murray Luigi Musso Kazuki Nakajima Satoru Nakajima Shinji Nakano

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