The Scrutineering Bay is Badger’s way of taking a hot topic of Grand Prix racing and getting people from the Sett involved to put their opinions across. From predicting races, arguing stewards decisions to just deciding who was/is/will be the best, anything is fair game!

With most of the country’s newpapers heralding Sunday’s race, we at the Sett thought it would be proper for us to cast our eye over the race and beg the question:

“Was China the most entertaining dry race of the modern era?”

This week’s participants in the Scrutineering Bay are myself, Craig Normansell, Jimmy Von Weeks and kicking us all off, Adam Millenueve:

A better dry race since 2000? Nope, I’m at a loss – there have been some crackers in Brazil and Japan, but rain has often been a factor, so as dry races go, over the last 11 season, China 2011 has to be the best. It had everything that F1 is about: Webber’s surge through the field, impressive overtakes – Hamilton’s move on Button being the highlight – and then there was the start of the race: right from when the lights went out it was non-stop classic F1 racing – brilliant.

The new toys worked well and Pirelli tyres really did live up to the hype – China 2011 had it all and if Sunday’s grand prix is an indication of what’s to come over the next 16 races, we’re in for a treat and Badger’s moto “Formula 1 isn’t boring…” has never been more apt. Go F1!

Adam hits the nail on the head quite aptly there. It was a classic and, fingers crossed, the sport can build on this by gaining new fans from across the globe!

Next to have a crack is Jimmy:

In terms of on-track excitement yes, I’d have to say that China 2011 was the most exciting race we’ve seen since the turn of the century. And, aside from the glut of overtaking, that was because of mystery – after all, we all love a bit of mystery, don’t we?

A key ingredient to a truly exciting race is the viewer not knowing who the eventual winner will be throughout the event, and that was certainly the case on Sunday. First Button led – could he hold on at the front? Err, no, he tried to park in the wrong garage (yet another source of entertainment). Then Nico Rosberg took up his place at the summit, something no one had expected to see, before Vettel assumed P1. Surely now that the all-conquering Red Bull was leading the race was done.

But no, Lewis’ charge to victory completed this brilliantly memorable race – magic! Add to that Mark Webber’s stunning progress through the field and you have a race that wasn’t in any way certain until the chequered flag dropped.

The best alternative I can offer is the Japanese Grand Prix of 2005, which, as luck would have it, is the only race I have missed in the last 15 years. Kimi’s charge from 17th on the grid to pass Fisichella on the final lap of the race was, I’m told, a special sight to behold live. Ah well.

Another tick in the positive column for China 2011 being a classic from Jimmy there. He also raises the point that all races from now until Brazil could be exactly the same as it has reintroduced something F1 has been missing for years – unpredictability.

Last to go once more is me:

I’m going out on a limb here – China was the most exciting dry race I’ve probably ever seen.

It pretty much had everything. Overtaking from the moment the screen read “DRS enabled” (thanks to Kobayashi), the leading pack keeping together, a surprise leader, a comeback from the back of the field and several laps of the top six cars battling for position resulting in a lead change right at the very end. It even had a healthy dollop of farce. Thanks, Jenson.

Is it a dawn of a new era? Probably – the DRS and KERS still have some kinks that need ironing out. The DRS system can be overcome by merely letting the car behind you pass before the activation line, then breeze right past in the zone. And the KERS isn’t powerful enough. Remove the limiter and let the teams run their own power output.

But I digress. I can’t remember a dry race weekend, let alone a Sunday, that has held so much entertainment. Especially considering it was round three. Never has an early round gripped my attention so. Imagine when we get to Brazil and it’s a title decider. That, my friends, is where the true excitement will lie.

Unbelievably, I think we have another first for F1. All participants have reached the same conclusion – China was a classic! But of course Sunday’s race was helped no end by the new “artificial” additions to Grand Prix racing for 2011. Could that diminish what we saw on track? Perhaps that’s a topic for another Scrutineering Bay

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