Win a pair of tickets to the 2012 Santander British Grand Prix

2011 British Grand Prix. Photo by Darren Heath

Never has F1 punditry been more of a mug’s game. Car, weather, fuel, tyre management, sheer determination – and maybe a bit of luck. In the five grands prix from the start of the season until the point I bash finger against keyboard, we’ve had five different winners – including two first-timers.

Well see here: you and a friend (or significant other) could be watching history unfold trackside at this year’s British Grand Prix. Courtesy of Shell V-Power I have a pair of grandstand tickets worth £500 to give away.

All you have to do is answer this question:

What, in your opinion, is the greatest ever Formula 1 performance and why?

That’s quite an epic library to draw from. Cast your minds back beyond the immediate past. How about Thierry Boutsen’s redoubtable defence against Ayrton Senna in the 1990 Hungarian Grand Prix? Jackie Stewart’s absurd victory margin at the Nurburgring in 1968? Sir Stirling Moss’s bossing of the works Ferraris in his privateer Lotus at Monaco in 1961?

Eloquently craft your entry and submit it via the comment box below. You can write more than 200 words if you want, but remember what attention spans are like on the internet these days. Your submissions will be judged independently on quality, passion and inspiration. And unfortunately this competition is for UK residents only (sorry!).

It could be you... A grandstand view of the British GP. Photo by Darren Heath

Who will be the king of the Silverstone castle? Who will be the dirty rascal? Don’t ask me – punditry is a mug’s game, remember? Enter this competition and you could be there to see it unfold for yourself. The competition closes at midnight on 18th June 2012 and I’ll announce the winner on 25th June 2012.

If you miss out this time, it’s not over. Simply fill up (minimum of 15 litres) with Shell V-Power Unleaded or Shell V-Power Diesel or purchase any Shell Helix product at a participating UK site, swipe your registered Shell Drivers’ Club card (which must be registered at the time of purchase or before the draw takes place) and you’ll be entered into a draw for more pairs of tickets to the British Grand Prix.

For full terms and conditions click here.







Phil Collins was wrong: you may need a coat. Photo by Darren Heath

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  • Comments (69)
  1. I can pin-point the exact moment i became a Formula 1 fan. I was only a young kid, but had grown up watching f1 with my Dad. I remember getting up early on a Sunday morning to watch the race from Japan. The living room was a mess of breakfast cereal and glue (I was making a Halloween costume for a school party the following week).
    I may not have fully understood myself, but i could sense a lot about the race by how my Dad was acting. By all accounts, my old man never really liked Prost, but Ayrton was his man. Those final laps when Senna was catching Prost Dad was getting more and more excited. When Senna finally clipped him, bringing them both to a stop in the gravel Dad erupted in excitement, to which i followed. Cheerios and black coffee covered the Sofa and i have been an F1 fan, and a Senna fan, ever since.

    • Alexa Flynn
    • May 25th, 2012


    Villeneuve setting the pole time, Schumacher equalling it exactly and made to start from second. The dogfight lasts the entire race ultimately leading to a Schumacher trademark do or die moment resulting in him crashing out and Villeneuve going on to finish third, and win the championship.

    • Stelian Ionut Dobrin
    • May 25th, 2012

    1998 British GP
    Schumacher wins the race while in the pits doing a penalty.

    • Aaron Burgess
    • May 25th, 2012

    China 2007 – Lewis Hamilton crashing out in the pit lane, this to me tells the whole audience just how insanely talented you need to be to drive these cars and the massive pressure the driver and the whole team are under! If a man like Lewis can not handle a car at 50KPH then what chance do us mere mortals have…. Further more my son followed up the crash with a typical 4 year logical comment. He’s going to be in trouble with his Dad now, because those cars are like a million pounds!

    • al cartwright
    • May 25th, 2012

    pair of tickets please

    • Stuart C
    • May 25th, 2012

    You’re going to have to do better than that if you want to win, Al…!

    • Hannah Irish
    • May 25th, 2012

    I am now a 24 year old female but when i was young with 2 step brothers, my brother and a step dad I used to hate being in a male environment and watching formula 1! But I have watched Jenson Button from the start and there is something magical about him that have led to my ultimate love of Formula 1. I love the way he drives, his whole attitude and he thoroughly deserves his position at McLaren. I wept tears at his first win and continue to do so now. He makes me very proud to be English and a Southern English woman at that :)

    • Arkadiusz Banach
    • May 25th, 2012

    I started to watch F1 in year 2000 when I used to live in Italy. Michael Schumacher was the King that time.

    • David Mills
    • May 25th, 2012

    It has to be Jenson Button in Montreal in 2011. Accident with team mate. Safety Care ending at the back of the field, an interminable wait for the race to be restarted and then putting in flying lap after flying lap to pressure the unflappable Vettel into a spin on the last lap so Jenson passes for the win. Edge of the seat stuff

    • Falon Miller
    • May 25th, 2012

    Malaysian Grand Prix in 2003 when Kimi Raikkonen won his first ever race after starting 7th on the grid. Always stands out in my mind – not that i fancied him or anything lol

    • linda gill
    • May 25th, 2012

    Senna at Monaco in the rain. Pure genius

  2. I’m not a massive F1 fan, so if I win I will be passing the tickets onto my Brother in law who has been asking me for weeks to try and win some tickets for him!
    17 March 2012 Fabrice Muamba collapses on the pitch during the first half of an FA cup tie between Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur at White Heart Lane.
    Spanish Grand Prix 2012 – I didn’t watch the race, but when I read about the pitlane fire that broke out in the Willams team garage and the thirty-one mechanics that were treated in hospital, then seeing the picture of race winner Pastor Maldonado rescuing his cousin along with the picture of the Williams team mechanics helping a colleague – Just like the Muamba incident it brings everything into perspective.

    • Chris Bligh
    • May 25th, 2012

    Being a long time Jenson Button fan it has to be the Canadian Grand Prix 2011 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the 48th Grand Prix at this circuit. The race lasted a total of 4 hours 4 minutes and 39 seconds. This was due due to the heavy rain. Even causing Button and Hamilton colliding and putting Hamilton out.The race was started behind the safety car and though the car did come in, the race was red flagged on lap 25 The safety car being deployed 6 times in total during the race. After the restart under safety car again for 8 laps, Button stopped for a tyre change though tapped Alonso after leaving the pits and gained a puncture making Button last on lap 40. He overtook Vettel on the last lap to take victory in a season that Seb dominated proving that Jenson could overtake ( a total of 34 times!) and showed how intelligent a driver he is. An epic race for me!

    • Elaine Rodgers
    • May 25th, 2012

    My husband & son in law would be overjoyed. Would love to be able to do something like this for them.

    • Greg
    • May 25th, 2012



    A veteran of 210 grands prix over 14 seasons, Gerhard Berger had the potential to be the fastest driver in F1 on his day. He scored the first and last of his 10 wins for Benetton in two spells with the team, punctuated by stints at two of F1′s greatest teams: Ferrari and McLaren.

    Competing with the likes of Mansell, Prost and Senna during that time, he was always likely to be on a hiding to nothing.

    His maiden win, at the 1986 Mexican GP, owed as much to clever strategy as it did to his speed, but Berger’s 10th and final triumph, in the 1997 German GP at Hockenheim, may go down as his greatest F1 performance. Facing the sack, suffering the after effects of a sinus operation, and dealing with the recent death of his father, Berger took pole, cut fastest lap and dominated the race.

    The warm reaction of the paddock said everything about how highly this good-humoured Austrian was regarded within the circles of the sport.

    • Cotiga Stefania
    • May 25th, 2012

    pair of tickets please

    • Eddy Keeling
    • May 25th, 2012

    Mark Webber, Germany, 2009

    Off the back of a disappointing race in Silverstone, Webber started on pole in Germany. His aggressive start saw the Aussie make contact with Rubens Barrichello, earning himself a drive-through penalty.

    That dropped the Red Bull to eighth, and an angry Webber fired-up.

    Driving like a man possessed Webber passed the entire field to record a memorabl and decisive win, the first of his career.

    • Colin Hart
    • May 25th, 2012

    It has to be Dijon 1979. Villeneuve wheel to wheel with Arnoux. Villeneuve was one of the most spectacular drivers and he rated the race as the one he enjoyed most. I just never get bored with seeing it.

    • Samantha Jerome
    • May 25th, 2012

    yes please. would love these:-D

    • nick hall
    • May 25th, 2012

    Honds win at Monza in 1967

    • James Sorrie
    • May 25th, 2012

    How about Johnny Herbert’s rendition of ‘Go Johnny Go’ at Silverstone in 1995 after winning the British Grand Prix .

    What surprised his fans who attended those celebrations was that although they all they knew he would eventually deliver a winning drive very few of them knew how well he could play the guitar and sing!

    • Hannah
    • May 25th, 2012

    My husband is a huge F1 fan and has introduced me to it over the past 2 years. I love it but I unfortunately do not know very much about it to be able to tell you what the greatest moment has been so far for me. So I would love to be able to take him along this year in the hope we see some history unfolding ourselves to be able to tell people about and have a truly amazing day out that we will remember forever.

    • Kevin Roberts
    • May 25th, 2012

    Ayrton Senna going from 8th on the grid to 1st on the first lap of the British Grand Prix at Donington.. still cant understand why it wasn’t shown in the film,

    • Jocelyn Clark
    • May 25th, 2012

    Monaco 1992 Mansell won all races that season, then this fantastic arena. I was privileged to be there watching the battle ensue it looked like Mansell would win again but so near the end, Mansell had a loose wheel nut and had to pit, he never managed to pass Senna and Senna won. I was disappointed bu what a battle, what a circuit and what a brilliant memory.

    • Kevin Kusman
    • May 26th, 2012

    Spanish Grand Prix of 1996. Schumacher was going up to six seconds a lap quicker than the rest of the field and won the race by a mile

    • Gareth Dixon
    • May 26th, 2012

    Senna monaco 1989 pure genius !

    • Bradley Fletcher
    • May 26th, 2012

    Nurburgring 2005 – Remember this so vividly because it was the first time I went to a pub to watch the F1! The atmosphere was electric, Kimi was trying to get to the end of the race in his McLaren with a badly spotted tire, also trying to keep the points away from Alonso; trying to risk the win instead of pitting and having the tire go on the last lap! Really enforced the respect I have for this guy, 7 years later, put him in the same position now and he’d do it again!

    • Laura Ballington
    • May 26th, 2012

    For me, it’s got to be Jenson Button’s win in Hungary 2005. He didn’t have the best car ever, but as usual, despite the rain and tricky conditions, he proved he’s an awesome driver. Loved his moves through the pack!

    • Andy
    • May 26th, 2012

    Ayrton Senna 1993 European Grand Prix in conditions you wouldn’t even go out to walk your dog…it was the 1st race weekend I went to see live & i’ve been hooked ever since

    • Paul S
    • May 26th, 2012

    Nigel Mansell at Adelaide in 1986 when his tyre exploded. Last race of the season he was in a championship winning position when his tyre blew at about 200mph. If he’d have hit the wall the race would have been red flagged and he would have won the title. Gutting that he missed out, but a stunning performance to regain control of the car and save himself.

    • Alec Brown
    • May 26th, 2012

    For me it’s got to be Canada 2011.

    Jenson Button coming from the last place, surviving two crashes, one with his own team mate and forcing Sebastian Vettel to make a mistake on the last lap to take the chequered flag in the longest GP in history.

    • Lewis McColl
    • May 26th, 2012

    Felipe Massa, Interlagos, Brazil, 2008. The way Felipe did everything he needed to do, drove beautifully, won the race in wet (not something he’s normally credited for) and dry conditions, experienced the heartbreak of winning and losing the championship all in the space of 30+ seconds. Yet still had the grace to take defeat like a true sportsman, congratulating Lewis Hamilton on his win and championship. Even after the race he helped Toyota mechanics leave the track safely, fearing for their safety after Timo Glock gifted Lewis Hamilton 5th place on the last corner, without which would have been enough to secure the championship for Felipe. A truly outstanding performance, still brings out the emotion to this day.

    • PHILIP
    • May 27th, 2012

    Ayrton Senna going from 8th on the grid to 1st on the first lap of the British Grand Prix at Donington an amazing day

    • Kate Rushton
    • May 27th, 2012

    For making the impossible, possible, it has to be Wattie’s performance in the 1982 Detroit Grand Prix. On a makeshift track that was so narrow that it was meant to be ‘impossible to overtake’; well, impossible for other drivers, but not for Wattie. Who made one of the best comebacks I have ever seen in F1.

    I still get the chills watching him attack the pack to go from 17th to 1st; leaving the other drivers in his wake. And when he overtook three cars in one lap; I knew I was watching a Formula 1 legend at work. Long before the 1983 Long Beach Grand Prix and arguably his best race. As Detroit was not just an inspiration for Formula 1, but an inspiration for us all in life. That when anyone says something is impossible, show them they are wrong!

    • Donna
    • May 28th, 2012

    Michael Schumacher finishing in the top 3 in every race of the season back in 2002!

    • Amy Louise
    • May 29th, 2012

    The Senna/Prost battle of 1988 where Senna took the title winning 8 races to Prost’s 7. The two drivers, unarguably two of the greatest, kept the feud going for seasons after keeping all f1 fans on the edge of their seats in every race, Prost taking the title in 1989 and Senna reclaiming it in 1990.

    • Zsolt Nagy
    • May 29th, 2012

    Only two words:JACKIE STEWART.

    • Rachel Thompson
    • May 29th, 2012

    1991 had to be the greatest F1 memory for me an im sure many others, when the amazing Nigel Mansell gave the unforgetable Ayrton Senna a lift back to the pits because he ran out of fuel on the final lap.

    It will be a memory that will stay with me forever showing where to two competitors that battled against each other in so many races came together as one :)

    I have watched Formula 1 since i was little with my Dad and i still do, we wouldnt miss it for the world.

    • Anne Walmsley
    • May 30th, 2012

    THE best race of all time for me was the Japanese Grand Prix of 2005 at Suzuka. I watched as the driver whose season was littered with reliability problems take a fantastic win from 17th, making his final overtake on the last lap, having been more than 20 seconds behind the race leader, setting the lap record of 1:31:540; a record which is still held today. Why is this important to me? Cos I saw a guy with a never say die attitude during the race, who never gave up, and who in 2007 kept his cool to snatch the title from two people who didn’t see that their biggest threat was some other than each other. People say he got lucky and didn’t deserve the championship, but champions make their own luck, and at 12 years old, I saw a champion that day.

    • Chris Rock
    • June 2nd, 2012

    The best Formula 1 performance is by far was Jenson Buttons win the Canadian Grand Prix in 2011.
    Watching Vettel dominate the start of the season made me think it was going to be a very dull season, but watching the longest Grand Prix in history was the best race i have seen and the final lap I could not believe what unfolded, I think every F1 fan around the world was stood up in their living room with the hairs on the back of their neck stood on end watching when Vettel went wide and Button come underneath him. It was like watching a championship winning move half way through the season. To finish watching that F1 race with my heart beat racing whilst sat in my living room was fantastic. A performance that will be hard to beat in my opinion.

    • Ian Beavon
    • June 2nd, 2012

    Canada 2011, when Jenson Button came from the back in the rain to overtake Sebastien Vettel on the last lap and win. He made 5 pitstops and it was amazing to see the comeback. It also proved that Vettel was not impossible to beat and that he can also make mistakes.

    • Kate Leigh
    • June 2nd, 2012

    The most joyful race for me was Jean Alesi’s only win in Canada 1995. Fairytales don’t come much better – driving the no 27 Ferrari beloved of all Canadians. It was even his birthday! And having stopped on the circuit Schumacher generously gave him a lift. I was leaping up and down in my living room like a loon – tears may have been involved.

    • Julie M (Mum to Jenson and Damon!)
    • June 3rd, 2012

    Hello there, I have to say Canada 2011 was onw of the best wins, what a long race, and our young lad Jenson Button Wins. :) He fouht his way from pretty far back and proved yet again he’s an awesome driver.

    There are other races I loved greatly, Jenson’s first win, Nigel taking Aryton back, Damon and Micheal almost having a punch up, and China in the rain!

    I’m a massive F1 fan, but have never been able to afford to go to a race yet, I would probably cry/faint if I win. Then do I take hubby, or do I take my sons? :P

    • Michael C.
    • June 4th, 2012

    The greatest Formula 1 performance is one that, in my opinion, doesn’t need 200 words. I could probably write it in 3 words and millions would understand, maybe even agree. But to be clear, this is the drive, above all others, that shows the almost fanatical drive that Formula 1 champions have, the absolute need to win, and the single-mindedness to overcome obstacles that most of us wouldn’t even contemplate attempting. It wasn’t a surprising win for an underdog, it wasn’t the most dazzling display of driving prowess ever and it didn’t even result in a podium. Instead it was the most uplifting Formula 1 story ever, one of the most uplifting stories in any sport ever, the pinnacle of the human part of Formula 1: Niki Lauda’s return to racing just 6 weeks after his Nürburgring horror. Lauda, Monza, 1976.

    • rachel riches
    • June 4th, 2012

    A wet Canadian Grand Prix 2011, when Jenson Button came from the back of the field to win, by beating Sebastian Vettel on the last corner of the race, edge of the seat viewing and one that will stick in my memory for a very long time.

  3. The choice I’ve made is Ayrton Senna’s European GP drive at a wet Donington in 1993. Under the circumstances it stands out to me as such a unique drive – horrible weather conditions, Senna qualifying in fifth, and his rivals in the Williams locking out the front row. Senna’s total domination of this race makes it such an extraordinary performance to me. Managing to fight his McLaren through horrific conditions from fifth to first in the first lap alone with such ease is an absolute pleasure to watch and admire. Senna was not phased by the unpredictable/awful/soaking weather conditions that afternoon, instead exceeding all expectations to finish more than a minute ahead of the second place Damon Hill, despite a grand total of four pitstops! His exceptional performance left unaffected by the elements, that afternoon he conducted a masterclass of driving. He was truly on another level and I’m not sure if anyone will match that level of performance again. It’s the ultimate F1 drive for me from the ultimate F1 driver.

    • Adrian King
    • June 6th, 2012

    The holy grail of grand prix racing was achieving a lap time at an average speed of over 160 mph. Many doubted it was possible until Keke Rosberg smashed through this barrier at Silverstone in July 1985.

    Rosberg had earned a reputation as a street fighter with victories in gruelling events such as Dallas and Monaco. This was in contrast to the challenge offered by Silverstone’s 2.932 miles of lightning fast straights and dauntingly fast curves.

    The Finn was on the absolute limit as he bravely wrenched his Williams FW10 around the Northamptonshire circuit. Mastering 1500 bhp of brutally delivered turbo power he staggeringly overcame a slow puncture and dampening track to blast across the line in under 66 seconds; an average speed of 160.9 mph!!! The crowd was stunned.

    Rosberg’s performance was the best ever as it represented a ‘Bob Beamon-esque’ record achievement that stood for another 17 years.

    • K. Stanley
    • June 7th, 2012

    On Sunday 6 July 2008, Lewis Hamilton became the first British driver in eight years to win his home Grand Prix at Silverstone. He was the first Brit since David Coulthard, in 2000, to celebrate on the top step of the F1 podium at Silverstone. The passionate spectators in the sell-out crowd of 90,000, were just as thrilled as the Vodafone McLaren F1 Team driver. This was one of the most eventful and thrilling British Grand Prix in recent times.

    • Carly Turnbull
    • June 7th, 2012

    Mark Webber at the German Grand Prix in 2009 was by far the best performance of all time. At a time when he was looking for his first F1 victory Webber managed to put in a fantastic qualifying performance to secure his first career pole position.
    The start of the race however proved problematic when he clashed with Barrichello earning him a drive through penalty. Having dropped back to eighth after his drive through Webber showed pure class and crazed determination to which he managed to finish over 9 seconds in front of Vettel. A performance of a lifetime for Webber and a well deserved one as apart from the Brits I could not think of anyone better to be victorious in F1 races.

    • amy wright
    • June 11th, 2012

    Jenson Button winning the Canadian Grand Prix in 2011 is the most exciting moment of recent F1 history. A crash with your own team mate at the beginning of a grand prix must be the ultimate in humiliation. To have to pit and be penalised throughout the Grand Prix and be in dead last position would drop most peoples heads. Who could of dreamt of the comeback he would make? I certainly didn’t. After having to conquer most things an F1 race could throw at him he managed to pick his way through the grid and whilst hounding Vettel the leader on the last lap who had driven so faultlessly he pressured him into a mistake. Button took the opportunity and brought home a glorious victory for the whole team. I true fairy tale story.

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