Proving even bad F1 is better than no F1, we at the Sunday Afternoon Club are already struggling for something to do between the roast and the Strictly results show. It’s only been a week, but are memories of 2013 are already taking on a rosy tint.
Between now and Xmas we want to take time to look back on this latest era of V8 racing (and some other disciplines besides) and we will give you our driver rankings in order to give you something to get shouty about. But first we want your help to rate the moments of the 2013 F1 season. Below a list of out top 13 moments, and below that a space for you to agree, disagree, or suggest your own. These are in no particular order, just as they came to us….
1 Alonso’s move on Webber at Monza. Ferrari President Luca de Montezemolo clearly can’t have been at Monza this year or he would never have dreamed of accusing his number one of not giving it 100 per cent this year. This year’s overtake might not have required the cajones of last year, but it still needed absolute commitment.
2 Webber’s pole lap at Abu Dhabi. Mark Webber had a awful last season in F1. He admitted he was possibly not (quite) as quick as he once was, but the bigger problem this year was the RB9. Sorry, Webber’s RB9 (Vettel’s only broke once). But given the chance, Mark could still put the wind up Vettel and his pole lap in the twilight in Abu Dhabi was one of those rare moments you can sense the speed, even on TV.
3 Vettel does the dirty in Malaysia. We all learned a new code this year. Remember “multi 21, Seb….” and then the death stare? Vettel didn’t have an answer when Webber used the live F1 feed to let the world know his teammate was maybe not such a sweetie. Vettel first offered a phoney apology, which he then retracted. Then admitted to feeling hurt when first British and then other racing fans booed him. Luckily for him, he’s not playing in the Ashes.
4 Button vs Perez in Bahrain. Talented older racing drivers get slower (see above), whereas talented younger ones just get better. This is not, apparently, how McLaren see it. Sergio Perez showed he had the fight, was as quick as Button and — as the season — closed, showed he could get better, yet McLaren opted to retain Button. This hasn’t been explained to the Sunday Afternoon Club yet in a way we can understand.
5 Perez vs Kimi in Monaco. So Checo could get a little crazy… and an F1 driver hasn’t really earned his spurs until another offers to punch him the face. Remember Romain Grosjean was ‘out of control’ in 2012. He even earned himself a race in the sin bin. I guess McLaren doesn’t believe it can redeem its own drivers.
6 Vettel’s win over Kimi in Germany. Back before the summer break, the MkI RB9 was beatable, or so it seemed and Seb had to fight for his wins, notably starting the last lap on his home Grand Prix with Kimi Raikkonen within DRS reach behind. Kimi couldn’t find the chops to make it count and, faced with the RB9 MkII after the break, appeared to lose the will to race. Well, to race for free anyway.
7 Jules Bianchi’s runaway Marussia in Germany. F1 is rarely big on laughs – you need to keep one eye on Twitter for that. But the LOL of the year had to be the impressive Jules’ Bianchi’s Marussia rolling away from the fire truck trying to catch it. At least F1’s King of Twitter Take Inoue remembered to put the hand brake on. Before being run over by the fire truck.
8 Lewis’ tyre lets go at Silverstone. Ah, the British summer of 2013… and that extraordinary race, punctuated by delaminating Pirellis. Hamilton and Mercedes looked to have the W04 dialled in by July and were heading for the win. Pirelli were obliged to rethink the construction of its tyres for the balance of the season. The new recipe didn’t suit Merc, but didn’t half suit Red Bull.
9 Hamilton’s drive in Hungary. Lewis Hamilton gave us all hope that Vettel might just have to fight for his fourth title with a fantastic drive in Hungary – the last race before the break. Unfortunately It was all an illusion, the Merc W04 making the best of the last days of its great relationship with the Gen 1/1.5, 2013 tyres. Once the Gen 2s arrived, Mercedes and especially Lewis looked lost for what to do about that RB9.
10 Maldonado’s accident in Monaco. There haven’t been a lot of heavy shunts in 2013, although plenty of broken carbon in open racing. The most spectacular was Maldonado’s at Monaco. Almost certainly not his fault (yes, you read that right), it resulted in the barrier wrapping itself around the Williams and completely blocking the track and the race getting a red flag.
11 Paul di Resta’s ‘pole’ lap in the rain in Spa Q3. As he packs his stuff in preparation for a move to the US and a seat in cousin Dario Franchitti’s Indycar, Paul di Resta will no doubt reflect on the five minutes or so he had pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix. Force India didn’t always serve di Resta well in practice this year, but looked to have made amends in the rain in Spa. It wasn’t meant to be and would have been good to have seen di Resta on pole just the once. F1 hasn’t always been kind to the West Lothian lad.
12 Hulkenberg holding the champions at bay in Korea. Nico Hulkenberg will almost certainly be making his way across/back down the grid to di Resta’s car next year. He should have been making his way forward to a Lotus or a (decent) McLaren. He’s always been the real deal, but the rest of the world seemed to cotton on this year. Too late for him, it seems. The economic tides in F1 have changed, possibly irrevocably.
13 Romain Grosjean’s 2nd place at the Circuit of the Americas. RoGros is the real deal. Some way that becoming a father this year has improved his concentration, peripheral vision and ability to think strategically. Whatever’s changed, he’s an awful lot closer to having a full F1 skills set than he had this time last year when all he really had was fast.
So, there’s a baker’s dozen to get you started. So let is know if you think we’re right and tell us what we have missed. You will be amazed at how exciting this year seems when you play it back in your head…