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All time greatest Grand Prix drives


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#1 ahw911

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 17:05

What are your thoughts on all time Best GP drives?

 

I've entitled it GP rather than F1 or WC to embrace pre-war races too.

 

Here are my thoughts on a top 10 in chronological order.

 

1935     Nuvolari      Nurburgring

1957     Fangio        Nurburgring

1961     Moss           Monaco

1961     Moss           Nurburgring

1963     Clark           Spa

1967     Clark           Monza

1968     Stewart        Nurburgring

1981     Villeneuve   Jarama

1985     Senna         Estoril

2008     Vettel           Monza
 

My thought process was to identify races where a driver had demolished the opposition.  In the case of Nuvolari, Moss, and Villeneuve a driver beat the others whilst driving a notably inferior car.  Vettel was a very young driver in a car which was not a previous or subsequent front runner.  His team mate qualified 4th and finished well down the order.  Clark (Spa) and Stewart both won in the wet by over 4 minutes Clark finishing around 14 km ahead of 2nd placed McClaren having lapped the entire field and then allowing McClaren to unlap himself just before the end.  This in a car which was jumping out of 5th gear forcing him to steer one-handed around the 5th gear corners at 150mph + whilst holding the gear lever in.  For Senna's first win in atrocious conditions he finished over a minute in front of Alboreto and at least a lap in front of everyone else.

 

Clark's Monza race and Fangio's were both incredible recovery drives after losing time in the pits.  Fangio said "I have never driven that quickly before in my life and I don't think I will ever be able to do it again".  Clark's was perhaps more remarkable recovering over a lap on the entire field at pre-chicane Monza where everyone slipstreamed each other and where, 5 years later, the gap from 1st to 4th was a massive 18/100 of a second with 5th a huge 43/100 further back.

 

Let's hear your opinions.

 



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#2 chunder27

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 17:07

Interesting idea

 

I obviosuly have little idea of races before my time!

 

But would actually put one or two in there

 

Villeneuve at Jarama in 1981 being the favourite

 

Watson at long Beach in was it 82?



#3 PlatenGlass

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 17:29

I sometimes wonder if that Ferrari was just really good in the wet, but Alesi at Nurburgring and Japan in 1995 were very impressive, partly because they were with slicks in damp conditions rather than standard wet-weather drives. A lot of people remember Nurburgring for Schumacher's comeback, but that was just him in dry conditions doing what he'd done all year. It's just a shame his one win came with an unmemorable inherited win at Montreal.

#4 blackmme

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 17:42

Great thread, thank you for starting it!

I would have to add Schumacher Hungary 98 to the list and also of course Hamilton Silverstone 08. Let's face it if the requirement is demolish the opposition then Silverstone 08 is in!

Regards Mike

#5 xtoph

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 17:44

do only victories count here?



#6 Barry Boor

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 17:56

To me, Jim Clark was the best ever, BUT, I frequently chirp up when Monza 67 is mentioned.

Check it out; yes, Jimmy made up a huge amount of time against the rest of the field but he was using a DFV engine and nobody else was. Oh, except his team mate Graham Hill. The amount of time Jimmy made up in comparison to Graham was impressive but I don't find it that spectacular. To me, Monaco 1964 was fantastic, it just didn't last to the end.

To be so far ahead after just one lap, which included clouting the chicane too, of course, was nothing short of spectacular.

If I had to choose just one it would be Spa 1964, where Dan destroyed the field.

#7 2F-001

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 17:56

Judging by the list in the original post, no.

#8 911

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 17:59

Hungary, 1997.  Damon almost pulled off an amazing victory in the Arrows.



#9 Roger Clark

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 18:15

Check it out; yes, Jimmy made up a huge amount of time against the rest of the field but he was using a DFV engine and nobody else was. Oh, except his team mate Graham Hill. .

And Giancarlo Baghetti, of course.

Edited by Roger Clark, 23 July 2014 - 18:20.


#10 ahw911

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 18:29

do only victories count here?

 

No any great drives.



#11 byrkus

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 18:40

Schumacher, Barcelona 1994. He was stuck in 5th gear for more than half a race, made succesful pitstop, adapted his driving style for new circumstances and dropped his lap times for less than a second off his best - and finishing in second. Fabuluous drive.



#12 Michael Ferner

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 18:47

Barry, didn't Graham stay in Clark's slipstream until he retired?

 

As for the others, some I agree with a lot, some less so, but one stands out as ridiculous: Schumacher at Hungary in '98? That was the race where he couldn't overtake all race long despite having a huge car advantage, got ahead only by clever pit stops and even then almost threw it all away by running off the road! Are we talking about great drives, or off days???



#13 JtP2

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 18:53

Twas 65 that Clark had to hold the Lotus in gear, still won though. Maybe he should have remembered to do it in 66.



#14 D-Type

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 19:02

People overlook the race Tony Brooks drove  at the Nurburgring in 1958.  Peter Collins's fatal accident drew attention away from a catch-up drive comparable to Fangio's 1957 drive.



#15 jj2728

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 19:03

One that's always stood out for me, Amon 1972 French Grand Prix.



#16 E.B.

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 19:12

People overlook the race Tony Brooks drove  at the Nurburgring in 1958.  Peter Collins's fatal accident drew attention away from a catch-up drive comparable to Fangio's 1957 drive.


I mentioned it when this thread was in Racing Comments (the thread got closed rather than just moved, for some reason).

I would love to have seen how Michael's comment about Hungary 98 would have gone down there!!

#17 ahw911

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 19:20

Twas 65 that Clark had to hold the Lotus in gear, still won though. Maybe he should have remembered to do it in 66.

 

On pages 107/8 of Jim Clark at The Wheel  paperback (1964) he writes of Spa '63

 

"It started dropping out of top and on Spa this is not funny.  

.... On the main straight at Spa there is a kink in the middle  and, though I decided to drop 300 rpm when going through this kink for safety's sake, I was still doing about 150 mph.  This meant that as I approached the kink I would be holding the gear lever in place with my right hand and and moving my left hand down to the bottom of the steering wheel.  I did this because the car has a tendency on this kink to move from one side of the road to the other and I often needed correction.  By keeping my hand low on wheel I could twirl the wheel round with one hand and hold the slide but doing this for lap after lap was not in the least funny."



#18 swintex

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 19:21

12th April 1970, Brands Hatch, BOAC 1000k… oh, sorry, that's not a Grand Prix, is it?

 

I'll get me coat.



#19 ahw911

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 19:23

I mentioned it when this thread was in Racing Comments (the thread got closed rather than just moved, for some reason).

I would love to have seen how Michael's comment about Hungary 98 would have gone down there!!

 

I think it would have generated a storm of abuse from the anti-Schumi's!!!



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#20 kayemod

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 19:29

I know I won't have a single supporter on this, but for me two of Denny's drives, 1972 Clermont-Ferrand (7th) and Anderstorp 1973 (1st).

 

Villeneuve Jarama 1981 mystifies me slightly, never quite understood what the fuss was about. Yes, so his car was fast in a straight line, so he blocked for 80 laps, so what?

 

I'm getting my coat and ducking at the same time...



#21 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 19:59

Schumacher, Barcelona 1994. He was stuck in 5th gear for more than half a race, made succesful pitstop, adapted his driving style for new circumstances and dropped his lap times for less than a second off his best - and finishing in second. Fabuluous drive.

 

I didn't feel like he had a lot of competition in that race so finishing 2nd was relatively 'easy'.

 

I accept that a lot of Great Drives© have narrative elements to them rather than just the performance, but a lot of them fall apart with the benefit of time and some analysis.

 

So Hungary 1998, as impressive as it was to watch live, is really a case of Ferrari/Schumacher outdoing McLaren on race strategy. Hardly surprising, that.



#22 JtP2

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 20:08

Andrew Ferguson said it was 65



#23 E.B.

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 20:14

Clark definitely had those sort of problems during practice in 1963, not sure about the race itself.

#24 ahw911

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 20:15

I know I won't have a single supporter on this, but for me two of Denny's drives, 1972 Clermont-Ferrand (7th) and Anderstorp 1973 (1st).

 

Villeneuve Jarama 1981 mystifies me slightly, never quite understood what the fuss was about. Yes, so his car was fast in a straight line, so he blocked for 80 laps, so what?

 

I'm getting my coat and ducking at the same time...

 

Nice to see someone nominated two Denny drives - wouldn't have occurred to me.

 

About Villeneuve Jarama 1981 - Ill handling chassis; massive turbo lag; very hard on tyres.  I watched the race and it was impressive.  Jarama is hardly a point and squirt circuit with long straights.

 

Anyway. the point of the the thread is to get other people's opinions so keep them coming.



#25 scheivlak

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 20:26


If I had to choose just one it would be Spa 1964, where Dan destroyed the field.

As you already mentioned in an earlier thread http://forums.autosp...orms-are-loose/  :D



#26 ahw911

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 21:09

Clark definitely had those sort of problems during practice in 1963, not sure about the race itself.

 

Check out my post #17 on this thread. 

 

Clark says that it was during the race when Hill was pushing him early on.   After a while he started taking 5th gear corners in 4th so he coud keep both hands on the wheel. 

 

He makes no mention of the problem during practice. 

 

He does say that when he went out in the first session the car was still set up for Monaco!  Amazing, that Lotus procedures (?) didn't include dialling in a base set-up for each track before the car ran!



#27 ensign14

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 21:20

do only victories count here?

 

I pointed out on the original thread Ghinzani's 5th at Dallas in 1984.  Heroic.  Rubbish car, rubbish engine, rubbish tyres, rubbish track surface, broiling conditions, still peeling dead skin from an accident that ought to have killed him a couple of months before, and Osella's only pukka points finish in a decade of windmill-tilting.  The bigger names were chucking it at the scenery all weekend.



#28 chr1s

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 21:31

Off the top of my head, Keke Rosberg and Rene Arnoux, Dallas 1984.



#29 Michael Ferner

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 21:32

Didn't Larini once put an Osella in fourth during the early stages of a wet Canadian GP? That was mighty impressive, too!



#30 ensign14

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 21:37

I mentioned it when this thread was in Racing Comments (the thread got closed rather than just moved, for some reason).
 

 

I'd've left it there.  Some education for those who have not yet been able to explore the history of the sport.

 

The others I'd mentioned:

 

Rosemeyer in the Eifelrennen 1936 (the Nebelmeister race)
Caracciola in the big Merc at Monaco 1929

Varzi outslugging Nuvolari in a knock-down drag-out fight at Monaco 1933 (candidate for the greatest race ever)

Hawthorn at Reims 1953

Gabriel in the Paris-Madrid 1903

Murphy in the Grand Prix in 1921

 

While I'm at it, a what if?  Larini in the Osella in the Montreal wet in 1989; ran third for half the race, and was ahead of eventual winner Boutsen when he retired...



#31 ensign14

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 21:37

Didn't Larini once put an Osella in fourth during the early stages of a wet Canadian GP? That was mighty impressive, too!

Dammit, Michael, get out of my head...  ;)



#32 Nemo1965

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 21:56

I got some suprising suggestions (perhaps):

 

1. John Watson, Detroit 1982 from 14th place on the grid, on a track where it was almost impossible to pass.

 

2. Again: John Watson, Long Beach 1983, from 21st on the grid (I believe, could also have been 22).

 

3. Niki Lauda, second place 1984, which claimed his third word title. 12th on the grid, 14th on the first lap. And with a broken turbo...

 

4. Jenson Button, Canada, 2011, the weirdest, most magnificent drive I've ever seen, including mistakes from the winner.

 

5. Jacky Stewart, 4th place 1973, (I think), when he had to overtake back positions after a lengthy pitstop which had (I think) thrown him to last place.

 

6. Jacky Stewart, Nurburgring, 1968... driving through fog and rain.



#33 arttidesco

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 22:50

I know I won't have a single supporter on this, but for me two of Denny's drives, 1972 Clermont-Ferrand (7th) and Anderstorp 1973 (1st).

 

Villeneuve Jarama 1981 mystifies me slightly, never quite understood what the fuss was about. Yes, so his car was fast in a straight line, so he blocked for 80 laps, so what?

 

I'm getting my coat and ducking at the same time...

 

I don't believe anyone else on that grid would have qualified so well in the same car or managed to keep it ahead for 80 laps so I believe it was the greatest race I ever saw on TV.



#34 JacnGille

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 01:25

About Villeneuve Jarama 1981 - Ill handling chassis; massive turbo lag; very hard on tyres.  I watched the race and it was impressive.  Jarama is hardly a point and squirt circuit with long straights.

 

Anyway. the point of the the thread is to get other people's opinions so keep them coming.

This was something to watch but I'd trade this one for Gilles Monaco win in '81 in what was best described as Ferrari farm equipment.



#35 kayemod

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 10:07

I don't believe anyone else on that grid would have qualified so well in the same car...

 

You mean seventh?



#36 BRG

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 11:03

And Giancarlo Baghetti, of course.

Speaking of whom, how about the 1961 French GP, when a young chap in his first ever World Championship race, won it after starting from the 5th row of the grid?



#37 E.B.

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 11:15

Certainly a remarkable result, but I wouldn't call it a great drive, considering the attrition rate and the car he had.

#38 PCC

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 12:20

You mean seventh?

Well Pironi, who was no slouch, qualified the car in thirteenth, three-quarters of a second behind. And unlike his team-mate, he didn't manage to gain five places on the first lap.



#39 Andretti Fan

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 14:41

1992. Roberto Moreno managed to somehow qualify the unloved Andrea Moda.......at Monaco no less......then managed to last 11 laps before the engine let go. Considering the teams perfomances at the other races it entered, this is as close to a miracle performance as I can remember. Roberto is my hero! :)



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#40 Charlieman

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 14:57

Race duration is a factor to be considered. For early Grand Prix (the first 50 years, say?), a finish minutes behind the winner was a good result. A lot of great drives, owing to limited press reporting, simply weren't reported.

 

Using a bit of the list from the thread initiator, picked to show race duration:

1935     Nuvolari      Nurburgring -- 4 hours

1957     Fangio        Nurburgring -- 3.5 hours

1961     Moss           Nurburgring -- 2.3 hours

2008     Vettel           Monza -- 1.5 hours

 

Like all greatest hits discussions, it's difficult in this one to compare eras, owing to distance, differences in car reliability, depth of quality in the grid etc. All time three litre F1 drive, for example, is easier for me to consider. 

***

I like to think that I'm aware of cognitive biases and mumbo jumbo. But I still think some drivers manufacture their own luck. It might just be a higher level of perspicacity, but sometimes it appears to be magical. By co-incidence, perhaps, my cut-down list of great drives contains four drivers who are great at finding luck. 

 

What's the Mario Andretti quip about Chris Amon which Nigel Roebuck likes? That if Chris entered the undertaking business, people would stop dying. Having raced during those times, Chris Amon emerged mostly intact, so he had the luck which he most needed. 



#41 ensign14

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 15:02

Plus Amon won Le Mans when it mattered, so he was not entirely cursed.

#42 chunder27

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 15:21

Great drives aswell

 

Larry Perkins in a V8 started from last and finished frst, OK with help from a few pace cars, but even so!

 

Some of Sopers's back to front drives int eh M3 in 91/92 were staggering.

 

For me one you wont know is in UK F1 stock car racing the biggest race of the year is the world final, One of the few races of the year were the quickest guys start at the front and not using the handicap grading system.

 

Frankie Wainman Jr, a regular winner had a nightmare qualifying and ended up on the back row as the reigning world champion, his right. After 30 laps he finished second, coming through countless accidents, bad weather. Amazing stuff.

 

One of Lewis's GP 2 drives, was it Hungary, was a staggering spectacle.

 

Eddie Lawson riding on cut slicks in the rain in Hunbary 92, so cold his carbon brakes didnt work, took the lead with a few laps left after the track dried and won.

 

Ralf Waldmann, in 2000, race before lapped twice or something when he chose wrong in wet/dry conditions.  Donington next race chose wrong again until it rained late on and he passed Olivier Jacque on the line making up second every corner.



#43 edtheshred

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 17:05

1967 riverside rex mays 300.  after a flat tire and a long pit stop, dan lit em up from the pits all the way to turn 6 then he started clipping  2 seconds a lap off the leaders (Andretti and bobby unser) and took the lead on the next to the last lap to the joy and amazement  of 70,000 screaming race fans going nuts!

 

ALSO

 

1968 gp at the ring after another flat tire (on the opening lap)  dan was doing lap times equal to one Jacky Stewart in what everyone called Jackies best  drive.  what a race that would have been had it not been for a flat tire.

as ever ed



#44 ahw911

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 17:14

 

All time three litre F1 drive, for example, is easier for me to consider. 

 

And what would be your answer to that?



#45 Perruqueporte

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 18:00

How about Rindt, Monaco, 1970?

 

The car was in its fourth season.  Rindt had been asleep through practice and the early part of the race.  He then woke up, carved his way through the field setting lap record after lap record (well inside his qualifying time) until he was in second place and then appeared to force Jack Brabham into making a mistake on the last lap, before winning the race.  After the race he said he never wanted to have to drive like that again.

 

Christopher W.



#46 Charlieman

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 18:19

And what would be your answer to that?

Still dunno, absolutely. But it is hard to beat Stewart Nurburgring 1968. Jack and Denny won and scored points in Brabhams against fast opposition because they were always smart.

 

During the mixed era (3.0/1.5tc), John Watson on a twisty street track was incredible. Watson was a left over after the Project 4 takeover. Along with uncompleted M28 chassis, McLaren/Project 4 inherited Watson. Thankfully for racers and history, and the people who invent McLaren's history, Watson made a bit of difference.



#47 ensign14

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 18:50

How about Rindt, Monaco, 1970?

 

The car was in its fourth season.  Rindt had been asleep through practice and the early part of the race. 

 

That's why I can't rate it as a great drive.  Best I can put it as a rescue job that got lucky.



#48 Roger Clark

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 18:55

 

 

1968 gp at the ring after another flat tire (on the opening lap)  dan was doing lap times equal to one Jacky Stewart in what everyone called Jackies best  drive.  what a race that would have been had it not been for a flat tire.

as ever ed

Dan Gurney stopped at the pits on lap 4.  From that time his lap times, in comparison to Stewart's were: (Lap 5)  +27.4secs;  (6)  +20.7; (7) +24.6; (8) +33.5; (9) +28.8; (10) +26.6; (11) +11.9; (12) +20.8; (13) -5.8; (14) +4.2

 

Edit:  source for the above was Autocourse.


Edited by Roger Clark, 25 July 2014 - 17:59.


#49 scheivlak

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 23:23

 

One of Lewis's GP 2 drives, was it Hungary, was a staggering spectacle.

 

 

Don't think it was Hungary, just look at this flashback in time http://www.autosport...rt.php/id/53803. The whole 2006 Hungary GP2 weekend could well be described as double winner Nelson Piquet jr's finest hour!

I guess you mean one of his Silverstone races -possibly the second- when he really was on top of his game.


Edited by scheivlak, 24 July 2014 - 23:24.


#50 arttidesco

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 00:55

You mean seventh?

 

Exactly :smoking: