Jarno Trulli is the latest driver to select his all-time favourite races for BBC Sport’s classic Formula 1 series.
It is the 37-year-old Italian’s home grand prix this weekend so it seemed appropriate to choose the senior of two Italians on the grid to whet your appetite ahead of the forthcoming action at Monza.
Now in his 15th season in F1, the Lotus driver, like Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher before him, has chosen only races he has competed in – the ones he considers his best drives.
Trulli has slipped off the radar a little since joining newcomers Lotus in 2010, even more so this year. He says power steering problems have stopped him competing with team-mate Heikki Kovalainen until the recent race in Hungary.
Neveretheless, Trulli’s list of picks are a reminder that, on his day and when everything is to his liking with the car, he is one of the very fastest drivers in F1.
This is a man who, in the first half of 2004, was able to match his then Renault team-mate Fernando Alonso.
The 2004 Monaco Grand Prix
Trulli’s only F1 win to date. He started from pole and led the entire race, soaking up pressure virtually the entire distance, first from Alonso and later from Jenson Button‘s BAR-Honda.
“I scored my first pole position and my first win in F1, so it stands out in my mind, as it would for any driver,” says Trulli.
“It was a very intense race. We went through two safety cars, I was constantly battling with Fernando, so that was a good feeling, but I was always in control of the race.
“I pulled away from Fernando by 16 seconds initially and then, when he was trying to catch me up, we reached the backmarkers. I took it a bit safer and Fernando crashed. He probably went a little bit too far.
“After that, when the second safety car came in, the group was compacted again with only 10 laps to go.
“At that stage, I thought: ‘OK, there is no point now to pull away because the race is over because no-one can pass me.’ I had the pace but I did just enough to keep my car on track without hitting the walls, because we know very well how tricky Monaco is.
“I will never forget when Ayrton Senna crashed in Monaco in 1988 when he was on the way to the win. That was a lesson. I said to myself, ‘Don’t do that because you will look stupid.’ Especially because Senna had many chances and I only had this chance.
“I had easily the pace to keep Jenson behind and he was never close enough to pass me.”
The 2005 Malaysian and Bahrain Grands Prix
After falling out with Renault team principal Flavio Briatore in the second half of 2004, Trulli moved to Toyota for the following season.
He qualified second at the opening race in Australia, where his hopes of a strong finish were dashed by tyre problems, but achieved the same grid position at the next race in Malaysia, where he trailed pole-sitter Alonso throughout to finish second and take Toyota’s first F1 podium finish.
In Bahrain, Trulli qualified third behind Alonso and Schumacher. In the race, the Italian followed them closely until Schumacher ran wide and then retired on lap 12, eventually finishing second.
“When I joined Toyota, it was a team with huge potential but it had not delivered,” says Trulli. “No-one really expected us to be that competitive from the beginning, so what I was doing was pretty impressive and I still remember the team were over the moon.
“Renault was the car to beat during that season, so I had my satisfaction. I could say: ‘OK, if I cannot do it for one team, I can do it for another.’ I was driving very well, I was comfortable in the car and we were 0.3secs a lap away from winning.”
The 2009 Japanese Grand Prix
Trulli and Hamilton, driving for McLaren, were engaged in a race-long scrap for second place behind the dominant winner, Red Bull’s Vettel.
With Toyota planning to quit F1 at the end of the season, Trulli knew that the only hope of stopping the move was to win a race.
“This was probably one of my best drives,” he says. “Like in 2005, the car was competitive but not competitive enough to beat the fastest car, the Red Bull. On the other hand, it was maybe as competitive as the McLaren. But we had a weak point, we didn’t have Kers, so Lewis had quite a big advantage in some places on the track.
“At the same time, I was driving with passion and desperation. I knew what was going on with Toyota and deep in my heart I was really trying to save the team.
“I knew if the team stayed in F1, I would have stayed with them. But if they didn’t, it would be very hard for me for the future. So I was very desperate to get the best result on home ground for Toyota.
“I qualified a brilliant second but I knew that I would lose a position at the start because of the Kers cars. But I only lost one position, to Lewis, and I remember it was a head-to-head with Lewis, every lap like a qualifying lap.
“He did a brilliant drive but I never gave up. I was chasing him, trying really hard, and I was almost over the limit every lap.
“At the first pit stop, we stopped on the same lap. But the team was smart enough to give me, I think, one more lap before the next stop, which paid off because on that lap I just made the ground to get ahead of Lewis.
“Then we had a safety car and I thought: ‘He’s going to get me on the re-start with his Kers.’ When he didn’t, I realised he did not have the Kers. Then it was a big satisfaction.
“Everything was perfect but, at the same time, I was sad. I knew a second place would not change anything for the team. The only result which might have changed the future was a win. Unfortunately we didn’t get it.”
The F1 drivers are all asked to pick five races, but Trulli wanted to add his victory in the 1991 karting World Cup to his four choices. It may have been a great win for Trulli but we’ve had to rule that out on grounds of eligibility.
As regular readers will know, we choose one of these races to highlight in this blog.
This time we have gone for Monaco 2004, certainly the most entertaining of Trulli’s picks.
Highlights of that race are embedded below.
Beneath them, to whet your appetites for this weekend’s action in Monza, are links to short and extended highlights of Alonso’s superb victory for Ferrari in last year’s Italian Grand Prix. We have also decided to include extended highlights of the 2009 Japanese GP.
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CLICK HERE FOR SHORT HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 2010 ITALIAN GRAND PRIX
CLICK HERE FOR EXTENDED HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 2010 ITALIAN GRAND PRIX
CLICK HERE FOR EXTENDED HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 2009 JAPANESE GRAND PRIX
For those in the UK, a selection of the classic races will also be shown on the red button on digital television – short highlights of Monaco 2004 and Malaysia 2005 as well as extended highlights of Italy 2010.
Satellite and cable viewers will be able to see them from 1500 BST on Wednesday 7 September until 0855 BST on Friday 9 September.
On Freeview, they will be broadcast from 1035-1250 BST on Friday 9 September.
Christian Danner Jorge Daponte Anthony Davidson Jimmy Davies Colin Davis