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Formula 1 Friday: Celebrating Britishness!

It was just the other day I was talking to a friend about the negativity surrounding our forthcoming Olympic Games in London and we fell to conversation about how we Brits are so categorically miserable when it comes to celebrating our nation. One of the things I greatly admire about you American ladies and gents is your unashamed joy in the positive things about your country. We could learn a lesson or two when it comes to melting away some of that British cynicism._ _So, with you having celebrated Independence Day recently, I thought I’d celebrate one thing we’re really rather good at – Formula One World Champions. In fact, so overcome with patriotism that, barring significant incident at this weekend's German Grand Prix, I’ll be splitting this column across the next two Friday’s to make sure it’s being given the requisite attention by me. Currently Britain has produced 10 Driver’s Championship winners – with Brazil and Finland trailing far behind in second place with three each. So please excuse an unlikely bout of patriotic fervor as I unfurl the bunting and present you with the 10 Brits who have done us proud in the sport by carrying home the ultimate trophy..._

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Formula 1 Friday: The Shadow of Danger Looms Large Once Again…

There are no finer exponents of finding that critical performance edge across the sport’s history than the McLaren team, but this season the line between finding the extra few tenths of a second and embarrassing failure has also been most awkwardly exposed in their pit stops. With much talk of how Ferrari have seemingly developed a wheel gun that takes one less turn to attach a wheel, allowing them an advantage, it was to McLaren’s great delight that they managed to turn around a four wheel change in the quickest time recorded at Valencia – the car was stationary for 2.6 seconds. Flushed with success, Hamilton’s subsequent stop showed the flip side of the coin as the new swivel jack failed, dropping him from 3rd position to 6th. Such are the fine margins between success and failure in this sport – and such are the very things that keep this sport the domain of the brave.

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Formula 1 Friday: Tracks of My Years

After an enthralling Canadian Grand Prix on a track in Montreal that always serves up thrills and spills, we flip the coin and travel with the circus to what’s commonly referred to in these parts as a “Mickey Mouse” track in Valencia. Much as the Spanish Tourist Board might like to push the venue as their version of Monaco, the fact of the matter is the track is…well…boring. So it got me to thinking, what and where are the best tracks that F1 visits and has visited in the past. Here’s my top ten in NO PARTICULAR ORDER!…

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Formula 1 Friday: Silly Season Time

We touched on “silly season” with last week’s Pace Laps but I was keen to expand a little on what might, might not, possibly and probably will happen over the coming months with what will be a volatile driver’s market which will likely result in some significant, and interesting, team changes. We’ll look at the drivers who are coming free one by one and examine their options. There’s certainly some pretty intriguing possibilities to consider…

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Formula 1 Friday: Monaco-Only the Streetwise May Apply

And so we go, in this most unpredictable of seasons, to one of the most unpredictable and historic of racetracks. Come with me, if you will, to the squeezed confines of Monte Carlo. To the track that took the great Alberto Ascari not just into it’s cruel barriers, but launched into the harbor itself. To a track where, like Spa, the names of the corners bring with them images, fear, history – not for this track the non-events of a modern day “Turn Four” – here we have Sainte Devote, Mirabeau, La Rascasse – when any fan of the sport hears those names, you can’t help but conjure the grainy, pastel images of Graham Hill wrestling his BRM through over 3,000 gear changes. In-car footage of Senna, pure commitment. Recollections of Mika Hakkinen’s pole lap of 1998 where he returned to the pits with paint from the barriers on the side of all four tires…the place is steeped in motoring history.

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Formula 1 Friday: The Impossible Question of the Top 10 Drivers

Following on from comments around last week's piece I’ve been cajoled into that most subjective, most impossible of tasks. The top ten drivers. To simplify matters somewhat I’m going to restrict it to the limitations of “in my lifetime….that I remember.” So for the purpose of argument, we’re going to go from Gilles Villeneuve onwards. Let’s call it 1979. On the matter of bias, I have always favored foot to the floor drivers like Senna over smoothies like Prost or Button so that rather influences some of my choices and positions. Forgive me on that!

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Formula 1 Friday: Memories of Senna

During this brief lull in the F1 season I was considering topics to write about, and sat down at my computer all but ready to write a piece on the top ten drivers I’ve seen in my lifetime. Whilst thinking about Mika Hakkinen’s pass on Michael Schumacher at Spa, Fernando Alonso’s unmatchable ability to drag performance from unwieldy cars and Alain Prost’s incredible way of driving tremendously fast whilst looking like he was nipping to the shops, my mind kept being drawn to a wet and windy day that I stood on the outside of Redgate corner at the Donington Circuit and the whole premise of the piece changed. Coincidentally I also checked the date and realized it was May 1st – 18 years to the day since the last fatality in F1 and the day the sport inexorably changed as we lost probably the finest, certainly most unique driver to grace the sport which we so love.

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F1 and the Tricky Question of Morality, Martinsville from an F1 Perspective and Things to Watch Out for in China and Bahrain

This week’s column is going to be a slightly tricky one to write, as by the time this gets published on the site, the F1 landscape might have fundamentally shifted and may not include a highly controversial trip to the Kingdom of Bahrain. However, at the time of writing, that decision has not yet been taken, and Bernie Ecclestone, the sport’s own dictatorial force, has most recently been quoted as saying, "It's really not up to me to decide whether it should go ahead or not. It's up to the people in Bahrain to decide. At this time, they are not cancelling the event, so presumably they are happy."

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Formula 1 Friday: Top Ten Reasons to Give F1 a Try

About two years or so past, I got a phone call from my very good friend, fellow Brit and now erstwhile colleague at Frontstretch, Danny Peters. Danny was calling to excitedly tell me he was starting a column on NASCAR. Well, that’s fantastic I thought, and barely paid any attention when he said “perhaps at some point you could write on Formula One for us”. After all, this was a website focused solely on that most American of motoring passions right? And you’d have no time really for the snobby intricacies and cold outlook of the self-proclaimed premier series……would you??

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