Sunday 10 August 2014

My favourite motorsport moment from the past 25 years

It likely unites most sports fans. The sense of injustice. And there was plenty around that day.

Year 2000 at Spa; Mika Hakkinen vs. Michael Schumacher. And I was there; my first overseas Grand Prix. Stationed on the Kemmel straight. Where it happened.

Mika Hakkinen in action in the year 2000
"Hakkinen". Licensed under Creative Commons
Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
In those days I was a Mika man. But an injustice sense came along with this. Always quick, but his McLaren team insistent on treading on its own tail. Schumi-Ferrari meanwhile led a charmed life seemingly.

But then latterly the fortune was with Hakkinen. In Spa he had the track to himself, claimed pole easily, Schumi down in fourth.

Yet there was the weather; overnight rain arrived. It relented eventually but the track was damp for the off.

Bringing Schumacher right back into the picture; he cleared the cars between in no time and nibbled into Hakkinen's lead.

Mika then gave him it all on a plate by half-spinning; Schumacher led and moved away. For me it all seemed tremendously unmerited.

But later Mika retaliated – track dried and qualifying pace returned he was with Schumi in the late laps. But in this F1 passing was near-impossible. Surely that was that?

No, up the same Kemmel straight Hakkinen bore down. He went for the inside. Schumacher repelled with an egregious chop. Adding to the injustice there already.

At that point next lap it was same again, only this time backmarker Ricardo Zonta occupied the middle of the road at a gentle pace. Schumi went to his left; Hakkinen for a tiny gap to Zonta's right. In an exhilarating flash the three were briefly abreast.

You had to make a point of comprehending. The big screen showed Mika's on-board, and nothing ahead. He had the lead, and kept it for the short remaining distance.

Justice, for once, was done.

The article is my submission to be one of ten official bloggers of the Autosport International Show 2015. The theme chosen for this is 'My favourite motorsport moment from the past 25 years'.

The Autosport International Show is Europe's largest motorsport show, and takes place at Birmingham NEC every January. More details on it, including on purchasing tickets, can be found here, and you can also follow the show on Twitter and on Facebook.


  1. Great piece Graham, what an amazing story for you to be there in the stands for this iconic motor-racing moment. Mika's finest hour, maybe? I hope one day to have been present for an equally iconic moment :)

    1. Thanks very much :) It has a very good claim to being Mika's finest hour, though there perhaps are a few others that might be contenders too. For one I always thought his drive at the Nurburgring in 1998, that effectively won him the championship, was great too.