Sport

Outside The Box: favourite random F1 memories

By Alex Mitchell

A little known fact about the team here at Outside The Box is we are passionate and extremely knowledgeable Formula One fans — and with the great sport returning this weekend, now is the time to get fired up before the speed demons hit the track.

Since a young age, we've been keeping a close eye on the glamorous and excitement-dripping sport, so we thought reminiscing about the world's ultimate motorsport challenge to get you all charged up was the right thing to do heading into the weekend.

In no particular order, here are a selection of my favourite F1 drivers, with a quick synopsis of why we have grown to care for them — as in typical OTB fashion, don't expect to see too many world-beaters on this list, as we certainly lean towards obscurity.

Mika Hakkinen

But the exception to that rule is the great “Flying Finn”, the 1998 and 1999 world champion.

Before Michael Schumacher started running the game, Hakkinen was the man to beat with his slick driving style and cool personality off the track.

Mika won two consecutive titles, had two down years and then just dipped as a 34-year-old instead of stretching his career — he did his job and then got out of there, and I think that's something we can all relate to.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen

This man epitomises so much of what is wrong with F1; despite being a talent-laden lad, the veteran retired after three race wins in 160 races.

An outstanding year in 1997 with seven podiums would only net him second overall in his Williams, while he was similarly consistent in 1999 taking his Jordan to third in the championship with six podiums — but it is only those with the elite cars that can win in this sport.

But good for you Heinz-Harald, your win in France in 1999 will forever live on in my heart.

Sergio Perez

Dirty, dangerous, aggressive — these are all words that have been used to describe my boy Sergio “Checo” Perez.

When the world turns its back on someone, you can count on OTB to be there to pick them up however — this is the situation with young Checo.

Here's some quotes summing up a man that simply can't stop nearly killing people in extremely dangerous passing manoeuvres.

“I've had some tough fights in F1, but not quite as dirty as that. That's something you do in karting and normally you grow out of it ... Soon something serious will happen, so he has to calm down." — Jenson Button.

“That won't help. Maybe someone should punch him in the face." — Kimi Raikonnen.

“Damage limitation today, we were having a good race until Perez tried to kill me two times." — Esteban Ocon.

Considering two of those quotes were from his teammate, it's fair to say Perez has an aggression problem — and I absolutely love it.

Scott Speed

I love this man because there isn't a person in sport whose name connotes what sport they play more than Scott Speed — outside of perhaps poker's Chris Moneymaker.

Straight up this guy was not a good driver — I genuinely think I could beat him on a hot lap of Watt Rd — with no wins, and no championship points in 28 race starts.

Speed was the first American to race in F1 in 13 years when he joined the series, and he also sucked when he went back to NASCAR after two years.

Rubens Barrichello

Rubens, much like Hay List against Black Caviar, purely suffered from competing at the same time as one of the GOATs.

As Michael Schumacher's teammate, Barrichello was treated as a second-class citizen, multiple times being asked by his team to let his superior pass him throughout a race — famously once on the final straight.

He has finished in the championship top-three four times, with a teammate of his winning the title in each of those four years — you don't have to be dead to be stiff.

But 11 wins, 68 podiums in 322 starts is still pretty good, and he would have made bank through a lengthy career.

Mika Salo

It would seem I've got a bit of a “thing” for Finnish people — but Mika Salo was one of our OGs.

Salo genuinely failed his way upwards; he was never really any good in a selection of mid-table cars in the late 1990s, but inexplicably got called up to the almighty Ferrari car in 1999 after Schumacher broke his leg.

That let Mika take the only two podiums of his 109-race career — it was nice to see a battler get rewarded.

Juan Pablo Montoya

More like Don Pablo Montoya (shout out to anyone that's watched Narcos) because this guy ran the racing trade in the early-2000s.

Montoya headed to the big leagues as a Formula 3000 and CART champion and — in a Williams no less — showed himself as the only man with the genuine racing ability to beat Schumacher through his dominant stretch.

Pound for pound (forget about the ability of the cars they drive) I think this is one of the great all-time drivers, and his career championship record of sixth, third, third, fifth, fourth without ever having the elite car backs this up nicely.