Room on the podium for all

Watching Jenson Button, Nick Heidfeld and Timo Glock blinking in the floodlights at the rain-truncated Malaysian GP’s dusky podium ceremony simply reminded me of the distinctly unchoreographed ‘podia’ witnessed in the not too distant past. Back in the 1970s, for example, it was common for the successful drivers’ chuffed-to-bits mechanics to be right at the heart of the action and sharing in the glory. It wasn’t a case of dropping a magnum of champagne from on high to quench the mechanics’ thirst – oh no, the podium was often little more than a race control tower step, or a simple box.

The 1972 German Grand Prix was a notable one-two triumph for Ferrari. Jacky Ickx (above) led throughout to win in his 312B2, and on the last lap his team-mate Clay Regazzoni protected his second place by nerfing Jackie Stewart’s overtaking Tyrrell into the barriers. To say that Jackie was less than impressed is putting it mildly. He complained later that Regazzoni had been weaving in front of him, all the way down the straight. Rugged old Regga just winked and said, “I was trying to breaka da tow!” At least that had been a rain-free race. It fact the surface was such that Nick Heidfeld would describe it as being “dwy and gwippy”.