Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

The best and the worst of Spa (since 2003) // Some recent events at the Belgian Grand Prix

Published by Christine

Now that we're halfway through the summer break, it's almost time to start looking ahead to the Belgian Grand Prix. As it's a lazy Sunday afternoon, I was browsing through some videos of racing at Spa, and remembering the best and worst bits since I started watching. I thought I'd share them with you, and then perhaps you can let me know what your best and worst Belgian Grand Prix moments are since you switched on and tuned in.

The best

2005 is really pushing the limits of my memory, but even I can appreciate a good fight when I see one. Step forward one stressed out Michael Schumacher - being soundly beaten by not one but two drivers in the championship for the first time in quite a while. He lined up 7th on the grid of the Belgian GP that year, a chilly day in September. He had qualified just behind his brother - ah, remember the days when there were brothers racing.

The GP got underway and it was going relatively smoothly for Mr S until he found himself bunched up with a certain Takuma Sato. The BAR driver had moved up from 11th on the grid and forgot where his brakes where when he saw the big red obstacle ahead of him.

Schumacher's Ferrari slid off course, and Sato followed along behind just to make sure he finished off the job properly. A rather peeved Michael stepped out of the car, leaning ominously into Sato's cockpit to have a word. As a parting gesture, Schumacher slapped at Taku's visor, before stomping back to his own car.

The worst

A bit of emotion can go a long way when you're an F1 driver. It can keep you fired up for the racing to come, keep you on your toes when you're in the heat of battle, and spur you on to do even better next time.

Sometimes, though, emotions are just painful, and if you're desperate to do well and keep your job, things falling apart around you can be the final straw.

The 2008 Belgian Grand Prix was an absolute epic, and I'm by no means consigning the race to the category of "worst moment." Those final few laps turned everything on it's head and caused a lot of repercussions after the event. The incredible Hamilton and Räikkönen fight - corner after corner, a white knuckle ride to see who would blink first. Alonso's storming final lap, passing cars as though they were stopped, and picking up his final place just inches from the finish line and the chequered flag.

Where there is good in F1, there's usually something going wrong for someone else. Bourdais. He seemed to channel the exact opposite of what was fuelling Alonso's rise to the top and the Frenchman simply went backwards. Faced with some extreme wet conditions that he had little experience with, plus the added pressure of being in a really strong position for a team punching above it's weight, he buckled. Car after car passed him as Le Seb struggled with no grip and a desire to keep out of the wall. From third place and a potential career-defining podium, he slipped down to seventh.

And then he cried.

Mr C will tell you that I have a heart of stone, but that gets to me - and not just because I am/was a Bourdais fan. The disappointment, fear, uncertainty, embarrassment and desperation is all written across his face and in his tears. Poor Sébastien. Would his seat have been any more secure if he had achieved a podium, rolled on a bit of a high, brought some glory to the team? We'll never know. What ifs are fun but in reality, we just have the tears.

Bourdais gets a well needed hug from his boss after a fraught Belgian Grand Prix in 2008
Credit: GEPA pictures/ Franz Pammer