Giancarlo Fisichella came second in the Belgian Grand Prix today after winning pole position yesterday in qualifying. Ten years ago, that wouldn't be such an achievement but now, after 12 years of racing and in a brand new low budget team car which could hardly get off the grid at the beginning of the year, this is big news!
First of all, I'd just like to say congratulations to him and the Force India team, their first ever points and also a podium finish (could well have been a win!). But also congratulations to Kimi Raikkonen, the race winner, in the normally champion-like Ferrari which has been a big fat disappointment this year (their first win this year). For the first 6 or 7 races of this season, the brand new Brawn GP and the up and coming Red Bull Racing teams had been dominating but now, McLaren, Renault and the Ferraris have all managed wins and are back in contention. Also, with the top three on the grid today being Force India, Toyota and BMW Sauber this season is the most open and unpredictable I've ever witnessed!
Next, to anyone who ever said that F1 is a rubbish sport with no individual skill and that it's the car only that wins and that there is no excitement in the sport: wrong!
Individual skill? Fisichella obviously has individual skill; he has done well with Jordan, Benneton, Renault and now Force India, all of which have been differing levels of quality in the Formula 1 field.
Car only? With the unfortunate injury of Felipe Massa, Luca Badoer (former Minardi driver of the 90s) became the newest Ferrari driver, a reward for almost 10 years of test driving. If you've seen anything of his races this season you'll hve seen him qualify and finish last in each race. Today's winner was a Ferrari, as was the last placed man! Same car, very different ability. Another example of this, not in F1, is Valentino Rossi, who has raced for many different motorbike teams but is still a champion and legend of Moto GP.
No excitement? Brawn GP has emerged this year as a leading team, closely followed by Red Bull Racing. Almost every other team has managed a successful race this season and no race is easily predicted. Unpredictability, energy and competition are three things which I believe make a great sport. Tick, tick and tick.
Finally, Formula 1 is getting back on its feet as a leading sport, long may it continue!