What was F1’s best race of the decade?

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Kimi Raikkonen started 17th and won at Suzuka in 2005
Kimi Raikkonen started 17th and won at Suzuka in 2005

While the first half of F1’s sixth decade will be remembered for the crushing dominance of Michael Schumacher, the second half was much less predictable.

I know I’m as guilty as anyone of complaining about the odd duff race too much when I should be talking up the great moments F1 gives us. So let’s celebrate those and ask what was the best race of the 2000s?

Here are my suggestions, please share yours below.

Update: The short list has been compiled: Vote for the best F1 race of the 2000s here

2000 Belgian Grand Prix

This was the battle of the twice-champions. Mika Hakkinen led to begin with but a mistake let Schumacher through. Then followed, for lap after lap, Hakkinen hounding Schumacher around every turn of Spa’s glorious 7km.

It nearly ended in disaster – a bid by Hakkinen to pass Schumacher on the run towards Les Combes was rebuffed when the Ferrari driver pushed his rival onto the grass at over 200mph.

Hakkinen finally squeezed through with a momentous piece of opportunism, seizing the inside line as the pair went either side of Ricardo Zonta’s lapped BAR.

2003 British Grand Prix

A confession: like the first race on my list, I was in the crowd at this one, so perhaps my judgement is a little coloured.

This was an astonishing race, however, brought to life by two safety car periods early on. First David Coulthard’s cockpit surround blew off and landed on the racing line. Then the notorious ‘lunatic priest’ arrived – Neil Horan sprint up Hanger straight, nearly being mown down by Mark Webber’s Jaguar, and eventually being wrestled to the ground by a marshal.

Once the madness had stopped the fun could begin. The field was now so disrupted both the Toyotas were leading, and it was left to Kimi R??ikk??nen to carve his way through and take the lead.

Further back Rubens Barrichello was also charging, and by lap 42 he was on Raikkonen’s tail. He got alongside at the chicane but the pair ran side-by-side through it, Bridge and into Priory before Barrichello finally wrested the lead away. Rare were the days when Barrichello got the better of Schumacher at Ferrari, but this was definitely one of them, and a stunning race to boot.

2005 Japanese Grand Prix

The championship had already been won by Fernando Alonso, but at Suzuka he and Raikkonen started back in the pack after rain during qualifying.

The pair ripped through the field. Alonso was briefly held up as the stewards got themselves in a muddle over whether he’d passed Christian Klien legally or not. Once that was sorted he caught and overtook Schumacher in a rude, round-the-outside pass at 130R.

The Klien delay had cost him any chance of catching catch up with Raikkonen – who soon had leader Giancarlo Fisichella in his sights. As they began the penultimate lap the Renault driver made Raikkonen go the long way around at turn one, but it wasn’t enough to prevent his rival snatching the win away on the last lap.

Read more: 2005 Japanese Grand Prix Review

2008 Brazilian Grand Prix

This was one that had you on the edge of your seat right from the word ‘go’. The start of the race was delayed as a rain showed blew in, and everyone tip-toed around the first laps.

Felipe Massa needed to win to stand any chance of taking the championship, and rarely looked like losing the lead on his home track. That meant Lewis Hamilton had to finish fifth to guarantee himself the title, and his unusually conservative approach made it very difficult.

Late in the race the rain returned and Hamilton, along with almost everyone else, scurried back into the pits for wet-weather tyres. Timo Glock hung on with his dry-weather tyres, moving up the order and leaving Hamilton a precarious fifth.

Disaster struck the McLaren driver on lap 70: Robert Kubica un-lapped himself and Vettel seized his opportunity to follow the BMW past Hamilton. It was all over – Hamilton could not respond.

But as the rain fell harder Glock’s tyre temperature plummeted and his was left crawling around the final lap. Vettel and Hamilton caught him at the last corner, the McLaren driver took fifth place back, enough to deny Massa the title by a single point.

Read more: 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton is champion in epic climax to final race

Your pick

These are just the first four races I came up with – but what were the other great races of the 2000s?

What about the 2000 title decider at Suzuka? Fisichella’s surprise win at Interlagos in 2003? Or Jenson Button scoring his maiden triumph at the Hungaroring in 2006?

Nominate your favourite races of the 2000s below, make your case and post videos, and we’ll vote on the best later this week.

Image (C) www.mclaren.com

Author information

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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160 comments on “What was F1’s best race of the decade?”

  1. for me its between between

    2003 – brazil
    2006 -Hungary
    2007 – Fuji

    1. Races are very rarely decided on the final corner, let alone championships. Brazil 2008 all the way, baby

    2. For me, the order is –

      2008 Brazil GP

      2000 Belgian GP

      2007 Fuji

    3. Belgian 2000 Great times great cars classy F1

  2. Belgian GP 2008- Ignore the fact that the middle of the race was quite processional, and pretend that the stewards had brains and didn’t take the win from Hamilton after the race…

    This race will go down as an absolute classic for me because of the final 3 or 4 laps. I’ve been watching F1 for about ten years and I’d say they were by far the most exciting few laps I’d ever seen. There was probably more entertainment there than in the entire 2009 season put together!

    1. But they did, rightly so.

      Great race indeed.

    2. in total agreement…..

    3. I remember being incredibly angry after Spa because it meant that the final few laps that I had been on the edge of my seat for had effectively been cancelled. I felt cheated, not just because I like Lewis Hamilton, but because of the flagrant disregard for the fans. In what other sport could the officials decide, unilaterally and on a whim, to alter the result after it has finished?

      Luckily, the drivers were able to rise above that and deliver an end result even more exciting than Spa, although I still can’t help feeling a little sorry for Massa!

      1. mmmmm… I THINK BRAZIL 2007… you will agreed,of course old man? :-)

    4. Yep, me too, Spa 2008!

      1. It was the length of the duel between Raikonnen and Hamilton at the end, in treacherous conditions, people spinning off, the number of passes (H past K, K past H, H past K, K past H, H past K) Hamilton – supremely confident the race was his – cutting the chicane, Raikonnen – apparently ‘fuming’ at being passed – accelerating on the run-off to retake (under yellows) – all incredibly fast with no certainty any of it was legal (!), Raikonnen eventually crashing, Hamilton barely getting home before being caught. Sure the stewards screwed up the result, but for me just another reason why this race seemed and still seems unique.

  3. 2008 by a mile.

    1. That should be Brazil 2008 sorry.

      1. Brazil wasn’t a great race its just because the championship was decided late on, Brazil 2007 was much better by that measure.

  4. Hungary 2006
    Brazil 2008+9
    Japan 2005

  5. At the time I was disgusted with Suzuka 2005 because I was a big fan of Fisi, but it is probably the best race of the decade. A dry race with two great drivers carving through the field.

    Hungary 2006 is my personal favourite though – watching Alonso scythe through the field was brilliant. It’s a shame he had the problem with his wheel because it would have been even better with Button catching him. Also you’ve got Schu up to a couple more of his dirty tricks near the end of the race, De La Rosa and Heidfeld on the podium, and James Allen’s hysterical commentary when JB won.

    1. Don’t forget Kimi’s run from pole coming to a bizarre end when he drove into Liuzzi for apparently no reason whatsoever….

      1. Of course! And there was also Kubica scoring points on debut, only to have his car found underweight.

        1. Even the practice sessions and qualifying were amazing! Alonso got a two second time penalty for brake testing Doornbos and ignoring yellow flags, then Schumi got the same for overtaking under red flags. This put them both right down the grid!

          Why can’t all Hungarian GP’s be even a fraction as exciting as in 2006?!

          1. Because it rarely rains in Hungary in the summer. Had the rain stayed away we’d probably have seen Kimi win, with Alonso, Schumi and Button all languishing in the lower points positions, and the race would have been entirely unmemorable.

  6. my four are:

    silverstone 2003 (rubens’ moment of glory)
    hungary 2006 (my fav)
    Spa 2008 (an absolute classic)
    Monza 2008 (how often does a backmarker car win a grand prix?)

    but, to be fair, interlagos has always given us amazing races.

    almost forgot, indianapolis 2005 :D

    1. Indianapolis 2005 :D Good one. Only 6 cars at start :D

    2. But the STR wasn’t then a backmarker car! If it were, how on earth did the Bourdais (!) qualify it fourth! The real star of Monza 08 was Lewis Hamilton, who showed-off his superior wet weather driving by pulling off a great many passes, some of which were breathtaking, such as his move on Kubica.

      One further point, I think the fact that F1 fans can only name about 10 great races (and I think I’m being generous here both on the number and description of these races) in 10 full years of F1 shows how dull ‘our’ sport really is, shows the lack of on-track action. Compare this with 10 years of football or Tennis; i.e., to spectator sports that actually care about what the spectators think.

      1. On the second point I’ve just got to say that there are only between 16 and 19 F1 Races a year but there are countless thousands of Football and Tennis games.

        Not that I don’t agree that F1 needs to make it possible for Overtaking to happen/attempted (and I think this is more track based than car), but there is such a saturation of other sports that there is bound to be more standout events.

      2. That STR was a very good car at the end of the season, comparible to the renault. it was definatly not a back marker. as i remember lewis made his was up to second and was hustling vettel until he had to make an unscheduled stop for dry’s.

  7. I agree with all of the ones on Keith’s list, but I would definitely put Interlagos 2003 ahead of all of them. At no point could you say with confidence who was going to win, which cannot be said of the vast majority of GPs which are settled by half-distance or so.

    Nurburgring ’07 should be up there as well: Kimi missing the pit lane at the end of the first lap, Button binning it to be followed by several others into Turn One, Winkelhock leading on his debut! Then the epic fight between Massa and Alonso as the rain returned at the end of the race.

    1. My favourite thing about Brazil 2003 is that Minardi went into that race with the full intention to win it – Jos was heavier than Fisi and was ahead of him on the track before he spun off. We can only dream…

  8. Not to be picky, but there’s still a year to go in this decade, and the 2000 Belgian GP isn’t eligible.

    Otherwise, Brazil 2008 immediately comes to mind.

    1. Oh, in fact I found the 2007 Brazil GP even better.

    2. Technichally you’re right, but everyone considers the year 2000 to be the first year of the decade, even though it’s actually the last year of the previous decade

      1. Jelle van der Meer
        7th December 2009, 14:34

        Explain me why Lustigson is technically right??

        To my knowledge our calendar counting starting in year 0 which therefore is the 1st year.

        Same as with people age – there 1st year is from 0 days till 364 days – during that period that person is 0 years old.

        0-999 is first millenium
        1000-1999 is 2nd millenium

        So 2000 is the 1st year of the 3rd millenium, the 1st decade of the 3rd millenium runs from 2000 to 2009.

        1. Well, according to Wikipedia:

          Year zero is not used in the widely used Gregorian calendar, nor in its predecessor, the Julian calendar. Under those systems, the year 1 BC is followed by AD 1.

          …in which case the year 1000 was the final year of its millenium, as was the year 2000, and thus the year 2001 is actually the first year of both the millenium and the decade

          1. This argument reminds me of Douglas Adams “pedants” piece about the millenium.

            http://www.douglasadams.com/dna/pedants.html

        2. Still, the fact that the years start in the year 1 and not the year 0 is irrelevant, the decade runs from 2000 to 2009…
          I’ts like when you talk about the 60’s, you don’t start at 1961 and end at 1970.

          1. Jelle van der Meer
            7th December 2009, 15:19

            Thank you Luigismen!

            Also we are F1 fans – we just closed the 6th decade of official F1 – the 6th decade being from 2000 to 2009.

    3. Spot on Lustigson !

      Centuries and Decades and Years start with day 1 of year 1. The 21st Century started at 1 minute past midnight on the morning of the 1st January 2001. The year 2000 was the Last year of the 20th century. The first year of 21st century was 2001. The last year of the first decade of the 21st century will end at midnight on december 31st 2010.

      End of boring but accurate lecture !

    4. Yes I’ve fudged the definition of ‘decade’ a little – can we just accept this is a ten-year period which fits in nicely with the F1 world championship starting in 1950 and leave it at that?

  9. I would add Nurburgring 2007. Madness

    1. Mike "the bike" Schumacher
      7th December 2009, 23:21

      I was there, brilliant race, Winklehook leading his only race!!
      But the best has to be brazil 03 although I may biased being a Jordan fan.
      Schumachers last race in brazil 06 was fantastic too.

  10. I’m sure I’m not not the only the person who likes a race with a few good crashes- as long as nobody gets hurt, obviously.

    Brazil 03 was a crashing classic- there was Ralph Firman having a suspension and taking Panis out, half the field spinning off at Turn 3, Mark Webber destroying his car on the curve back to the pits, and finally Alonso crashing into a stray wheel and going into the wall.

    (technichally Alonso got hurt, but I don’t have too much symapthy for him because he completely ignored the yellow flags. You’d think perhaps he’d have learnt his lesson by Suzuka this season…)

    1. Yeah I like a few good crashes too. Kubica Montreal 07 and Jaime’s at Suzuka this year were the ones of the decade which immediately spring to mind.

      1. I liked the crash at the start of the Australian GP in 2002, when Ralf flew over Rubens.. classic

    2. Crashwise, Spa 1998 has to be the “best” race. Coulthards accident triggered a pile up that involved a dozen cars.

      Then later in the same race in heavy rain, Coulthard let Schumacher pass when Schumacher didn’t expect it. Schumacher ended up in the back of Coulthard and both cars retired.

      1. Can’t forget Schumi wanting to bash DC for that!!!

  11. I will have to wait until some other people post their suggestions to refresh my memory until I make my final choice, as there are no doubt quite are few exciting races I can’t remember at the moment.

    Because the title was at stake Brazil 2008 was probably the most exciting emotional rollercoaster for me personally, but if it was judged on the race itself ignoring the Championship I don’t think I would rank it as the best of the decade.

    There were some races which included great drives such as Hamilton at Silverstone 2008, but because one driver utterly dominated the Grand Prix I probably wouldn’t class those types of races as the best of the decade either.

    The end of the 2008 Belgian Grand Prix was a classic but the rest of the race wasn’t that great and for me the race was ruined by the stewards.

    At the moment I would probably choose Japan 2005 because Raikkonen came through the field to take the lead on the last lap.

    The fact I have mentioned three races from 2008 will have more to do with it being only last year and so still fresh in the memory.

  12. For me Monza 2004 was the greatest. Great comeback from both of the Ferraris.

    1. Not too bad by Monza standards, but Button should have had it sewn up. He fell asleep too early and suddenly realised the Ferraris were going to get past him, by which time it was too late.

  13. My picks would probably be Belgium 2000 (a great battle between great champions culminating in Mika’s absurdly good move on M Schumacher) and Brazil 2008 (for the sheer drama and unpredictability of the race).

  14. One more to add – 2000 German Grand Prix – Rubens climbing from 18th to take his maiden GP win

    1. I second to that. Changeable and very tricky conditions with RB winning the race on that layout of the Hockenheimring we won’t see again anymore thanks to Hermann Tilke, classic race!

      I would say Sepang 2001 was another interesting race, both Ferrari cars dominated and again in changeable conditions.

      None that I could recall of any interesting races in recent years though.

  15. Well done to Richard Phillips and Damon Hill for cealing a 17 year deal for Silverstone to stage the British GP.

  16. I think Spa 2000 was the very best: two great champions in direct fight for the title. On the best track.
    Great overtaking, great duel.

  17. One cannot tip Belgian 2000 only for the Hakkinen-Zonta-Shuey battle. It was a single event, the race overall was quite boring to me. I think one of the best races of the last decade has been Nurburgring 2007: Winkelhock first, many mistakes at the first corner, Lewis picked up by the marshals, Alonso vs Felipe battle on track and after. For those of you who did’t remember what happened: http://www.grandchelem.it/?p=655

  18. 2008 Silverstone, and 2008 Brazil. Lewis was supreme in the first one, and became a champion against the odds of the whole year in the second.

    1. Against the odds? Needing to finish 5th? How does that work?

      I do agree that Brazil 2008 was probably the best race of the decade, but for different reasons. I know you’re a LH fan boy (I’m not) but the race was astonishing despite any driver preference. I was cheering for Massa, and he lost the title by a point, but the feeling I had after the podium celebrations was just one of amazement at how unbelievably exciting F1 can be.

      1. I mean winning the championship despite the stupid penalties, the driver jealousies and vocal promises to help Massa, and the racism endured, he won against the odds, despite all that, in spectacular style.

        1. the only group of people against Massa was Hamilton and McLaren, Massa didnt really have the same force standing in his way, well not as much as hamilton anyway

  19. Brazil 2008 and 2003
    Britain 2003
    Japan 2005
    Italy 2008
    Hungary 2006

  20. 1/ Hungary 2006
    2/ Nurburgring 2007
    3/ Suzuka 2005

    Maximinus (formerly Romain from Grenoble)

  21. Two that I feel you should have gone for are 2000 German Grand Prix which was packed with action – and an emotional first win for Rubens Barrichello.

    And the 2001 Brazilian Grand Prix where Juan Pablo Montoya, Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard all starred.

  22. Suzuka ’05 is the obvious one – Raikkonen and Alonso coming through the field making some incredible passes. It was a symbol of the end of the Schumacher era and the start of a new one.

    Imola the same year was also an edge of the seat job – Schumacher coming back through the field after a poor qualifying but being held off by Alonso, who did just enough to clinch the win.

    Suzuka was aagain memorable in 2000, but not for the on track action. Schumacher and Hakkinen both racing utterly flat out for the entire race, neither giving a quarter. There was no passing but the tension was palpable and Schumacher wrapped up Ferrari’s first drivers’ title for 21 years.

  23. USGP 2003

    1. I thought I was the only one who loved that race! Schumacher charging back up through the field in the rain… great memories from when I was younger!

  24. Brazil 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2009

  25. Evne though the last 30 seconds were heartbreaking the 2008 Brazilain Grand Prix was probably the greatest of all time. People say that it was only because of the title finale, but so what? It was inseperable from the event and it was not only the greatest F1 race of all time, but one of the greatest events in sporting history. Its for days like that one in Brazil that we watch sport.

    1. i can think of a more dramiatic finish to a season ever! in f1 and even in other sports,

      im sorry guys but i think we are going to have to wait a very long time until we see somthing like that again. it was truly something else!

      so brazil 2008, just for the drama, and the exitement was over the top

  26. Brazil 2006 – Schumacher’s fightback in this race was immense. Finished his career on a high note and never gave up.

    Brazil 2007 – Pretty good race, and a happy one for me as Kimi won the title despite having all the odds stacked against him!

    Monaco 2008 – Brilliant drive from Hamilton, has to be said. Wet Monaco races are always the most thrilling, and it’s great we got one this year!

    Italy 2008 – Vettel delievered when everyone expected he wouldnt. Brilliant and dominating drive start to finish and was not even phased by the Mclaren behind him.

    Brazil 2008 – As a Ferrari fan, this was a tough end to the season. Felipe wouldn’t have been a deserving champ in my opinion. Still, epic race all in all.

    Brazil 2009 – Race really was brilliant. Flawless drive by Button.

    Just to name a few off the top of my head! We’ve been treated with quite a lot of decent races this decade!

  27. The two that have clearly remained in my memory are Suzuka 2005 and (one of the great individual drives) Barrichello’s fantastic first win at Hockenheim – starting from the back, and topping it by staying out on slicks to win it in the wet. Beautiful.

  28. Just give my support here for Germany 2000 and Brazil 2007. Barrichello’s drive was incredible in heavy rain and on sliks. Kimi winning when it looked like it was impossible.

    1. brazil 2007, was a boring race, compared to 2008. the only action happened with hamilton, otherwise it was a precession

      1. Brazil 2007 was rigged ;)

        1. i wouldnt be suprised

  29. For me THE absolute classic would have been SPA 2008 hadn’t it been ruined afterwards.
    As for Interlagos 2008, I would have enjoyed it a little more if I hadn’t witnessed Brazil 2007. The ghost of that enormous run of bad luck for Lewis (and bad moves from him and the team, too) made me think the same thing the Spanish commentators said in their live broadcast: “la maldición de Hamilton” (“Hamilton’s curse”). I was leaving the room, unable to endure it, but my wife said “don’t lose your faith”. I was beginning to explain that only one remaining lap was really too few time left for a miracle to happen, and then I saw that wonderful image of the slowing Toyota being surpassed by Kubica… Vettel… and…Ham! As I started to scream, my wife gave me one condescending look, and went away with a smile in her face.
    (I have to say to their credit that Argentinian TV commentators, as much as they hate Hamilton and love Ferrari and Alonso, realized at once that Felipe had lost it).

    1. Loved that!

    2. BBC’s rerun of Brazil 08 had of course everyones fave radio commentator talking, and of course he didn’t realise Ham had passed Glock until way after the finishing line. At least with the ITV commentary team Brundle who realised first ‘is that Glock’ and Allen ‘IT IS’ provided the hairs-on-end scenario that 5-Live listeners and other commentary teams missed.

  30. My memory is pretty lousy, however, i can’t imagine Brazil 2008 & Belgium 2008 could really be topped.

  31. Spa 2008

    Changing weather conditions and a great ending of the race, dispite of the penalties afterwards.

  32. Off the top of my head, these are the best races from each season of the decade. Feel free to correct me if I’ve missed anything or you disagree:

    o 2000- German GP
    o 2001- Brazilian GP
    o 2002- Monaco GP
    o 2003- British GP
    o 2004- Belgian GP
    o 2005- Japanese GP
    o 2006- Hungarian GP
    o 2007- Japanese GP
    o 2008- Monaco GP
    o 2009- Malaysian GP

    Interesting that 6 of those races were wet, and another 2 came after wet qualifying shook up the grid.

    My conclusions= introduce sprinkler systems into F1!

    1. 2003 I’d put Interlagos first, for reasons previously mentioned. Fuji ’07 has to be marked down for its farcical start (19 unnecessary laps under the safety car, when the race should simply have been delayed), so I would put the Nurburgring race there. And this year I’d say Brazil delivered the best race (again). Other than that your list is pretty good.

      1. I completely forgot Nurburgring 07, that was easily the best race that season for me. Fuji was still a great race though

        1. Yeah Fuji was great especially the end with Massa and Kubica also Webber being sick but battling on only to be taken out by young Seb. Nurburgring was crazier though so that is best.
          This year I agree with Ned for Malaysia. Brazil first lap was amd the rest of the race as pretty good but Malaysia was just pure bonkers.

  33. Malaysia 2001 (Ferrari 1-2 after a downpour)
    Britain 2003 (Barrichello’s driving)
    France 2004 (Schumacher-Brawn effort)
    Japan 2005 (Kimi’s and Alonso’s driving)
    China 2006 (Schumi’s drving)
    Imola 2006 (Schumi’s driving)
    Brazil 2006 (Schumi’s driving)
    Nurburgring 2007 (Alonso-Massa duel)
    Brazil 2007 (Kimi winning title by one point)
    Brazil 2008 (Both Massa and Hamilton)

    1. I agree with France 2004, just for pure strategic genius!

  34. Wow! A decade is a long time to pick just one so I’m just going to see what others think…

    1. Spa 2008 comes to mind as a goody, but sadly it was the race where Lewis was robbed of first by bad and interfering race stewards…

      1. Oo aah, I can’t pick just one, so I’m just gonna cheat and say most of the wet races have been great, viva the H2O…

  35. Where might I obtain a high-res version of the picture of Kimi in the Mclaren on the front page?

  36. Japan 2005. That race was action from the lights going out to the checkered flag, except for the safety car period. Hungary 2006 is a very close second though, loads of action, rarely a dull moment apart from the safety car period, and a popular winner. Brazil 2003 was great too, but there were a few too many safety car periods for my taste and the way the race ended, with the horrific accident of Alonso and the fact that the winner wasn’t decided untill 5 days later, count against it. But still a great race. Overall:
    1) Japan 2005
    2) Hungary 2006
    3) Brazil 2003

  37. I unhesitatingly pick the 2008 Belgian Grand Prix.

    I also want to say I’m sick of the “controversy” over this race and the whining from Lewis fans that still goes on to this day. That was a cheap, low class move that Lewis put on Kimi. He knew that he would be able to just cut the chicane when his overtake attempt inevitably failed. Why wasn’t there even a tyre barrier there, across the chicane to stop people from cutting it? Ludicrous.

    He deserved his drive-through penalty.

    I didn’t come here to complain, I was just going to say what a great race it was but someone else has already said that Lewis was “robbed”, and I’m sure others will bring it up, so I just had to put up the other side of the argument.

    1. So you think that the best race of the entire decade was one where the winner was decided by committee after the race and deemed to be the driver who had finished 15 seconds behind the lead driver?

      Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the situation, a great race is only truly great if the winner deserved to win it. And however you feel about the decision, Felipe Massa was not the deserved winner of that race, and so, for me, it cannot be classified as a great race, let alone ‘best race of the decade’.

      1. a great race is only truly great if the winner deserved to win it.

        No, sorry that’s a meaningless platitude.

        The race was very entertaining, regardless of who deserved to win. It had a great first few laps, and a great last few laps. I can’t think of a more exciting fight for the lead in any race this decade. And anyway, Hamilton didn’t deserve to win. He had a clear chance to win, but he chose to throw it away by needlessly breaking a rule.

        When are you Lewis maniacs going to get that? He broke the rules.

        1. Because I don’t think he did, and a great many people, including Niki Lauda, agree with me. But that really is beside the point. The point is that I think that great motor races are decided on the track by the drivers and YOU think that great motor races are settled afterwards by the stewards.

          1. the winner should be the best driver on the day, if the winner is not the best driver of the day then what is the point of it all?

          2. This is just nonsense. Are you saying that if Gilles Villeneuve had been disqualified for a slight technical breach on his Ferrari after the race, you would have scratched “French Grand Prix 1979” off of your “great races” list?

        2. ok, lets put that whole episode this way.

          lewis cuts the corner, gains, lets say 0.4s on raikonen if any. gets a drive though or 25s penalty.

          massa at monaco this year, cuts the corner at the swimming pool complex 4 times as i remember (Maybe less maybe more) gets told by the stewards to stop doing it, and if he does it a 5th time he will get a drive through. gained maybe 1-2s on the car infront, but because he was nowhere near the car infront he was able to do it multiple times.

          as you said Rob R. “He broke the rules”

    2. McLaren asked race control if Hamilton’s pass was legitimate. The race director told them it was fine. Then after the race the stewards decided it wasn’t.

      You can’t blame any driver in that situation regardless of whether he’s Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso or Kimi Raikkonen. And it’s certainly not an advert for F1 at its best – quite the opposite.

      1. Besides, they actually changed the rules *after* Lewis was penalized.

        Before the unwritten rule was that you had to give the position back. Lewis did that. They then changed it to “You have to give the position back and not overtake at the next corner”

        1. To be honest I have always felt Lewis was right to get a penalty as I never agreed with the move. What appalled me though and made a mcokery of the entire thing was the incompetence of the stewards. If they made a judgement and stuck to it the race could have been sorted and carried on instead of all the confusion and anger on both sides.

          1. Keith hits the nail on the head here.

            The “rule” that Hamilton broke is one that drivers break practically every race, which is to only use the track. What the stewards punish drivers for is an interpretation of the rules that takes into account the concept of “advantage”. The stewards in this case decided Hamilton had gained an advantage he never would have had otherwise, despite having swallowed up Kimi’s lead in 2 laps.

            If the “wait one corner” “rule” had been in place before Spa, you can bet your bottom dollar Hamilton would have obeyed it. And if he didn’t, then he would have deserved the penalty. As it was, it was an ultimately pointless sham since Kimi ended up not finishing the race. It seems that stewards can take into account “advantage” when interpreting an absurdly rigid rule (as it’s written on the page, I mean), but not “common sense”.

  38. Brazil 2001. Everyone forgets that Coulthard made a pass on Schumacher that was at least as good as Hakkinen’s on Schumacher at Spa. As well as that Montoya announced to the world that he was not going to be intimidated by the world champion

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovKr-IBFrNY

    1. Totally agree. Awesome show by DC thrashing Schumi in the wet and Quick Nick even made it on to the podium.

  39. Suzuka 2005 without a doubt. Hungary 2006 was great because Alonso was on fire, but in Suzuka it was Raikkonen and Alonso! It was madness, and so exciting. Alonso on Schumacher at 130R! MADNESS! Also the drama of Kimi winning at the last lap!

    I’d say Hungary or GB 2003 is second.

    Belgium 2008 was supremely exciting. The start was great as you could really see Raikkonen giving his all to help stay in the title race or be forced to be second fiddle to Massa. The move on Massa was very aggressive, it still gives me goosebumps watching that. The last 3 laps were also the most exciting thing I have ever seen in my life, I had no idea who was going to win or Hamilton or Raikkonen would even finish. Raikkonen crashing out made me sad but what a race!

    As a race, Brazil 2008 wasn’t that great but as a title decider, I don’t think anything compares to that.

    2008 had some great moments, it is a shame this year was rubbish.

  40. Juan Pablo Heidfeld
    7th December 2009, 16:52

    Silverstone 2008, so much overtaking (Mainly Heidfled :P) and the sheer fail of the ferrari’s coupled with Hamilton being amazing. Got to be up there!

  41. Great indications… my favorite for the decade is Interlagos 2008, that would be my all-time favorite (since I started watching) if it wasn’t for Interlagos 1991 and, mostly, Donington 1993…

    To your list, I would add Italy 2008, like a few already said: it was a race where a backmarker bet the fastest car on the grid (driven by one of the worst drivers, it’s true…) on pure pace, starting side by side on the first row.

    1. Completely forgot that Fuji 2007 race, where Kimi did some brilliant overtaking on the outside on a certain turn (I can’t remember which…), where he found a racing line that nobody else could… I’m not his fan at all, but at that race he showed he really has an extraordinary skill…

  42. Paige Michael-Shetley
    7th December 2009, 17:28

    It’s got to be Suzuka 2005. Nevermind that there is hardly ever overtaking in F1, much less for the lead. This race ended with arguably the greatest overtake in F1 history on the final lap by a driver who started at the back end of the grid.

    That was by far Kimi Raikkonen’s greatest moment in F1. It’s a tragedy he won’t be around next year.

    1. I would happily argue against it being the greatest overtake in F1 history…I don’t even think it was the best overtake of the race!

    2. That overtaking move is overrated. Fisi’s tyres were wrecked by that stage of the race because he had been leading most of it; Raikkonen had conserved his tyres because he was held up behind Schumacher for quite a long time. All Kimi had to do was wrong-foot Fisi into the chicane and then outdrag him down the straight.

      Alonso’s pass on Schumacher around the outside of 130R was much better.

      1. Fisichella made life hard for himself though. His unnecessarily defensive line though Casio on the penultimate lap set Raikkonen up for the pass.

        Also, Fisichella started third on the grid in the world championship-winning car, and Raikkonen started 17th. No way should Fisichella have lost that one.

  43. Brazil 2006, for Schumi’s drive. He’s in the last (presumably) race of his career, with little or no hope of winning the championship, and hamstrung by a lousy grid spot due to a series of mishaps before the race. And he drove like he was fighting for his first race win, every corner, every lap.

    A race drive like that, through the midfield with no glory in sight, but fought so brutally every minute, is more emblematic of the spirit of motorsport than any nail-biting championship-in-the-balance finish.

    And to that I’d like to add his Australia ’06 performance – here’s a guy in a wretched car that couldn’t possibly win, with a wife and kid and money in the bank, and he risked his life to push incredibly hard. He was willing to put his car into the wall to get the best out of it.

    I’m a huge Raikkonen fan. The next two races on my list are Suzuka ’05 (www.perisoft.org/kimiown.jpg) and Brazil ’07, after which the neighbors probably stepped onto their front porches to try to figure out what all the yelling was about.

    But seeing Schumacher fight for every last point during 2006, in an uncompetitive car and with nothing to prove, made me a fan despite the professional brutality he’s accused of. If Schumacher is a cheater, he’s the only cheater I know of who’ll risk his neck for a ninth place finish. He earned my respect from 2001 to 2004; he earned my admiration in 2005 and 2006.

    Australia and Brazil 2006 were emblematic of his refusal to give any quarter under any circumstances – a quality sadly lacking in Kimi, a driver after whom I named my cat (http://www.perisoft.org/kimicomparo.jpg). That, to me, is racing spirit defined, and so those races top my list.

    1. (Please forgive the editing of that bit. Not only is it wordy and generally imprecise, but using ’emblematic’ twice in five paragraphs is truly unforgivable; the only thing worse would be using an apostrophe in a plural.

      I have a nasty cold and a bit of a fever so I’m a bit spaced out, and obviously shouldn’t be writing. It won’t happen again, I promise.)

      1. What are you talking about? Your post is great… :P

  44. I thought Canada 2007 was a great race. Hamilton’s first win, 4 safety cars, Kubica’s massive crash, Sato overtaking world champion Alonso. It was a very eventful race!

  45. I’m assuming Keith left this one off to avoid further scurrilous charges of chauvinism: Silverstone 2008. That display of domination, on a wet track, is only rivaled by Stewart’s historic devastation of the field at the old Nurburgring.

    As a second place, and possibly similarly embargoed, is Hamilton’s peformance at the Hockenheimring that year. He essentially won the race twice in an afternoon—after Dennis foolishingly failed to pit him under a saftey car period. What the first race lacked in ultimate drama, this example more than made up for as we watched Hamilton raise his game to a unique plane, mowing down the opposition in the final stages achieving what had looked patently impossible.

    1. That display of domination, on a wet track, is only rivaled by Stewart’s historic devastation of the field at the old Nurburgring.

      I think perhaps you’re forgetting Senna at Donington in 1993

      1. Hamilton was incredibly good that race but I’m not sure in that league. Just personal opinions though.

      2. And Jim Clark at Spa in 1963, and Schumacher at Barcelona in 1996.

  46. Then the notorious ‘lunatic priest’ arrived – Neil Horan sprint up Hanger straight, nearly being mown down by Mark Webber’s Jaguar, and eventually being wrestled to the ground by a marshal.

    As an Irishman, I was ashamed to see that. He ruined a marathon athlete’s race a few years later at the Olympics! If any of you ever, on the off chance, meet this man on the street, do not approach him for fear of catching idiot-itis. Seriously.

    2000 Belgian Grand Prix

    Mika V Micheal. Brilliant stuff but I wonder what Ricardo Zonta was thinking?? :D

  47. japan 2005
    brazil 2007
    belgium 2000

  48. Suzuka 2005 has to be the best.

    Brazil 2003
    Silverstone 2003
    Brazil 2006
    Fuji 2007
    Monaco 2008
    Silverstone 2008
    Spa 2008
    Monza 2008
    Brazil 2008

  49. Europe 2000, Suzuka 2005, Brazil 2007, Italy 2008 and Brazil 2008

  50. China 2006 and Japan 2007.

  51. Maybe a poll – although I’m sure someone else has suggested this – could help decide?

    Personally the BEST RACE was Suzuka 2005 – it was awesome watching cars in the dry actually pass each other. Kimi hunting down Fisi, who got rattled. Alonso storming through the pack. Webber and Button fighting as they exited their final stops. Just awesome.

    The MOST EXCITING race was Brazil last year. It was seat of your pants stuff. As neither a Hamilton nor a Massa fan, as a neutral it was incredibly nerve racking.

    I reckon there is a difference between the two – the best race was just all about the on track action, the most exciting had a fair bit of that as well, dictated by the conditions, but was made the most exciting by what was at stake. Both were damn good though.

    1. Check the last paragraph again Clay :-)

      See you on Friday…

  52. 2003 interlagos
    malaysia 2001
    indianapolis 2004

  53. Suzuka 2005. Had it all, the fast cars at the back, great overtaking, the last lap overtake. Brilliant race. :)

  54. Hands down, German GP – 2000.

    Barrichello starts 18th and finishes first in the pouring rain on slicks, denying Mclaren a 1-2 in front of Mercedes.

  55. Definitely Suzuka 2005. It may be the best F1 race ever.

    After everything that happened throughout the race, to watch Kimi realing Fisi in, then nailing him on the last lap had me jumping around the room. Nothing else in F1 has ever matched that for me.

  56. I like Schuey’s drive @ Brazil 2006

  57. Brazil 2008 was brilliant, edge of your seat stuff.

    I also rate Nurburging 2007 – heaps of rain, red flag – Spyker leading for the first few laps, and Alonso taking Massa in the closing laps and then the pair of the fighting before the podium, I Love it!

  58. One race that hasn’t been mentioned much so far (with one exception) is Spa 2004.

    This was a miraculous drive by Kimi to hold off the dominant Ferraris behind in what was his first demonstration of his Spa mastery. The MP4-19 really had no business winning a race.

    The race also had a major first-lap accident, lots of passing, and was also heartbreak for Pizzonia and Zonta as they had their cars expire while in 3rd and 4th places respectively. Neither driver would ever really come close to such good results again.

    In a season of dull races, this one really stood out for me.

  59. My Choice which really thrilled me or got me to edge

    1) Magny Cours – 2004
    2) Brazil – 2008
    3) Silverstone – 1998
    4) Hungaroring – 1998 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfxUwMuiIrM&feature=related)
    5) Spain 1995
    6) Imola 2005
    7) Imola 2006

    And I must admit I miss Murray Walker while watching F1.

    1. Sorry Keith Please ignore my races of the 90s. I Should have read the article little more carefully.

    2. Murray Walker is the best commentator of all time. I think it’s time he was given a Knighthood for his services to broadcasting!

  60. Considering the stage and the moment, if drama is your barometer then Brazil 2008 is your race.

    In fact the last lap, with the title literally changing on the last corner, is the most bizarre lap I’ve ever witnessed. Felipe Massa is the essence of class in what must be one of the most painful moments of his life.

    It’s a season…race…lap…and final corner for the ages.

    1. Yeah I loved that one too!

  61. 2006 Chinese GP-a race where I never thought Schumacher will win until he got passed Fishichello
    2006 Brazilian GP-the last race of Schumacher where he started the race on 10th,went up to 5th,had a tyre puncture which led him to go to 18th & he finished the race in 4th.

  62. 2005 suzuka was definitely one of the best races !!! but lets not forget Brazil 06 (michaels last race) so he didnt win but he drove the wheels off that car and what a memorable way to say goodbye !!! truly drove like a champion … another race was exactly a year later when raikkonen won in brazil to clinch the championship right under alonso and hamiltons nose … not to forget hamiltons amazing drive at silverstone 08 and Brazil 03 !!! some truly amazing races

  63. i’ll say Spa ’08 – sadly it was tainted by the stewards tho

  64. The schuey 4 stop should be getting more mentions then it is – unique race.

  65. i would pick spa 2008..it had everything wat we want in formula 1..it has to be best..becuz the whole race was exciting on the other hand brazil 2008 only provided good final laps..
    the other one is brazil 2007..raikkonen winning from nowhere and hamilton moving up the field.that race was incredible.

    1. Was Spa 2008 really that exciting? I’d say only the first lap and the last 3 laps were exciting.

      Those last 3 laps were very exciting indeed, but still.

      1. Agree with you Patrickl. The last 3 laps made that race.

  66. Japan 2005 because it is the best race I’ve ever watched to this date, Brazil 2007 was another great one along with Spa 2004!

  67. I love brizilian GP in 2008
    It was 2a.m. in Peking time , but I was totally awake and excited .
    Really an impressive prix

  68. Definitely Suzuka 2005 !!!

  69. 2003 Brazil: The most chaos I have ever seen in a race. The rest Keith mentioned were good. I also wanted to mention Canada 07, another chaotic race.

  70. I don’t have a particular favourite race, but Mika Hakkinen’s pass at Spa in 1000 must surely rank as the most exciting overtaking move of all time.

  71. 2005 Suzuka, by far. Kimi’s performance there was one for the ages.

  72. Of the 4 you wrote, I think that it’s between Belgium 2000 and Britain 2003. Britain was the one with many overtakings and a lot of action, but Belgium had this interesting fight for the win throughout the whole race. Brazil 2008 – I don’t think that the race was that good, but the fact that the championship was decided in the last turn changes it a bit.

  73. The short list has been compiled and voting is under way here: Vote for the best F1 race of the 2000s

  74. 2000 Belgian Grand Prix and MIKAAAAAAAAA HAKKINENNNN the best ever!!!

  75. People were so polite back then.
    Thankyou for this. I was able to compile a good list of f1 races, out of this discussion.

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