Top ten… Races of the 2000s

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Michael Schumacher, Juan Pablo Montoya, Interlagos, 2001, 2 | Ferrari MediaWhen F1 is at its very best there’s no other sport than can match it for excitement.

And even despite some of the dodgy rules that seemed design to make racing impossibly there have been some cracking races this decade.

Here’s ten of them – and no, they’re not all wet races either!

Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps, 2000

Mika Hakkinen led on a drying track early on but a spin let Schumacher through into the lead.

Schumacher tried everything to keep Hakkinen behind in the dying stages – even risking a collision at 200mph by swerving into the path of the McLaren. Finally Hakkinen broke through as the pair lapped Ricardo Zonta to score a memorable win.

Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos, 2001

Michael Schumacher’s two-stop strategy should have seen him romp away from the field. But when he was passed on a rolling restart by the one-stopping Juan Pablo Montoya his race was compromised.

Montoya, in his third race, was taken out by a lapped Jos Verstappen while leading. A late rain shower looked as though it would hand the initiative to Schumacher, but David Coulthard pulled off a surprising pass not unlike Hakkinen’s to take the win.

Ralf Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello, Melbourne, 2002 | Ferrari MediaAustralian Grand Prix, Melbourne, 2002

An enormous shunt wiped out almost half the field at the first corner – but the cars that remained made a decent race of it.

While Michael Schumacher raced to the win Mark Webber resisted pressure from Mika Salo’s to score two points for Minardi on his d???but at home.

British Grand Prix, Silverstone, 2003

Two safety car periods early on set up a frantic race notable for some excellent passes.

Best of all was Rubens Barrichello’s move on Kimi Raikkonen that took the pair from Abbey until Priory to complete. It was surely the Brazilian’s finest win.

Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos, 2004

Barrichello started his home race from pole but Kimi Raikkonen and Montoya seized the advantage in the rain.

The two came out of the pits nose to tail before Montoya squeezed around the outside at Subida do Lago to claim the win.

San Marino Grand Prix, Imola, 2005

Fernando Alonso hung despite gigantic pressure from Michael Schumacher in the closing stages of the San Marino Grand Prix.

For lap after lap Schumacher explored every millimetre of the Renault’s rear wing but couldn’t find away around it. A classic nail-biting finish.

Fernando Alonso, Monte-Carlo, Renault, 2005 | Michael Cooper / LAT PhotographicMonaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo, 2005

The ‘no tyre change’ rule used in 2005 had its detractors but it can’t be denied that thanks to the rule we even saw overtaking at Monte-Carlo.

Nick Heidfeld pulled off a supremely-judged pass on Alonso in the dying stages while Michael Schumacher raced from the back of the field to pass team mate Rubens Barrichello on the last lap.

Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, 2005

The championship battle was decided before the race but rivals Raikkonen and Alonso put on a cracking show.

Raikkonen won the race by slicing past Alonso’s team mate Giancarlo Fisichella in a thrilling move on the final lap.

Meanwhile Alonso performed one of the most celebrated passes every by taking Schumacher around the outside of the ultra-fast 130R.

Hungarian Grand Prix, Hungaroring, 2006

It would have been too easy to fill this list with races that were interesting because it rained.

Alonso drove one of the best first laps ever seen at the start of the Hungarian Grand Prix and eventually took the lead, only to crash out after a wheel nut failure.

Early leader Raikkonen also crashed out when he hit Vitantonio Liuzzi. Schumacher stayed out too long on wet weather tyres and banged wheels with Nick Heidfeld, eventually finishing eighth.

After all that, Jenson Button hung on to win his first race.

Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos, 2006

Schumacher signed off with a flourish with a staggering performance in his final race. He may have suffered car trouble in qualifying and picked up a puncture during the race, but there was no doubt who the star was.

After his early problems he flew past car after car, squeezing through the tiniest of gaps to move ahead of Raikkonen. But none of that meant the home crowd were going to overlooked Felipe Massa becoming the first Brazilian to win at home since Ayrton Senna.

Photos: Ferrari Media, Ferrari Media, Michael Cooper / LAT Photographic

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