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Faster by Nature

Regardless of who crosses the finish line first, everyone wins when there are F1 pit girls around.

Fast cars have always been synonymous with fast women—or fast-looking women, at least. And the F1 calendar is the beautiful collision between pit girls showing off their highly-tuned bodies and the cars themselves, those great feats of automotive engineering. Here, we take a breath of fresh air from the analytical racing and betting perspective and celebrate Formula 1 pit girls around the world at specific races over the past few years. You might not know them by name or remember them at all, but any Grand Prix would be so grand without them.

2008 Chinese Grand Prix

When: October 19
Where: Shanghai International Circuit
Who: Lewis Hamilton
What: After some controversy from the previous race in Japan, Hamilton was adamant about staying the course. “We will approach [the Chinese Grand Prix] the same as always,” he said before it started. “We won’t be taking risks, but we will be attacking as much as we can to win the race.” But the friction between Hamilton and former McLaren teammate and two-time Championship winner Fernando Alonso was highlighted when he said, “If I can help, I will help Massa.”

2006 Australian Grand Prix

When: April 2
Where: Albert Park
Who: Fernando Alonso
What: It’s usually the first race of the season, but Melbourne was the third stop because of the Commonwealth Games being hosted in Melbourne. As in 2002, the race had a first-lap accident. Felipe Massa got sandwiched between Nico Rosberg and Christian Klien and he got pitched into the wall. And on the final lap, in the final two corners, Jenson Button blew his engine, causing Giancarlo Fisichella behind to get covered in oil and he struggled to control the car. Button ended up stalling about 10 metres from the finish line.

2007 Australian Grand Prix

When: March 18
Where: Albert Park
Who: Kimi Räikkönen
What: In front of 105,000 people, the “post-Schumacher” era began and on his Grand Prix debut, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton came third after starting fourth—the first driver with a podium finish on his debut since 1996. But drama unfolded on lap 48 when David Coulthard attempted to pass Alexander Wurz but he vaulted over him, nearly decapitating the Austrian. Luckily, both escaped unharmed.

2005 British Grand Prix

When: July 10
Where: Silverstone
Who: Juan Pablo Montoya
What: Lucy Pinder and Michelle Marsh for starters, which helped heat up the track to a sweltering 45 degrees. But on a more serious note, the race was preceded by one minute of silence in honour of those impacted by the London bombings on July 7, just days before.

2006 British Grand Prix

When: June 11
Where: Silverstone
Who: Fernando Alonso
What: Keeley Hazel was on hand to keep necks loose and limber, but the overall turnout was low due to England’s first World Cup game. (They beat Paraguay 1-0.) But Alonso couldn’t be distracted by anything and it paid off. The Spaniard became the first Spanish driver and the youngest (24 years, 317 days) to get the coveted Hat Trick: getting pole position, winning the race and driving the fastest lap in same Grand Prix. Also, this Grand Prix was the first to have a woman in the actual pits. During a Midland F1 stop for Tiago Monteiro, ITV-F1 pit reporter Louise Goodman was on left rear tyre duty.

2007 British Grand Prix

When: July 8
Where: Silverstone
Who: Kimi Räikkönen
What: Räikkönen overtook Lewis Hamilton, who had pole position, during the first round of pit stops and he ended up third; Fernando Alonso came second. But what a difference a year makes. After 2006’s poor attendance, the nation became consumed with Hamilton fever, especially since he clinched the Canadian Grand Prix the previous month. Circuit director Richard Phillips said that ticket sales went “through the roof.”

2008 British Grand Prix

When: July 6
Where: Silverstone
Who: Lewis Hamilton
What: We were blessed with the presence of Miss Great Britain at the 60th anniversary of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, but were also saddened by the announcement that 2009 would be the last Grand Prix there, as it would move to Donington Park from the 2010 season onward. But fans jubilated after Lewis Hamilton stormed from fourth position on the grid to secure his first Grand Prix win at home, a whopping 68 seconds in front of Germany’s second-place winner Nick Heidfeld.

2008 Malaysian Grand Prix

When: March 23
Where: Sepang International Circuit
Who: Kimi Räikkönen
What: With an all-Ferrari front row on the grid, McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton expected to line up second but both were given five-place grid penalties after holding up Nick Heidfeld and Fernando Alonso during qualification, putting them eighth and ninth on the grid. And championship leader Hamilton could only salvage a fifth-place finish despite coming within two seconds of the Ferraris by lap nine. Regardless, he still retained the Drivers’ Championship lead with 14 points.
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