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Pick your classic German Grand Prix

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Andrew Benson | 07:13 UK time, Wednesday, 1 July 2009

The German Grand Prix is at the Nurburgring this year for the first time since 1985 but it is the Hockenheim track that features in four of the five choices for the latest edition of our classic races series.

Hockenheim has hosted all the German Grands Prix but one since it took over from the Nurburgring following Niki Lauda's fiery crash in 1976.

This year, though, is supposed to be the first in an arrangement whereby the two tracks alternate as hosts, although whether that actually happens is up in the air because of the doubts surrounding the future of Hockenheim.

If Hockenheim does drop off the calendar, its absence will be largely unlamented. In its new format, it is a flat and largely featureless autodrome near Heidelberg in the Rhine valley with a reputation for dreary races - one of the drivers told me recently that the place should be "levelled with a bulldozer" - but there have been some great races there, and we have chosen those in 1982, 1991, 2000 and 2008.

Our one choice from the Nurburgring dates back to 1961, when Stirling Moss, then racing a Lotus, put in one of his greatest drives to beat the faster 'shark-nose' Ferraris of the eventual world champion Phil Hill and Wolfgang von Trips.

Now, before all those of you who are F1 experts say it, yes, I know there are a number of classic German Grands Prix at the Nurburgring not on that list.

Rubens Barrichello celebrates winning the 2000 German Grand Prix, his maiden Formula 1 victory, watched by McLaren's David Coulthard

Chief among them is probably 1957, when the legendary Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio chased down the Ferraris of Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins, breaking the lap record nine times, to take his final and probably best ever win.

But there was also 1968, when Jackie Stewart won by four minutes in the wet, and 1976, when Lauda's crash made everyone finally realise that the Austrian - and Stewart before him - had been right when they said that the majestic 14-mile Nordschleife had become too dangerous for F1.

(A new version of the circuit, built next door to the old track, hosted its first F1 race in 1984 and has been a regular feature on the calendar since, usually under the title European Grand Prix).

Unfortunately, the BBC archive is not what it might be, and we have been unable to source enough material for these races to put together a suitable highlights package.

Hopefully, though, these others from Hockenheim will make up for it.

So we have the famous incident in 1982 when backmarker Eliseo Salazar took out race leader Nelson Piquet, prompting the Brazilian to launch a physical assault on the unfortunate Chilean (or Colombian, as Murray Walker says in the commentary...) that made Piquet look like, as one journalist put it at the time, a "demented marionette".

That race also featured a cathartic victory for Ferrari courtesy of Patrick Tambay, following Didier Pironi's horrific, career-ending crash in practice.

Then there is 1991, an unremarkable dominant victory for Nigel Mansell which stands out chiefly because it marked one of the many bad-tempered battles between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, and some typically entertaining mud-slinging between the two afterwards.

For both of these races, we have the full Grand Prix highlights programme from the time to show if they emerge as the chosen race.

From more recent years, we have Rubens Barrichello's remarkable maiden victory in 2000 - a quite brilliant drive from 18th on the grid in a race that featured a track invader, two safety car interventions and a decisive late rain shower.

Finally, there is Lewis Hamilton's victory last year, in which he drove superbly to erase a strategy error by his McLaren team, who failed to pit him during a safety car period, forcing him to drive the closing stages of the race right on the edge when he should have been cruising to a comfortable win.

So, let us know which race you would like to see highlighted. And, for those of you wondering about classic events from more recent races at the Nurburgring, those will feature ahead of this year's European Grand Prix - which from last year has a new home in Valencia.

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