Six Underrated F1 Races
'What is the best race in F1 history?' is a commonly asked question in the world of F1. Whilst there cannot be a definitive answer, certain races are regularly coughed up. Canada 2011 is a fan favourite, Brazil 2008 had the drama, and Britain 1987 featured an incredible battle for the lead.
These Grands Prix get the respect they deserve but there are plenty of good races that fail to receive the same level of recognition. Here are six I have picked out. Make sure to comment below on which races you think are underrated.
2010 Belgian Grand Prix
Who doesn't love nearly every driver missing the Bus Stop chicane?! I re-watched this race the other day and it reminded me of just how much action is packed in here. Spots of rain caused strategic havoc as the likes of Alonso pitted for intermediate tyres when it wasn't wet enough, Vettel and Button's battle for 2nd ended in a dramatic crash at the Bus Stop and there were battles in the midfield throughout the race.
To cap things off, the threat of rain was finally realised at the end of the race as the drivers were forced to make late pitstops for wet tyres. Lewis Hamilton nearly lost it going into Bruxelles, but recovered to take victory.
2003 British Grand Prix
The early noughties were almost entirely dominated by Ferrari, but 2003 was the one year that others got in the mix too, leading to some entertaining races. The British Grand Prix started normally enough, before a track invading Priest brought out a safety car on lap 11 (only in F1....).
Most drivers opted to pit, which meant the Toyota of Cristiano da Matta led the race, he would lead until lap 30 of the race before he needed to pit. This put Raikkonen in the lead with Barrichello as his main challenger. Once Rubens got into clean air, he was able to cut Kimi's advantage until he forced an error and won the race.
1981 German Grand Prix
The 1981 German Grand Prix saw multiple lead changes and incidents that had massive implications towards the championship that year. Alain Prost led the cars away from pole, but behind him the Brabham of Nelson Piquet and the Renault of Rene Arnoux collided. Piquet lost a place, Arnoux lost many.
Prost continued to face pressure throughout the Grand Prix with Alan Jones eventually overtaking for the lead. With just 15 laps to go rain started to fall, Prost struggled with the conditions and lost 2nd to Piquet which soon became 1st when Jones' engine started misfiring. Piquet held the lead until the end of the race. The win put him just 8 points behind championship leader Carlos Reutemann.
2011 Chinese Grand Prix
The Chinese Grand Prix always seems to deliver high quality racing, in fact the GP as a whole could be considered underrated, but 2011 might be the best one of the lot.
Vettel started from pole, but 3 stopping Lewis Hamilton was a threat from third on the grid, particularly as he had an extra fresh set of soft tyres. He nearly didn't start the race at all after a fuel issue just moments before the start, but the guys just got his car out there.
The mix of 2-stoppers and 3-stoppers led to a fascinating race. Mark Webber's recovery from 18th to 3rd was a particular highlight and the Mercedes of Rosberg showed impressive pace throughout. Hamilton was able to overtake Vettel just five laps from the end to take victory. Oh, and Button couldn't remember where to stop in the pits!
1999 French Grand Prix
I don't think there's such thing as a bad Jordan win. Belgium 1998 and Brazil 2003 are regularly spoken about, but Frentzen's win at Magny-Cours fails to garner the same kind of attention. It was Rubens Barrichello who had pole position. David Coulthard soon overtook him and started building a gap, before he retired with an electrical fault, giving the lead back to Rubens.
Heavy rain brought out the safety car and it gave Hakkinen (who had started outside the top 10) a chance to take the lead. He went for a move on Barrichello going into the Adelaide hairpin, but he spun around demoting him back down the grid. Schumacher tried the same thing a few laps later and he succeeded in taking the lead.
Schumacher was then forced to pit with an issue, Hakkinen and Barrichello required an extra pitstop for fuel and this left Heinz-Harald Frentzen out front to take victory for Jordan.
2016 Austrian Grand Prix
A wild qualifying session led to a mixed up grid at the 2016 Austrian GP, with Hulkenberg starting second, Button starting third and Rosberg taking a penalty starting in 6th. A slow pitstop for Hamilton, followed by a safety car due to Vettel's tyre exploding, led to Rosberg leading the race.
The two Mercs continued to duel out front, whilst Red Bull and Raikkonen battled for the final position on the podium. On the final lap Hamilton was in good position to try an overtake into turn 2 but there was contact between them. Hamilton emerged unscathed and won the race, but Rosberg dropped to 4th with Verstappen being bumped up to 2nd.