My top 5 races of the year

With a review of the top overtaking moves a few days ago, let’s move on to my favourite 5 races of 2011:

5th – British Grand Prix

With a one-off ban on off-throttle blown diffusers, and rain falling on only one half of the circuit, we were always for a great race at Silverstone.

Tyre strategy proved crucial in the opening 15 laps, as the drivers struggled their way back onto the soft tyres. Once Red Bull made a mistake at their pit stop, Fernando Alonso wasted no time in snatching a victory in unlikely circumstances.

Further back, we saw battles between Button, Webber, Hamilton and Massa throughout. Lewis in particular was in the wars, making a brilliant move on Alonso in the early stages, then tussling with Massa all the way to the finish line:

4th – Hungarian Grand Prix

Another rain-affected start here – Hungary has a penchant for throwing up excellent races in tricky conditions.

Lewis Hamilton took the lead from Vettel in the opening laps, tearing out a lead over everyone else. Once Button got past the Red Bull, he grew closer and closer to his teammate’s rear wing.

Eventually, the rain had a say in the matter, causing Hamilton to spin and lose the lead – but not for long. The two McLarens slid off the track several times battling for the lead, with Lewis ending up on top.

However, a faulty radio resulted in him pitting before the track was fully wet, destroying his chances of winning the race, and a drive-through penalty sealed his fate. It wasn’t all at the front, though, as there was exciting racing throughout the entire field:

3rd – German Grand Prix

With Vettel uncharacteristically off the pace, we were treated to a fantastic 3-way battle for the lead throughout the German Grand Prix.

In between pit stop battles, a brilliant move by Hamilton on Alonso (which I named my favourite move of the year) gave him the lead, which he took with pleasure.

It was an enthralling battle of wits and guts against Alonso and Webber, and the highlight of a disappointing year for Lewis.

2nd – Chinese Grand Prix

After a problem with his car nearly stopped him starting the race, Hamilton (clearly the star of this article!) was again on top form, passing Rosberg, Massa and Vettel en route to victory.

Mark Webber sliced up to 3rd from 18th on the grid – an unlikely achievement after his dismal qualifying.

Button provided the entertainment in another form, making a bizarre mistake in the pit lane, nearly stopping in the Red Bull box.

But it was Lewis who stole the show, taking the lead on the final lap without using DRS, which is just what we want to see:

1st – Canadian Grand Prix

You knew this was coming – a 4 hour race in Canada was always going to be epic.

After Turn 1, Webber had already been taken out of the frontrunner action, with both McLarens in the wars only a few laps later. A calamitous collision between Hamilton and Button left the former out of the race, and the latter in last place:

Jenson was in for further trouble – breaking the safety car speed limit earned him a drive-through penalty. A later collision with Fernando Alonso, sending him right back down the field – should have ended his day.

But Button is a master of the tricky conditions, and the drying track in Montreal allowed him to scythe back up the field, going from last to first in only 30 laps.

Again, we were never short of racing action, with Michael Schumacher showing us why he is still a driver to be feared, only just missing out on a podium finish. Felipe Massa once again provided a photo finish, this time with Kamui Kobayashi.

Despite the 2-hour red flag, it was one of the most enjoyable F1 races I have ever seen, and that’s all that needs to be said.

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