We’re continuing our look back over the first half of the 2011 season for this week’s Scrutineering Bay and, more specifically, the entertainment value on offer so far. We’ve had classics left right and centre, but what we really want to know is:

“What’s been your favourite race this season so far?”

What are your thoughts – what’s your best race of 2011? Let us know below and back up your choice in the comments!  While you ponder, have a read of Badger’s thoughts on the best races of the season son far…

[poll id=11]

As usual we have a handful of Badger writers standing by to answer the question and fight their corner. This week’s brave souls are myself, Craig Normansell, Jimmy Von Weeks, and the first to get misty eyed and nostalgic (or drunk, we can never tell), is Benson Jammichello;

It simply has to be the Canadian GP for me. Not only because it was gloriously mental, or that there was a crash between team mates, or that we had to wait an age for the race to restart, or that Lewis Hamilton’s brain went missing, or that it was really wet or that Jenson Button won but, rather, that I sent my first tweet. We all have many things to be thankful for.

The race itself was too long and too interesting to describe fully here, so I’ll restrict myself to the reason I liked it (beyond those above, anyway).

Watching a Grand Prix in the company of others is very enjoyable. I enjoy it when I watch races with my Dad. I enjoy it when we all gather in the Sett to watch races. I especially enjoy the Badger Bashes at The Sports Cafe in London. For those of us who also like football, it feels a bit like when you first go to a football match for the team you support – you know you’re in a place with a whole bunch of other people who all like the same thing you like. It’s actually quite comforting.

From the Badger quiz to the Virgin Racing message, to the many many drinks I consumed and the antics of Adam with his microphone, it really was a great day. Even the break only added to the excitement, to the energy and, dare I say it, the group mentality. The scenes at the end were really something (mostly seeming to involve a lot of arm waving, shouting and screaming all round).

So, there you have it; I like watching Grands Prix with other people. This, I think, might be very helpful given the Sky deal, as I’ll be doing it a lot more next season.


Up next is the housewives’ choice Jimmy von Weeks;

Symmetry is good, don’t you think? I like it when the universe draws circles. For that reason two races have really caught my imagination this year: the Hungarian Grand Prix, which saw Jenson Button take victory on his 200th start and at the same venue he’d claimed his maiden win; and the British event, where Fernando Alonso won almost 60 years to the day after Florian Gonzalez won the Scuderia’s maiden race at the same track.

Which am I picking of the two? Alonso’s. I make no apologies for my obvious pro-Fernando stance. That’s just the way God made me.

Pre-race the Spaniard took the car Gonzalez had won aboard – the giant-cigar-on-wheels that is the Ferrari 375 – for a few demo laps of Silverstone. At that stage I had the very romantic but highly improbable thought that Alonso might just go and thIS race. The guy has done so much to endear himself to Ferrari, why not make them love him a little more by marking this anniversary with a win? It just didn’t seem likely with a pair of glued-to-the-track Red Bulls sharing the front row.

But after 90 largely entertaining minutes (okay, it wasn’t a Canada-esque classic) Alonso had done just that, scoring a terrific win to euqal Jackie Stewart’s career total of 27. Though he benefited from a Red Bull pit error the pace was there in buckets as he pulled out to win by over 16 seconds. Brilliant stuff.

Meanwhile there was the return to the Red Bull team orders saga as Mark Webber was instructed not to fight Sebastian Vettel in the closing laps; off-throttle diffuser controversy threatened bring down civilisation as we know it, then went away; a final corner brawl between Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa that brought the British fans to their feet; and a career-best seventh place for Sergio Perez, which is just nice. Overall a top race – and one it’s nice to be able to say “I was there” about.


And finally, it’s my go;

Usually I don’t look forward to Monaco – it’s a bit to glitzy for me and ultimately it’s a procession – but this year was completely different.

There was a great battle at the front between Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, that was all dictated by who had the freshest tyres. Vettel had the worst and was being caught rapidly, Alonso had more grip, but he was being caught by Button, who had the grippiest rubber. Lap-by-lap the times came down between the three, until it was only a handful of laps left – who would strike first? Then Petrov went all 2010 on us and crashed. The less said about that the better.

Further down the field, you had Lewis Hamilton with the blinkers on, hitting pretty much anything that resisted. Pastor Maldonado was robbed of a clutch of points thanks to the Brit, who channeled his inner Ali G in a post race interview. It was all contentious stuff, which added to the racing spectacle.

The most important thing was to see that safety is still paramount in F1 – Sergio Perez suffered only a few ill effects from what could’ve been something much more tragic in qualifying.