2012 was a great year for Formula 1. The start of the season, which feels like a lifetime ago now, was the most unpredictable in history. An unprecedented seven drivers won the first seven Grands Prix leaving the championship wide open. I have complied a list of my favourite race wins – ones that I thought were spectacular, surprising and ‘edge-of-your-seat’ thrilling.
Winner: Pastor Maldonado
I think over the last year us racing fans have had a few harsh words to say about Pastor Maldonado. To some of you, him being on this list may be surprising given that the Venezuelan received the highest number of grid penalties of all the drivers. There is no doubting that Pastor’s performance in Spain was nothing short of dominant – pole position to win. For many it may not have been Pastor’s win but more Williams’ win that excited everybody. Williams as of late have not had the previous level that we used to expect. Maldonado’s win was crucial for him…suddenly we all stopped seeing him as a money symbol and considered him to be a racer capable of joining a prestigious list.
For me what also marks this particular win as special is the post race reaction. As the Williams garage began to go up in flames, other teams put aside their competitive instincts to aid the team however possible in ridding the paddock of a serious fire. Whilst this would have acted as a serious downer for Maldonado, it did add an extra something special I think.
Winner: Nico Rosberg
A year ago us Formula 1 fans were questioning: “why is Nico Rosberg yet to have a win?” His win to race ratio was the second poorest in Formula 1’s history until his thrilling, and somewhat surprising, victory. China appears on my list as it brought to the forefront of the sport a driver, who in my opinion, is an enormously under rated driver. Nico’s dominant display started in free practice on the Friday and continued with a seemingly effortless race. For once the unpredictable world of F1 had fallen in his favour. Cue champagne sprays and heart felt emotion from a driver who usually keeps himself to himself.
I was always concerned that Nico Rosberg would suffer the same fate as drivers like Bruno Senna. His father Keke’s prestigious status as World Champion must be a burden to him, perhaps in his racing mind nothing less than a championship is now sufficient?
A championship does seem a long way off for now, especially as Lewis Hamilton looks set to be Mercedes’ first driver, but this victory did quash Vettel’s dominance the year previous.
Unfortunately, a poor car lacking in reliability and promising updates made this feat unrepeatable but I enjoyed it none the less.
Location: Great Britain
Winner: Mark Webber
All eyes were on his team mate this season so it only seems fair to include Mark Webber on this list. I chose Silverstone in particular as this Grand Prix highlighted the determination of the Australian driver, appropriately nicknamed ‘Aussie Grit’, to pip pole sitter Fernando Alonso to the win. The variables involved in this race were increased further by the monsoon-type weather we have come to love and accept from Great Britain. Collisions and subsequent penalties made racing in those conditions that much more challenging, however the experience of Mark Webber proved vital. Mark’s impressive win showed that he was determined, as any racer should be, to not give up until the chequered flag has been waved. After a few disappointing Grands Prix prior to Silverstone, this victory highlights Mark as a true racer.
What a gift this Grand Prix was for the rain-drenched fans who had persisted against the downpour. Well done them and well done Mark Webber.
Location: Abu Dhabi
Winner: Kimi Räikkönen
How can we forget Formula 1’s outing to Abu Dhabi? Not normally a race containing thrills and spills, the Yas Marina circuit certainly didn’t disappoint!Kimi (and on occasion his team mate Romain Grosjean) had shown great pace with several podiums however that elusive win in the Lotus was still very much an enigma. What makes this win so special is not just the fact that Kimi is a great racer and former World Champion but that he, unlike a few others on this list, did not start on pole position. He was moved to fourth on the grid following Vettel’s penalty but still had to fight for even a podium on a circuit upon which over taking can be quite tricky.
Kimi’s nonchalant attitude to the win, which secured third in the championship, made him popular amongst many fans. The Lotus was not made to the same standard as the McLarens or the Red Bulls but with Kimi at the helm, they were always sure to succeed.
Thanks for reading! Who would be on your list?
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