A weekend to savour

by Rob Widdows on 15th September 2008

What a weekend that was! You just didn’t know where to look next!

There was young Sebastian Vettel in the rain at Monza, proving what a lot of people have been saying for a long time, especially those who knew him at BMW. Why did they let him go? Then there was Rossi in the rain at Indianapolis proving yet again what everyone already knows. The man is extraordinary. Then there was Allan McNish at Silverstone, giving Audi an unexpected and remarkable victory and proving what most people already know – the Scot is a pure racer, a real charger.

What a weekend for those who love motor racing, whether on four wheels or two.

There’s just no substitute for exceptional talent and that was plain to see as Lewis Hamilton raced through the field at Monza and Sebastian Vettel stayed later on the brakes, and harder on the throttle, than many of his more experienced colleagues. Fantastic. And he seems to be such a nice, normal young lad, as my Mother would have said. Let’s hope it lasts, and let’s hope Red Bull give him a decent car next year. For me, Monza remains one of the last few places where motor racing really feels like it should – dripping with atmosphere and the track itself a real test of a driver, even with all those chicanes. Fernando Alonso in the Renault was outstanding too, and the prospects for next season are thrilling, provided that the truly talented few have a competitive car.

Valentino Rossi doesn’t seem to need the best motorcycle. Once he had his eye in, had a feel for the tarmac, he just rode through the wind and rain as if it was just another day out on the bike. Indianapolis is another place with atmosphere, with history and with that extra something. The Americans appreciate a good bike racer, even if they don’t get the point of F1 racing, and they saluted a stunning ride from a unique talent.

A great day’s racing completed by a fabulous victory for Audi at Silverstone. On Saturday there was a sense they might just do it, the qualifying times much closer than anticipated given Peugeot’s recent advantage. But Allan McNish never gives up and at Silverstone he was just at his absolute best, he and team-mate Dindo Capello proving that on their day they are simply unbeatable. Couldn’t have happened to two nicer blokes and, again, this bodes well for a great season next year with Peugeot determined to finally get properly on terms with Audi. That will not be easy, but then they already know that.

So, an heroic weekend for our sport, and still lots to ponder and look forward to. Starting with the Goodwood Revival at the end of this week!

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