Its finally sinking in that it is Mark’s last ever GP this weekend.
I remember him being linked with a McLaren and Benetton drive in the 90’s, I remember him flipping in a Merc at Le Mans. I remember his first ever race and the amazing way he fought off Mika Salo to get a fifth place… for Minardi… at Albert Park.
I remember the constant bad luck at Jaguar. Getting great qualification spots only to be destroyed in the race. I remember when he signed for Williams and all the hopes he might finally have a race winning car… only for Williams to go shit. But then he finally got a podium at Monaco… but it was spoilt by the way Williams had given Heidfeld the favourable strategy despite running behind Webber before the stops. Then he joined Red Bull and I watched team handsome (Webbo and DC, best duo) run amock in the midfield for so long. And when Vettel ran up the back of him when Webber was finally in a position to challenge for the win at Fuji, I was so mad.
And then he finally had a decent car in 2009. And he finally got a race win. And all is right with the world.
Heheh. AJ. On winning at France, he said it was good to stick it to the frogs (Renault and their turbo engines). According to Patrick Head, AJ is the quintessential Williams driver. No holes barred, always gave his all, won a world championship, battle another season, then gave it up to ride his mower on his farm in Australia. Got bored with that then came back to collect some big fat cheques for Lola Ford. Then he raced in Australia for a bit, including a stint racing with old mate Colin Bond in Alfa Romeo GTV6s (inarguably the coolest car of all time). Bonus points for being an Aussie and doing it always in an “I don’t give a fuck no nonsense fuck all that bullshit” way that only Aussies like Sir Jack and old mate Webbo do.
Blondie. All he did was play it cool, thumbed his nose to the authorities and Schumacher and still won the world championship in 1997. He was so caught up in how good he thought he was, he and BAR boasted of being able to challenge for the title in 1999 with what was essentially Tyrrells (never gonna happen).
But, really, what makes him so high on the cool list is two things: THAT overtake of Michael Schumacher around the outside of the last corner at Estoril in 1996, as well as always flat out through Eau Rouge no matter what. Look it up on youtube, his crashes in 1998 and 1999 during practice say it all, never doing anything but giving 100%. Like him or not, he never pretended to be anything but Jacques.
He once said he wasn’t there to make friends, “I don’t give a shit” was his opinion on that, and on anything that wasn’t winning. Ruthless, quick, total asshole on the track (and many times off it), but also a massive joker. Three times world champion, zero times chump.