How will you remember F1 2008?

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Sebastian Vettel's stunning win at Monza was a high point of 2008

How will you remember the 2008 F1 season? A close battle for the title that built to a glorious crescendo? Or a comedy of errors between two racers seemingly desperate to throw the championship away?

Here are six memories of the 2008 championship that stand out in my mind – share yours below.

Adrian Sutil at Monaco

This turned out to be Force India’s best chance all year to score points. Adrian Sutil mastered the conditions and seldom put a wheel wrong. From 18th on the grid he was running fourth – five points! – with ten laps to go.

Then he was rammed from behind by a rival who’d lost control of his car. Not any rival – the world champion Kimi Raikkonen, in his world championship-winning Ferrari. It was just one of several I-can’t-believe-what-I’m-seeing moments in 2008.

Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone

Yes, the McLaren was stronger in the wet than the Ferrari. Yes, Hamilton too had an off-track moment as rain lashed the Silverstone circuit. But the manner of Hamilton’s victory was utterly emphatic: an absolute rout.

Nick Heidfeld was 68 seconds behind him at the flat, Rubens Barrichello 14s further back, and no-one else was on the same lap. No wonder F1 Fanatic readers voted Hamilton the best wet weather F1 driver a few months later.

Felipe Massa at Hungary

Felipe Massa’s getaway at the Hungaroring must be a contender for start of the year. From third to first in one sweet move, Hamilton was clearly still smarting from it afterwards when he vowed not to let himself be overtaken so easily again. Massa should have capped the fine move with a win, but his engine gave up too soon.

Farce at Spa

One of those woeful times where F1 seemed hell-bent on doing as much damage to itself as possible. There were any number of reasons why stripping Hamilton of his hard-earned Belgian Grand Prix win was the wrong call: compounding it by refusing to let him appeal against the decision was madness. This was the day the FIA brought its own sport into disrepute.

Sebastian Vettel at Monza

Any number of drivers could have won this race. But Toro Rosso nailed the strategy for the wet conditions and Vettel reeled off a win that looked like his fifteenth, never mind his first. Certainly not the last.

And another thing: rain at Monza? What was that about?

The perfect finale

If Spa showed F1 at its worst, Interlagos showed off everything that’s right about the sport. A worthy setting, a feverish atmosphere, and a finale that couldn’t have been scripted better. Brazil ’08 is up there with Mexico ’90, Europe ’93, Belgium ’00 and Japan ’05 as one of the most exceptional motor races I’ve ever seen.

What are your memories of the 2008 F1 season?

Contribute to the F1 Fanatic 2008 F1 season review: Nominate your best and worst moments of the year, share your thoughts on the drivers and pick your favourite quotes of the year in the F1 Fanatic Forum

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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55 comments on “How will you remember F1 2008?”

  1. The Finale, no doubt.

    However, I will also remember the amount of mistakes that Hamilton and Massa, Ferrari and McLaren made on their way to their respective championships.

  2. speaking both as a singaporean and a mclaren fan, i’ve got to say that ferrari’s pit stop blunder at the inaugural singapore gp was for me one of the most memorable things season. the sight of the ferrari mechanics running down the pitlane…

  3. this season remember me the ’80s affairs in some events

    Nico Rosberg drive fine in streets circuits (Melbourne,Monaco and Singapore) like Keke in the ’80s.

    Montreal asphalt destruction remember Dallas ’84 and Spa ’85

  4. The finale defnitely…

  5. many things, for one, the riddance of TC made the spectacle far more exciting!
    imagine the end at spa with tc………
    Kimi would have finished! in stead he made an error and paid the price! the way it should be!
    watching the onboards says it all really!
    i do fear it will one day rear it’s ugly “road relevant” head!

  6. Have to be Silverstone and impressive Hamilton’s charge in the rain for me. Unforgettable if only for the fact I got absolutely soaked being there on the day!

  7. I’m trying not to remember bad things as this is poisonous for the soul, hence no Spa, no Japan memories ;-)
    So here’s my positives list:

    1. The finale
    2. Kubica’s performance
    3. Vettel’s performance
    4. Alonso’s push and Renault’s revamp
    5. a McLaren title, at last! :-)

  8. @ ukk

    5. a McLaren title, at last!

    Although I’m no fan of “the empire”, it’s sure been a long time coming.

  9. a year when the kings lost the plot…

  10. Other abiding memories of the season include F1’s first night race at Singapore and Ferrari (the team and the drivers) leaving their brain’s back at home for half the season, notably Australia and Singapore.

  11. To be honest, in Monaco, Kimi did well to keep it on the road. Coulthard went off into a wall on the Saturday in an almost identical accident.

    It was a shame for Force India though.

  12. Although the finale was an incredible advert for the chaos that is F1, it also higlighted what a state the sport could have been in had Lewis not passed Glock. The decisons at spa and fuji (Bourdais)came desperately close to deciding the title. Remarkably had Hamilton finished 6th the victory given to Massa at Spa would have made him champion on countback (6 wins to 5). Impartiality must return next year.

  13. I would remember this season as being one of the most error-strewn seasons. Ferrari’s and McLaren’s hold over F1 has clearly loosened as demonstrated by victories by BMW, Renault and even STR-Ferrari. Next to 2003, this also happens to be the lowest points scoring seasons in the past decade. The FIA have acted typically. I’m sure you get me drift.. :P And, I have one addition to make to “The perfect finale”. It disappointed me a bit to see that you have not added Brazil ’06 to that list, seeing that it was Michael’s finest race and was probably the most exciting race all season. That’s all.. Rest is in order.. :D

  14. keepF1technical
    10th November 2008, 13:28

    for having proper racing again with some amazing, if regularly penalised, wheel to wheel action.

    What comes with this however are mistakes, but i remember the 80s as well which was strewn with errors and considered normal back then but there was some great action.

    In this regard DCs retirement year was spectacular! and who remembers the fly kingfisher of fisi.

  15. I think the right man won the WDC, probably the best team won the WCC…..
    I believe there were too many contravercial decisions but then again F1 is like this every year, its all part of the ‘fun’…..
    I only hope next year the stewards decisions are speeded up but im looking forward to no ads, new regs and 1 new commentator…..

  16. schumi the greatest
    10th November 2008, 13:48

    the continued rise of vettel
    superb performance by alonso even before the renault came good
    great 1st half of the season by kubica
    stunnding drives by hamilton at monaco,silverstone,hockenheim and china
    absolute crap performances by kovi
    ludicrous fia decisions

  17. Gotta say Vettel winning his first race was something special, sort of a sideshow to the heated championship battle a week after the Spa controversy – Vettel really showed us that he’s one to watch out for in the future.

  18. It has to be the return of Alonso for me. Taking his Renault that was struggling to stay in the midfield at the start of the year to being one of the best and fastest cars on the grid was superb – his abilities showing that he should never be written off.

    Alonso’s Singapore and Japan wins deserve credit. He’s clearly the best out there.

    Alonso for 2009 world champion? I think it’s possible.

  19. If Spa showed F1 at its best, Interlagos showed off everything that’s right about the sport.

    I think you mean Spa showed F1 at its worst! Great Article Kieth, Im just getting ready to dig out the old season reviews for the winter.

    My highlight would have to be singapore, I thought the spectacle of the whole event was brilliant…and we got an exciting race out of it!

  20. Alonso, Alonso, Alonso. He’s proven he’s the best out there, and I think after this year, he’s become even better.

  21. The last 10 laps of Brazilian GP. I have a video of those; and have already watched it like 100 times

  22. As a kimi fan, it’s spa where he totally domiated the first laps showing the two “contenders” how to drive. Unfortunately, Hamilton cut the chicane at the end. True he give the position back but not the advantage. Hamilton’s ******** driving continued in Monza & Fuji as well.

    The best highlights were Vettel’s great drives at Monza especially…

  23. 2008 has so many things to remember and i guess one of the best season i had watching f1 races on tv. the very last race in brazil.. and i guess one of the best.. while ferrari pit garage(particularly felipe’s father)were jubilating after vettel has crossed the finish line ahead of hamilton, then all of a sudden the monitors flashed and confirmation of the standings.. lewis in 5th position!(thanks to timo glock for staying on dry tyres!) another is alonso. if he has a good car he could be in contention this year. but my favourite moment would be that of sebastian vettel in monza.. one afternoon of heavy downpour! i guess that’s talent if you would call it.
    and let’s go back down memory lane.. anybody of you remember 10 yrs ago in spa. the incident in starting lap of belgian gp ’98. that 16 car mishap! i guess that’s one incident you can’t forget.. and i guess the most expensive car accident in the world, so far.. errr!

  24. I will remember it with bitter sweetness.

    It was the year the FIA showed its unequivocal bias for a particularly red team.

    It was the year McLaren had to struggle to beat everyone including the governing body.

    It was the year of several classic wet races all shown at there very best.

    It was the year a rookie called Vettel had an incredible race leading from the front in the wet to win in a ‘b’ car.

    It was the year several other drivers and teams pulled out some remarkable drives results.

    It was the year I began to take sides with certain teams and drivers rather than just favour all the teams and drivers, and follow some more than others.

    And it was the year a certain Lewis Hamilton won against many odds (many more than he or the public would have wanted).

    Yes, it was the year of Lewis Hamilton…

  25. I’ll remember it as a season of fantastic races which really made me fall in love with f1 again. There were some awful stewards decisions, but Lewis won despiite it, and without them, we never would of had that increbible final lap!

    I also think it has to be remembered for Massa’s fantastic rise from no.2 to being a championship contender, great to watch.

  26. I want to say that other than the “political” and “stewards”, it was agreat year in F1. First time winners and a close battle to the end. I would say they rank this way.
    1.Lewis wins in the final lap.
    2.Vettel’s win (comeone no one saw that comming)
    3.Kubica’s win
    4.Alanso’s two wins (and I dont like the guy)
    5.Seeing Coulthard and Barrichello make it on the poduim.
    My 2 cents, looking forward to next year.

  27. Ben – Fixed, ta!

  28. Felipe KO his team mate…

  29. I will remember:
    -Vettel’s rise
    -Kubica’s fine performance
    -Heidfeld keeping it on the road without missing a race
    -Massa’s performance(and blunders)
    -Hamilton’s performance(and blunders)
    -Kimi loosing the plot
    -but most of all I will remember how good F1 is without Schumacher and Ferrari team orders dominating the season,as we have seen,there are PLENTY of guys on the track that can race….let’s watch them ALL go for the wins.

  30. I’ll remember Felipe Massa throwing away his races at Australia and Malasya only to bounce back beatufilly in Bahrein & Turkey.

    I’ll remember Lewis Hamilton doing his part to wreck his championship in Canada and France and then bounce back amazingly in Silverstone and Hockenheim.

    And I will remember, perhaps for the rest of my life, that season ending Brazilian GP. Next year, as I watch the last GP in Abhu Dahbi, I’ll remember with fondness the amazing race that took place back in November, 2008.

  31. 1. Vettel’s win in Monza
    2. Lewis’s performance in Silverstone
    3. Kimi’s successive crashes in Spa and Singapore
    4. Felipe’s pit-lane fiasco in Singapore, and of course,
    5. the last-lap drama in Brazil

  32. Hi all.
    For me there are so many so ive listed some that have been said and also some others that have not.

    -Brazil 08… Unbelieveable
    -Spa. So close to being unbelievable. We all know why.
    -Vettel, not just Monza but at most of the GPs
    -Some shocking stewards decisions that honestly came so close to ruining the whole season
    -Lewis in the wet at Silvi and Monaco
    -Massa being so unlucky at Hungary and Singapore
    -Lots of people whinging about Lewis’s driving (yawn!)
    -the end of Super aguri… And DC
    -Alonso’s still got it
    -F1 trying to go “green” then holding its first night race with like a billion lights!
    -Learning about Max’s favourite past-times…. Each to their own Max eh?
    -Ferrari’s brilliant traffic light system
    -Mclaren driver WDC

    Above all though ive really loved watching races like spa and brasil and seeing the reaction of people on the F1fanatic blog. My jaw has hit the floor so many times this season and you can really tell that the same thing is happening to people all over the world.
    Great stuff guys

  33. Obviously it has to be the last corner of the last lap of the last race. But also Vettel’s win at Monza was extraordinary, and heralded in a new era of Hamilon, Kubica, Vettel and maybe Alonso fighting for championships in the future.

    Also going from the sublime (e.g Hamilton’s crushing victory at Silverstone, Hamilton and Kimi fighting tooth and nail in the final 3 laps of the Belgium GP, STR’s resugence) to the ridiculous (e.g Hamilton crashing into Kimi in the pitlane, Massa’s mistakes in Australia and Malaysia) to the hearbreak (e.g Kimi slamming into Sutil at Monaco, Massa’s engine giving up in Hungary, and Massa’s reaction in Brazil) its been one of the best season I’ve seen in the 10 years I’ve been following. For me, its up there with ’99 and ’03 in terms of drama and excitement. I’ve never screamed at the TV more than when watching Spa, Monza and Interlagos ever! Even appalling stewards decisions couldn’t ruin this championship, although they tried they damn hardest too. But another way of looking at it is that the stewards spiced things up, by giving us many talking points.

  34. Seeing a new British Champion has been nice.

    For me though, Vettel has been my highlight of the season.

    His performances on and off the track this season have impressed me a lot.
    Obviously the win at Monza was brilliant but there’s been several times this season where he’s got a lot out of the car, often much more than Bourdais has managed.

    The other thing I’ve liked about this season is the number of good drivers there is with competitive cars.
    Some other teams are finally able to compete rather than just fighting for 4th place behind Ferrari & McLaren & it’s brought out some good performances from the likes of Alonso, Kubica & Vettel.

    I’m trying to forget about the FIA & stewards.

  35. Hamilton Against All!!!

  36. and NETresult, a big HELLO to you guys!

  37. 2008 has been a season with slightly more good races than bad races, and a few classics. Par for the course, really. Maybe just a little bit more than you can ask for. I definitely agree about the Championship. What a bad one. Worst since 2004, but at least then you could appreciate Schumacher’s most dominant campaign (And Ferrari’s).

    2007, from a pure outside and competitive stance, was a masterpiece. This one has been littered with mistakes and penalties. Contested by two drivers who have no idea how to win championships; one that acts like 2007 and 2003 never happened to him; one that is given no opportunity to race in a top car and when he does, he rarely does anything with it; one that has finely shone over his hype and put in a Championship-worthy campaign without the top two car ride; and a Champion who has come to life one race past halfway with his old team.

    Meh? I think so. 2009 can hopefully be better.

  38. Ah so many incidents and great races. We really have been spoiled this season for great on track action (although the off track action left a lot to be desired).

    1. Melbourne – great race, full of action
    2. Monaco – great race drive by Lewis, not so great effort from Kimi
    3. Montreal – although I do like Lewis, that incident was just an absolute crack up
    4. Alonso winning in Singapore
    5. Massa’s pitstop in Singapore & the walk of shame by his pall bearers/mechanics
    6. Alonso winning again
    7. Last lap Brazil

    What a season! And I think it’s only going to be better next year.

  39. The last lap of the last race kinda sticks in my mind for some reason… However, I still feel cheated for the debacle at Spa..

  40. I’ll also remember 2008 for Hamilton @ Montreal, Canada. It was just another one of several I-can’t-believe-what-I’m-seeing moments in 2008. You shouldn’t have missed it Keith!

  41. The year it transpired that F1 was to drown in a sea of debt set up by CVC. They overpaid for the F1 asset in order to facilitate a dirty great load of junk debt and enrich themselves. They set their debt servicing levels at the max under low interest rates during height of the boom and have no buffer for themselves, the event organisers, or the needs of the teams during the coming recession … so F1 is doomed. Cutting team costs doesn’t cut the debt, only a workout or a liquidation will do that.

    FOTA should get ahead of the curve, once CVC is liquidated perhaps they can buy back the F1 banner.

  42. Hi all,
    I will remember the 2008 F1 Season for.

    1. Lewis Hamilton’s memorable victory at Inter Lagos.
    2. Robert Kubica’s super run during the season.
    3. Sabestian Vettel as emerging star Any team would like to hire him GREAT SHOW.
    4. FIA wake up !!!! the call on Hamilton was not fare.
    7. Bad luck for Ferarri as they lost Dirver’c champiosnhip by just 1 point PITY !!!

  43. I’ll remember Vettel (not only his win) and Kubica good drive, Massa and Hamilton incidents in the pit lane, the spectacular progress of Alonso and Renault during the season, and also the saddest podium I’ve ever seen, in Brazil…

  44. I. Vettel at Monza
    II. Finale
    III. Kubica

    2009 will be the best year of F1 for a very long time,at least in my imho.

  45. For me the highlight of the season, indeed of any F1 in recent times, was the battle between Hamilton and Raikkonen at Spa: breathtaking, exhilirating, half of it off track (by both drivers!) and ending with Hamilton desperately holding onto the lead at the finish and Raikkonen piling it into a wall. Wow. Who cares what the stewards thought.

    Also memorable: Hamilton at Silverstone, the most ridiculously dominant perfomance of the season, followed by Hamilton and Vettel at Monza. The Felipe’n’Ferrari pit hose comedy at Singapore. The excrutiating dullness of Valencia. Alonso and his garage magic. And a really horribly nerve-wrangling finale at Interlagos.

    And this site! :0)

  46. the opening race.

    never thought before that this whole season looked like the 1st race of the season: pure chaos with the same winner

  47. First
    Being at Brazil was terrific…. the Brazilians are amazing….

    I shall always remember the cushions flying onto the track and being almost hugged to death whilst trying to explain with the help of my Kangaroo that all was not as it seemed… that was followed by a general deflation in the atmosphere and the skies really opening in sympathy for Felipe….

    Weird that Lewis should be champ after running such a totally anonymous race… but as everyone would have gone on about how penalties had robbed him it was probably the right result….

    And all the time wishing I’d been there the previous year….

    The high of Barcelona where the weather and result were perfect… for me at least… and I didn’t dream that it would never get better the whole season…

    Being in Singapore…. totally electric… in every sense….

    There are some other more personal memories but those ones were key for me….

  48. Snowcat – you were at Brazil? That’s really cool. I can’t imagine what the atmosphere in the crowd must’ve been like. Do tell more! (Also if you could drop a note here sometime that would be cool: Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, Interlagos, Sao Paulo – spectators’ experiences)

  49. My memories? That in all walks of life, racism rears its ugly head and there are still too many people who get very ugly when they see a black man doing well in a white dominated arena.

    Also, that Lewis Hamilton is the most deserving F1 world champion ever, after having to put up with spoilt brat antics of his teammate last year which probably cost him an historic title, to enduring unjust penalties this year, as well as incredible abuse from F1 “fans” and jealousy and sniping from vile fellow drivers.

  50. I will remember this season as a proof to my prediction on vettel, as the WORST ever F1 championship winner, as the championship battle with the most unexpected of drivers (Massa), and to prove to everyone how capable alonso is to drive a bad car and help guide his testing team in making a great end of season car. Welldone Renault!!! (cant believe they signed piquet 4 another year, he needs more expirience).

  51. Forgot to add the heart attack in Spa and in the last lap at interlagos. Kimster 4 eva!!!

  52. sorry for all those who might feel offende by my critisism of hamilton, but i just think the guy thinks that F1 is really easy, and that all the other drivers are rubbish or somthing. BUT yet you can say im Biased

  53. The things we will remember from this year are many things.
    Most are said in this topic, but I like to add one thing.
    I think Glock showed to us, that he’s a good driver and deserves his spot in F1.
    He needed some races to get into the groove, but in the second half of the season has done some great races with that toyota!

  54. 1. Finale – although the result wasn’t what I had hoped for
    2. Vettel’s first win and his driving throughout the season
    3. The unfortunate blinkered view of F1 by so many. The FIA do a job and no doubt have their flaws but let’s not forget they administer the rules for other driving codes, yet F1 is the one which seems to be always in the headlines with regards to how “unjust” the rulings are and how Lewis Hamilton and/or McLaren are being more heavily scrutinised etc etc etc. I will remember this season for the lesson it taught me that even in this day in age people still walk around with a huge racial chip on their shoulder. Some will have you believe that if you don’t like or support Lewis Hamilton then you’re either a racist or a spoilt brat! Especially as it’s supposed to be a white man’s world…..hang on isn’t that sort of statement racist in nature also? I couldn’t care less if Lewis was dropped into a bath full of purple resin and won the WDC, I just don’t like the man. Worst of all he drives a McLaren who I hate. I guess that makes me a “constructorist”?
    Anyway the 2009 season can’t come quick enough and I can’t wait to see how Felipe goes after coming so close to the WDC2008.

    PS: Good point about Glock, SoLID.

  55. I would remember this year by the final race in Brazil when Lewis Hamilton clinched the 2008 world championship title at the very last corner by 1 tenth of a second. It was not a fluke Glocks wheels were whorn down to the iner part of the wheel. Ok we have crap stueds who know jack all about F1 but they had no choice this time.

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