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Paul di Resta - classic F1 2011

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Andrew Benson | 06:00 UK time, Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Scotland's Paul di Resta, who has made such an impressive start to his grand prix career with Force India this season, is the latest driver to feature in our revised classic Formula 1 series.

Ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, the 25-year-old has picked his five favourite all-time F1 races. We will broadcast highlights of each of his choices in this blog and on the BBC red button to whet your appetites for the action to come in Montreal this weekend.

Di Resta follows in the footsteps of Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher, Sebastien Buemi, Rubens Barrichello, Fernando Alonso and Nick Heidfeld so far this season.

The drivers have all taken a different approach to this task. Vettel, for example, picked only races from his own career, while the others drivers we have showcased so far have all to one degree or another chosen a mix of races in which they featured and ones from before their own time in the sport.

Di Resta has raced in only seven grands prix so far, so it is no surprise that four of his five choices are from the archive.

His first is this year's Australian Grand Prix - after all, a driver will always remember his F1 debut fondly.

The rest are as follows:

The 1968 German Grand Prix, which has gone down in history as one of the great Jackie Stewart's most extraordinary victories, and one of the greatest of all time.

Di Resta says he "read about it in Jackie's autobiography - sounded exciting". The race, memorably described by Stewart himself, was held in teeming rain and dense fog, and Stewart was in a league of his own, winning by four minutes in his Matra.

The next choice is the 1979 French Grand Prix, famous for the thrilling duel over second place between Ferrari's Gilles Villeneuve and Renault's Rene Arnoux in the final three laps, the two men passing and re-passing, banging wheels in lurid, thrilling fashion, until Villeneuve finally prevailed.

It was one of the iconic Villeneuve's landmark performances, a man of sublime talent transcending the limitations of his machinery and taking on faster cars.

A similar description can be applied to Di Resta's next choice, the 1993 European Grand Prix at Donington Park, which has entered F1 folklore as one of the late Ayrton Senna's greatest wins.

In a race of constantly changing conditions, Senna moved from fifth to first in the course of a stunning first lap and raced off into a league of his own. Such was his superiority that at one point he had lapped the entire field.

Finally, Di Resta has chosen the climax to the 2008 world title fight at the Brazilian Grand Prix, when, as he puts it, "the championship went to the last corner".

Many will recall that Ferrari's Felipe Massa would overhaul McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and take the title if the Brazilian could win, with Hamilton finishing lower than fifth.

Massa completed his part of the bargain and, as he crossed the line to take the chequered flag, Hamilton was down in sixth place, having recently been passed by Toro Rosso's Vettel.

In the Ferrari pit they celebrated, but with rain falling all was not lost for Hamilton. Ahead of him the Toyotas, which had decided not to stop for wet-weather tyres, were struggling, and the Englishman passed the gripless Timo Glock at the last corner of the race to sneak the place he needed.

As regular readers will know, we pick one of the driver's choices to highlight and I have to admit that the initial inclination was to run Di Resta's choices ahead of the German Grand Prix and show the '68 race at the Nurburgring.

Highlights of that race do not exist in the BBC archive, though, so instead we have moved Di Resta to Canada and chosen the '79 French race because of Villeneuve, after whom Canada's F1 track is named.

So the full 'Grand Prix' highlights programme broadcast on the evening of that race is embedded below - it has never been shown since that day 32 years ago.

Beneath it are links to long and short highlights of last year's Canadian Grand Prix. It was arguably the best race of the season last year, featuring a thrilling battle between all five of the men who fought out the championship - Hamilton, his McLaren team-mate Jenson Button, Alonso's Ferrari and the Red Bull drivers Vettel and Mark Webber.

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The details for the BBC red button on digital television in the UK are as follows:

Long highlights from France 1979, short highlights of Europe 1993, Brazil 2008 and Australia 2011 plus extended highlights of the Canadian Grand Prix 2010 will be broadcast on satellite and cable from 1500 BST on Wednesday 8 June until 1700 BST on Sunday 12 June.

Unfortunately, a lack of bandwidth because of the Queens tennis tournament means we are unable to broadcast these highlights on Freeview.


  • Comment number 1.

    Thank you Paul - great choices. Lets hope the the Beeb will show it on the red button this time.

  • Comment number 2.

    Excellent choices. I hope though that those who criticise Hamilton's "aggressive" style of racing, calling it dangerous look closely at Villeneuve.
    The blog states:- "It was one of the iconic Villeneuve's landmark performances, a man of sublime talent transcending the limitations of his machinery and taking on faster cars."
    Whilst genius the man was dangerous. His sadly early death wasn't totally unforseeable given his "aggressive" style. Hamilton (and I am by no means a fan of his) has a long, long, way to go to reach these levels. Hopefully for his and others sakes I hope he stays sufficiently aggressive to entertain but not damage. (He probably does too!)

  • Comment number 3.

    Di Resta's choices are like a breath of fresh air.. A bit of everything, which was what I was hoping this series would turn out to be. Well done Paul!
    Let's hope the rest of the drivers follow his lead.

  • Comment number 4.

    Di Resta's choices are like a breath of freash air...A bit of everything which is how I hoped this series would turn out to be. Well done Paul. Let's hope the rest of the drivers featured on this blog follow his lead!!!

  • Comment number 5.

    @ 3+4 Looks like I just agreed with myself.
    Well done me! LOL

  • Comment number 6.

    Great picks! Best choices by a driver so far.

  • Comment number 7.

    Not surprising a novice picks better races.
    Older racers tend to have a bit more of an ego and focus on their own era.
    These are good choices.

  • Comment number 8.

    Both links for the Canada 2010 race take you to extended highlights.

  • Comment number 9.

    Great choices but the link to the 1993 race goes to the 1979 French GP video

  • Comment number 10.

    I think BBC may have had a word with Di Resta to choose something different, either way with astitute picks and a cool driving style hopefully one day Di Resta will one day be able to pick one of his own victories in this "Classic GP Blogs."

    As a Ferrari fan i still believe Glock gave Hamilton the Title in Interlagos, had it been the other way round there would have been an out cry by the British Media.

    Prediction for Canada: 1st Hamilton 2nd Alonso 3rd Vettel .

  • Comment number 11.

    Hi all

    Re posts 8 and 9 - thanks for pointing that out and apologies for the mix-up. I've changed the links and it should go through soon.

    Re post 10 - no we didn't. We have left all the drivers to choose whichever races they wish.

  • Comment number 12.

    Great choices from Di Resta. Nice to see an appreciation for some of the sports legends . Im not particularly into motorcycling in but anybody who dosent appreciate how brave and skilled the likes of Stewart and Villeneuve where should watch a bit of the Isle of Man TT racing being televised at the moment -very similar levels of controlled lunacy. The thought of 500 bhp behind your ears in an ill handling car and only a bit of tubing and riveted aluminium between you and the armco. My view is that supreme skill and single minded bravery has been replaced by supreme skill and lots of cash. Youll probably guess Im 50.

  • Comment number 13.

    "As a Ferrari fan i still believe Glock gave Hamilton the Title in Interlagos"

    As an F1 fan I know he didn't.

    Both Toyotas (Glock AND Trulli) had dry tyres on and were BOTH lapping several seconds slower than the rest of the cars, as it was raining heavily. Glock AND Trulli had two options - come in for wets (Hamilton would have got past while Glock pitted), or stay out and run several seconds a lap slower, meaning anyone on wet tyres would get past the Toyotas easily, as Hamilton did.

    No conspiracy at all, simply that in heavy rain cars fitted with wet-weather tyres were much faster than cars in dry-weather tyres.

  • Comment number 14.

    Some great races there, fantastic stuff.

    Is it possible to complain about a comment if you consider the opinion advocated to be utter baloney?

    The circuit they raced on during the French GP looks amazing - lots of undulation and fast corners. It'd be good to see the Red Bulls on there.

  • Comment number 15.

    No 14. The circuit was the Prenois circuit near Dijon in Burgundy. Renowned for attacking driving and plenty of overtaking. It's still in use for classic grand prix racing and in the French National racing series

  • Comment number 16.

    Wow, races from the 60s and 70s...what a novelty. I'm a bit disappointed that Brazil 2008 is back again, though - it's not that long ago since we last saw it. Other than that, fine choices.

  • Comment number 17.

    nice choice. Good to see a current driver with a sense of history for the sport. doesn't matter how many times I see it but that first lap at donington always blows me away!

  • Comment number 18.

    For those interested, there's a brief clip of the '68 GP here:

    Only a short clip but shows the weather conditions - some people wouldn't drive their road car in those conditions, nevermind an F1 car round the 'ring! Astounding stuff.

  • Comment number 19.

    Great to see such an old race, but surely this is not a case of the 'good old days' when the racing was much better. Aside from the brilliant end of race battle, this race was pretty dull! And probably the wheel banging on the last lap would require a summons to the stewards!

  • Comment number 20.

    Such a shame there's no BBC footage for 1968 but watching Villeneuve is always amazing, I'm only 22 but Gilles has always been a favourite of mine and personally I feel he's the most exciting driver I've ever seen. Hard racing at it's best. Great choices from Di Resta, I think this should help me pass a few hours today.

  • Comment number 21.

    Some good choices in there.... But it is a great shame footage of the '68 race doesn't exist in the archives. Makes you wonder how Di Resta can formulate an opinion without (like the rest of us) being able to see the race!

  • Comment number 22.

    Much better selection this time, although 1993 and 2008 are ones I thought had been done before, but maybe I'm thinking of the previous form of classic F1.

    Such a shame the BBC don't have highlights of 1968, although the weather seems so bad you wouldn't have seen much anyway. Also, due to the length of the Nurburgring much of the racing was filmed from helicopters, which obviously wouldn't have been flying that day.

    To the poster of comment 10 - Good grief, I cannot believe there are still nutjobs out there that still believe Glock deliberately handed the title to Hamilton. That is truly pathetic! As has already been pointed out Glock was on dry tyres on a track that needed wets to drive at a respectable speed. Everyone else around him had stopped for wets, and so he was a sitting duck.

    If Glock had stopped to get wet tyres like everyone else, Massa would not have come so close to winning the title, as Hamilton would have been in the top 5 without having to get past anyone. It should also be noted that Glock was lapping faster than Trulli who was also on dry tyres.

  • Comment number 23.

    Fingers crossed that the Canadian GP tv director lets us see the pole-setting lap.

    Having missed out for several years in succession - too busy showing JV, etc. - I was truly staggered when, with the introduction of single-lap qualifying (only ONE car trying to set a fast lap), the Canadian coverage still managed to miss almost all of the eventual pole lap (too busy watching that driver's teammate coming into the pits on his 'slowing-down' lap).

    Better in recent years, but the coverage still seems to be a 'surprise' - almost as if the tv broadcasters are learning on the job, as the weekend progresses.

    Everyone else enjoys the Canadian GP, what about the Québecois?

  • Comment number 24.

    Great choices Paul. Hope to see some featuring you in years too come - very talented and personable young driver.

    Although almost over-done, I must admit I never get tired of watching that Villeneuve/Arnoux battle.

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    Great choices from Paul

    I suspected the Beeb wouldn't have a highlights package of the 68 race, but glad Paul picked it all the same. It shows he has an appreciation of the sport.

    Massive disappiontment that the full 79 race (surely never to be shown again) won't be on Freeview. Therefore i can't record it to watch again on a rainy afternoon in a few decades time when i'm an old man, and it'll be put back in the BBC archive for another 100 years, (see final scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark)

    Fair point about Queens Tennis and realise us F1 fans shouldn't have a Monopoly, but come on Andrew, give a polite knock on the Red Button Controllers door and point out Queens Tennis won't have any Live coverage from 10pm to 9am at least, and if its repeats, surely he/she can find 2 hours out of 11 hours to put this Classic Race on for at least 2 hours on one of the nights this week? (In 3 years of Classic GP, i seem to remember you've had a decision reversed once, so come on, Lets hope the Red Button Controller is the Jean Todt type and backtracks)

    Incidentally, talking of the BBC archive, great on the Monaco coverage to find that onboard lap with Graham Hill (from 1970?) at the Beginning of the Race Day coverage. Where did you guys drag that from? Might be worth looking through the rest of that tape. Great stuff - Many Thanks.

    I absolutely love this feature, just wish the BBC would broadcast it on freeview TV. (I know its not your fault Andrew).

    Thanks for the continued great work.

  • Comment number 27.

    zzzzzz boring decisions , these are everybodys favorites. these have been replayed hundreds of time. looking forward to a driver with a personality so we can see some different stuff. could be a wait.

  • Comment number 28.

    Firstly, Great choices from Paul though such a shame that there is no archive footage of Germany 1968.

    Secondly, to continue a debate from the Rubens Barrichello choices and the decision to edit out the Peterson crash from the Monza 1978 highlights.
    Bloggers (including myself) referred to BBC4 post-watershead programs which have shown such (and much worse) accidents. Your reply was as follows:

    “The comparison with the BBC4 documentary about the 1960s and ‘70s is invalid – that was a documentary, broadcast after the watershed, about fatalities in grand prix racing. Anyone turning it on would have had no doubt what to expect”

    However, on Sunday evening BBC2 8pm to 9pm (BEFORE the watershead) there was a great program called ‘Murray Walker: Life in the Fast Lane’. This program had no problem in showing the fatal crash of Ayrton Senna and the aftermath of the accident, in a prime time show about the Great Murray Walker (not about F1 accidents). I am not expecting you to respond to this comparison, though it would be interesting to hear how you consider it tallies with your previous post.

  • Comment number 29.

    No 1968? Will 67' do?.. :) (sorry if i'm jumping the gun but i doubt a drivers gonna choose this - not too well remembered despite a decent race), and yeh great to have Dijon 79' in full highlights despite no freeview...

  • Comment number 30.

    @Ninja Hedgehog, that part of Andrew's response was an answer to my own challenge of the program "GP racing: The Killer Years" being shown on the BBC and why Petterson's accident was removed but the program, which was extremely graphic with footage of Bandini burning alive, Roger Williamson dying trapped in his burning car, could be viewed on the iplayer at any time of day. I watched it not at the time of broadcast but at around 2pm. I'm not looking to argue nor a further response as he displayed his reasons for it's removal at the time and gave his view which I accept. I think that blog was simply emotionally charged as a few of us as we felt it was wrong to remove it given the event's impact on the sport.

  • Comment number 31.

    A nice choice there Paul, Brazil 2008 is getting boring now Sorry.

  • Comment number 32.

    In the news it say that the championship isn't over yet. I have done some sums and if Vettel wins 3 more races it is over. Even now Hamilton will only be able to overtake him if he podiums (ideally 1st or 2nd) all the remaining races and Vettel suffers some kind of mental breakdown that leaves him at the back of the grid.

  • Comment number 33.

    #32 not so sure, McLaren looks like it might be the quickest car now and so Vettel winning another 3 races might not be too easy. He's also due some bad luck I reckon, a DNF or two would dent his lead.

    Regards the choices, excellent stuff!

  • Comment number 34.

    @28. Very good point. I watched that documentary and yes it did show senna's fatal crash. I suppose the difference being is you didn't see senna being stretchered away in the documentary. However, by this reasoning they could have shown the crash in question in classic f1, but cut the scenes where he is being stretchered to his ambulance? Anyway! Good choices! Brazil is a bit overdone now though; however I do like it when vettel passes Hamilton in his torro rosso! I honestly thought the climax to the 2010 season was just as exciting though. Alonso vs. Petrov was great.
    All in all good stuff.
    Canada predictions- Vettel, Hamilton, Button.
    It does look wishful but you have to be mad these days to bet against vettel!
    All in all good stuff.
    Canada predictions- Vettel, Hamilton, Button.
    It does look wishful but you have to be mad these days to bet against vettel!

  • Comment number 35.

    The Villeneuve/Arnoux duel is a classic, shame it was way before my time.

    The 2010 race was highly entertaining too. My favourite bit is Vettel's radio messages where he presumes he's on for the win then realises he will have to overtake. For me that sums him upas a driver

  • Comment number 36.

    Very good choices, it's great to see a driver choosing some older races. I have always wanted to see longer highlights of the 1979 French race ever since seeing brief clips on a video Murray Walker presented in the 90s.

    Your comment Andrew that "it has never been shown since that day 32 years ago" sums up neatly what I like this feature to do - show things that very few of us will have already seen, I doubt even the few people who had VCRs at the time would still have a viewable copy today.

    To the comments suggesting di Resta's choices were "prompted" by the BBC, if this was the case I sincerely hope they would have done it sooner...

  • Comment number 37.

    32 - sorry to say, but your sums are completely wrong - vettel can't win the championship with just 3 wins - he is currently 58 points ahead, and the points differential between a 1st and 2 2nd is 7. So, if Vettel were to win 3 races like you are saying, and hamilton gets 2nd in all 3, then he wins 21 points on hamilton, stretching his lead to 79. Considering there are 13 races left, Hamilton would only need vettel to crash out 3 times, and him to win all 3, for the gap to be down to 4 points with 7 races left!

  • Comment number 38.

    GUTTED that Germany '68 couldn't have been shown, would have been great to catch decent-length highlights from a race in the Jackie Stewart era!


    France '79: Interesting to see that Piquet had a lot of credibility in that year given that stats wise he came out of nowhere the following year. Ickx must have been getting on a bit though!

    As for the race itself, Jabouille's win was pretty smooth and that was one hell of a rumble between Villeneuve and Arnoux!

  • Comment number 39.

    Reminds me of playing 'Turbo' on my Colecovision......

  • Comment number 40.

    It would be a good idea if the great and powerful in F1 were to visit La Sarthe, see some real motor racing.


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