Party in the royal class of motorsport. Tomorrow the thousandth Formula 1 race will be contested in China. A beautiful milestone and the ideal opportunity to raise the ten most memorable races. Sit on the edge of your seat for these legendary statues.
Top five within 0.61 seconds
We start in 1971. In the Italian GP, the spectators were presented with a pressing duel to the last meters with several candidate winners. During the race in Monza, the lead position was moved no less than 24 times and eight different F1 drivers took the lead. It remained exciting until the end, and even in the final round and in the final straight line five more pilots could win: Mike Hailwood, François Cevert, Ronnie Peterson, Howden Ganley and Peter Gethin. With an ultimate demarrage, the Brit Gethin finally made the case, while the entire top five finished within 0.61 seconds of each other. A record that continues to this day. To give you an idea of the unlikely finish: in the final of the men's 200-meter sprint at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, the gap between the top five was more than one second. Ridiculous.
The crazy race also had a record in store. 48 years ago the chicanes were still missing on the fast track of Monza. The result: the clock was clocked at an average speed of 241 km / h - it never went faster.
Senna slides on the water
April 11, 1993, the day Ayrton Senna walked on the water. In the GP of Europe, the Donington racetrack was raced for the first time since the Second World War. Damon Hill and Alain Prost dominated the championship in their McLaren, but the soaking wet conditions inspired the Brazilian daring to perform a piece of art in his modest McLaren car. Senna left from fourth place, but after barely seven turns and some lovely demarrages through the raindrops, he shot to the lead.
What followed was a masterly tactical stitch game. The weather gods were happy to participate. After all, it stopped raining more than 10 times, after which the locks opened again a few minutes later. So it also rained pit stops to pick up a different set of tires each time. Hill stopped six times, Prost seven times. Only Senna did not participate in the continuous tire change. Slicks or rain tires, he didn't care. The triple world champion hovered on the water, he even impressed cars with a much more powerful engine and a modified tire type. The Brazilian eventually finished Hill with a minute and a half, the rest was put on one or more laps. After the game, Prost complained about his uncontrollable Williams. “Oh well, not satisfied? Then we will change cars next time ”, Senna replied somewhat cynically. Prost's face spoke volumes.
Start with six cars
Formula 1 went through the mud in 2005. The Grand Prix on the Indianapolis circuit turned out to be a disgrace. Tire supplier Michelin could not guarantee the safety of speed devils. The reason was a crash by Ralf Schumacher on the free test drives of Friday. The German flew off the trail, after which Michelin considered himself to be the culprit and carried out additional research on the tires. Moments later, the sobering statement followed that the brand could not promise the drivers a safe lap. Since it was a short day, there was no ready-made solution. No fewer than seven teams, or fourteen drivers, were still on the formation lap on Sunday, but then they all entered.
Ferrari, Jordan and Minardi did appear at the start, they rode on Bridgestone rubber. Tens of thousands of fans were furious, after all, they paid for a really tough competition with only six participants. Oh yes: Michael Schumacher won.
Because of the pain threshold
Triple world champion Jackie Stewart won a total of 27 F1 rounds, with the 1984 German GP perhaps demanding the most from his arsenal of forces. De Schot came after all with a broken wrist - sustained in an F2 session. Stewart had to and would race, nothing or nobody got that out of his mind.
The Nürburgring had been foggy and wet all weekend, a blessing for Stewart. Because the surface was damp, he had to say he had fewer snaps on the handlebars to complete the turns. He had tipped a supportive bandage from his car before the race, it got in the way. Stewart finally delivered a demonstration. He finished with a lead of four minutes on first pursuers Graham Hill and Jochen Rindt.
Massa up to 300 meters before the finish is still a world champion
November 2, 2008. Brazil was the F1 scenery of the crazy last corner. 23-year-old Lewis Hamilton went on the hunt for his first world title with seven World Championship points ahead of any competitor Felipe Massa in the very last race. According to the old point system, the winner received ten pieces, the second eight and the third six, after which each position lower yielded one point less. Hamilton seemed to have his first World Cup triumph just for the taking, but nothing could be further from the truth.
After all, Massa wanted to turn the entire F1 caravan upside down in his home port. He rushed to the pole position a day earlier, while the McLaren driver had to settle for a fourth place. Not a man overboard, but 24 hours later when the sky locks opened just before the race, every enthusiast sat on the edge of his seat. Rain or shine. There was no size on Massa. Before the eyes of ten thousand crazy and soaked fans, the Brazilian fiercely won the victory. At Ferrari one big party started, because Hamilton was in sixth place three laps from the end - not enough to win his first title. After all, Massa had one more win, so with an equal number of points he crowned himself world champion. But then Timo Glock promptly took the lead.
After all, the Toyota driver was struggling that it had no name. The reason? During a second rainstorm his bosses casually chose to keep on touring on dry weather tires. Every second it started to rain harder, every second they regretted that choice more and more. Glock skated fifth on the circuit at that moment. In the very last lap Hamilton dangled for about ten seconds behind Glock.
Subsequently, the Junção turn - the very last turn of the year - became the stage for one of the most insane moments in F1 history. The race lasted one lap too long for Glock, he simply couldn't get his car under control anymore. Hamilton took advantage and passed the German 300 meters before the finish. A world of difference, because Hamilton took the fifth place as a result of which he and not Massa - who had been building a party with tears of happiness during his honorary lap - became champion. Hamilton had 98 points, Massa stranded at 97 pieces.
Dollemans ride after wrong pit stop
The oldest in the list, but no less remarkable. Five-time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio provided the spectacle in his stunning Maserati 250F. In 1957, 22 laps had to be completed on the Nürburgring, accounting for a distance of 500 kilometers. Fangio chose to start with half a gas tank, so be faster and drive halfway through the pit stop, while its slower competitors did not have to visit the mechanics because of the full tank. Two different strategies, which led to an enormous amount of suspense.
From the start, Fangio shot away like a javelin and drove into the pitlane with a gap of 30 seconds in the lap of thirteen for the necessary stop. A sufficient lead, were it not for the fact that a mechanic was making a big mess. After all, when changing the tires, a wheel nut rolled under the car. Fangio had already climbed out of the car to take a sip of lemonade and freshen up. Pitstops were indeed slightly different in 1957. In the meantime, the nut was right, but valuable time was lost. The Argentinian came back from the pit with 57 counts on his Ferrari-attackers Hawthorn and Collins. What followed was a disgusting catch-up race.
Fangio took crazy risks and broke the lap record no less than nine times. In the first lap, he was already eight seconds away from his backlog, thanks to his daring foolishness. The red cars were then a bird for the cat. Fangio finally won with a difference of three seconds and fourth after the crazy race his fifth world title. "I couldn't sleep for two nights after the race," he said afterwards. “Every time I closed my eyes, I watched myself jump from one turn to the other. I have never driven so fast and I do not expect that I will ever do that again. This was the limit. "
Most beautiful F1 competition ever?
For many Formula 1 adepts, the best battle comes between two drivers from 1979. Canadian Gilles Villeneuve and Frenchman Rene Arnoux competed for second place on the Dijon circuit - Jean-Pierre Jabouille proved to be the strongest - but it seemed whether the world title was at stake at that time. Round after round, both men exchanged positions and even dealt small taps in an intense fight. Especially the last round was one to lick out. In the end, Arnoux lost the plea, which would later declare that this must have been the best F1 battle ever. Many words are not needed here. Watch and enjoy.
Biggest crash ever
No F1 list without Spa-Francorchamps. The course is the favorite of numerous drivers, but 21 years ago it went completely wrong. On August 30, 1998, the rain was pouring from the sky and the view from the cockpit was almost non-existent. After all, the organization opted for a traditional start and not for a safer departure behind the safety car. When the red lights were extinguished, the horsepower was therefore completely allowed to steal. The fun did not last long, however, two corners further the chaos with the biggest crash in Formula 1 history was a fact.
David Coulthard lost control of the wheel after a few hundred meters and flew in the direction. The big problem: his car bounced off the track again. A domino effect followed, no fewer than fourteen cars participated in the malaise. Jarno Trulli, Rubens Barrichello and Eddie Irvine, among others, suffered a hard taste, the last two were even taken to the hospital with minor injuries. The game was immediately interrupted to clear the rubble.
An restart followed an hour later, but the fragments continued to fly back and forth during that second attempt. Mika Häkkinen started spinning after contact with Michael Schumacher, after which Johnny Herbert drove full into the Finn. Alexander Wurz and Irvine also came into contact with each other afterwards.
"Schumi" seemed to be heading for the win, until he couldn't get past the doubled Coulthard. The Brit then decided to brake. Result: Schumacher rode into the McLaren driver. End of the competition. The German was furious and rushed towards the pit box of Coulthard to get a story, but was stopped with all his might. In the end, eight drivers left the GP. Damon Hill won.
"Waiting for the winner"
It also applies to the above scenarios, but what happened on the street circuit of Monaco in 1982 could not even be made up by the best Hollywood director. "We are here waiting for the winner to pass the finish line, but no one will come!" Shouted ex-world champion James Hunt as a BBC commentator. And whether the competition had a bizarre ending.
Home driver Alain Prost seemed to be on his way to victory in his Renault, until he promptly drilled his car into the crash barriers. Riccardo Patrese benefited, but started spinning a few hectometers further. Didier Pironi just got the lead in the lap, until he suddenly ran out of gas when he was passing through the tunnel ... Is Andrea de Cesaris the winner? Neither, because as a new leader he went through the same fate a few turns later. Derek Daly was the leader, but you guessed it: he too crashed and was not allowed to triumph. The unlikely event happened: Patrese, who had not made lumps during his spin, was the first to dive into the last straight line and actually won. Pure entertainment, Formula 1 never had so many different turns in just five minutes.
Chaos in turn 3
To conclude, we head to Brazil in 2003, where rain showers completely flood the Interlagos circuit. Not an insurmountable problem, you would think, were it not for a few months before the Formula 1 team bosses had approved a new but crucial rule: for cost-saving reasons, each team could only use one type of wet tires per race. All teams took intermediates to Brazil to cope with as many weather types as possible, but they were unable to cope with the surprising downpours. Wrong tires on a soaked route, it caused pure chaos.
Especially in turn three, where we could already speak of a small river, one driver after the other crashed out of the race. Among others, Michael Schumacher and Jos Verstappen were the victims. The worst accidents, however, came first to Mark Webber and then to Fernando Alonso, after which the organization decided to cancel the race early - the risk of greater calamity was too great.
Although Kimi Räikkönen was named the winner after the race and showed off the cup, the real winner was only announced days later. After Jordan's protest, it was necessary to find out who was in the lead in the lap before the red flag fluttered. It turned out to be Giancarlo Fisichella. The Italian booked his first Formula 1 victory, immediately a very special ...