Michael Bailey: Jenson Button, stellar Stirling and Bahrain put to bed

Good things come to those who wait – I don't know about you, but that was just about the only thing keeping me going late into Sunday evening.

Two hours of rain-filled footage from Montreal and some honourable filling efforts from Martin Brundle and David Coulthard was a sterling effort from the Beeb – although maybe next time they could nip away for some classic race replays to break things up.

At one point it got desperate – Brundle informing the watching world, and his commentary partner, that racecar is indeed racecar spelt backwards. Nice.

But in the end, all the waiting for the rain to ease and standing water to clear was more than worth it.

That finish we were promised in Monaco? We got it in Canada.


You may also want to watch:


Jenson Button's drive round the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was something really special – winning a race despite six trips down the pit lane, being at the back of the field with little more than 30 laps remaining and having to battle up from fourth with only a handful of trips until the chequered flag.

Those four cars in front? Two Red Bulls – including the dominant championship leader Sebastian Vettel – and a certain Michael Schumacher, who was within a sniff of his first podium finish since returning to the sport last year.

Most Read

It may have been Vettel's mistake on one of the final corners that delivered Button's victory, but it was the Brit's pressure, pace and style that made it possible. Even for a veteran of almost 200 races and a man who was world champion in 2009, it was some win.

'That was the best victory of my career; it was an amazing victory,' beamed Button.

As things start to look rosy on one side of the Woking team's garage, the atmosphere will be something else in Lewis Hamilton's corner.

The erratic weekends are starting to mount: Hamilton's move on his team-mate down the start-finish straight was not his brightest moment, even without the fact it put him out of the race. And surely the last thing anyone wanted to follow that was news Hamilton had an 'informal' meeting with Red Bull team principal Christian Horner during the Montreal weekend.

The noises from Hamilton this season have been hard to ignore. Safe to say, the Red Bull rumours were around long before Sunday.

The 26-year-old is under new management who seem keen to head him in a new direction too, while Mark Webber's contract at Red Bull is due to expire in the winter. So there may be a seat for Hamilton to fill.

It could all easily take Hamilton's eyes off the challenge immediately in front of him, while McLaren's British love-in may not be long for the sport.

• Sir Stirling Moss OBE – quite simply the greatest driver never to become world champion.

The 81-year-old officially announced his retirement from racing on Thursday.

Believe it or not, the Londoner and 16-times grand prix winner had never stopped taking to the track – Moss has been competing on the historic racing circuit, right up until last week.

But it was an incident during qualifying for the Le Mans Legends race that made Moss' mind up.

'This afternoon I scared myself and I have always said that if I felt I was not up to it or that I was getting in the way of fellow competitors, then I would retire,' he said. 'I love racing, but now it is time to stop.'

Sir Stirling is a racing legend in every sense of the word: a 60-year career that took in some of the greatest cars in the sport – Lotus, Vanwall, Maserati, Jaguar, Ferrari, Porsche.

He also achieved something so rare in sporting circles – complete integration with popular culture.

Who do you think you are, Stirling Moss? – the phrase that greeted almost anyone deluded enough to think they could match the man's pace and talent.

Even 60 years on, few have ever managed it.

• We may have had one of F1's longest ever races on Sunday but we will not have the longest season.

Within hours of this column going to press last week it became clear the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix was not going to happen – absolutely the correct decision given the civil unrest in the island state, but one that took far too long in arriving at.

Word has it Bernie Ecclestone, head of governing body the FIA, was trying to sort a deal to get the race rescheduled up to the very last minute – even after officials in the Middle East effectively took the grand prix out of the running by withdrawing it from the calendar.

The 'lessons need to be learnt' line has already started to emerge since, with the sport's entire communications infrastructure coming into question.

But words are cheap and, in all honesty, it will take more than one botched decision over a meeting of sport and politics to change the way Formula One, the FIA and its partners do business.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter