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"Worst" driver to win a race?


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#1 sopa

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 13:20

We have had 104 drivers winning an official F1 World Championship race. Of course some of them were from Indy 500 in the 50's, which you may not include in the discussion.

Who do you personally consider to be the most underwhelming driver to ever win a Formula One race? I don't make a poll, because it is hard to choose from such huge amount of drivers and the poll would be biased.

Do you think it is someone, who happened to win a race once, aka Maldonado (career hardly begun though!), Kovalainen, Mass, Brambilla, etc?
Or do you think there is a multiple race-winner, who in your eyes was still rather unimpressive?

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#2 Tsarwash

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 13:34

Was it Panis who won the Monte Carlo GP when only four people finished ? Not saying that it wasn't a great drive, but he didn't set the world on fire many other times.

#3 TFLB

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 13:38

Johnny Herbert maybe? A good driver but lucked into all of his wins.

#4 ensign14

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 14:15

Need to go pre-war. Louis Charavel, aka Sabipa, who won a six-car Italian Grand Prix by virtue of being in the only healthy car at the finish.

Of those who won world title races, Luigi Fagioli, whose one WC win was entirely down to Fangio. But at least he showed his skill pre-war. If he doesn't count, then Baghetti. His win came in a Ferrari that was two seconds per lap faster than the opposition. At least, the three driven by the works drivers were, Baghetti in the early part of the race was mired in midfield. And he only inherited the lead via attrition. Not just through his own team-mates - he needed Moss to have a brake failure and Clark to suffer an injury for the vastly outgunned Loti to cease to be a bother. His next-best WC result saw him finish a lap behind his team-mate.

#5 Tombstone

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 14:22

I have my doubts that Vittorio Brambilla would have gained his one and only victory had the race gone full distance.

#6 Jimisgod

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 14:44

Was it Panis who won the Monte Carlo GP when only four people finished ? Not saying that it wasn't a great drive, but he didn't set the world on fire many other times.


To be fair, that win was only fair given how well he was doing in the 1997 Prost before his legs were broken. He could have pulled a win in that car, given he scored 2 podiums before. He was never the same after.

Kovalainen sadly, was pretty poor. Only win was because Massa had a car failure and Lewis had a tyre fail.

Edited by Jimisgod, 15 December 2012 - 14:53.


#7 BullHead

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 16:01

Trulli, although the win was exceptional, this man on the whole was not at all race winning material.

#8 DutchQuicksilver

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 16:45

Kovalainen sadly, was pretty poor. Only win was because Massa had a car failure and Lewis had a tyre fail.

Kovalainen was always put on the wrong strategy by the team, always qualifying with more fuel on board than Lewis, Massa and Kimi.

#9 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 16:57

To be fair, that win was only fair given how well he was doing in the 1997 Prost before his legs were broken. He could have pulled a win in that car, given he scored 2 podiums before. He was never the same after.

Kovalainen sadly, was pretty poor. Only win was because Massa had a car failure and Lewis had a tyre fail.


With hindsight I don't understand how anyone can say those performances were anything other than Bridgestone.

#10 Longtimefan

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 17:02

I have to agree with Johnny Herbert, he did 'luck' into his 3 wins.
2 of them when Hill took off Schumi.



#11 garoidb

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 17:06

Trulli, although the win was exceptional, this man on the whole was not at all race winning material.


Why not?

#12 Myrvold

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 19:12

With hindsight I don't understand how anyone can say those performances were anything other than Bridgestone.


It's just that he was clearly better than any other Bridgestone-driver. And none of them had an unusual leap in performance either.

I do think, if Panis hadn't had that crash, or if he'd chosen Williams in 2000, it would've been a different story!

Edited by Myrvold, 15 December 2012 - 19:13.


#13 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 19:16

The other Bridgestones were Arrows-Yamaha, a new team(Stewart) and Prost. And Hill got the Arrows going ridiculously quickly at times. As did Trulli when he replaced Panis, and even the Stewarts starred at Austria.

Prost/Ligier had one strong year and it was 90% tires, 10% driver. Maybe Panis would have capitalised in one of the later races that year but his performance was always going to be limited to 1997.

#14 Jackmancer

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 21:30

Kovalainen sprung to my mind. Trulli and Panis achieved way more, as did Herbert.

Else probably some Indy 500 winner.

#15 DanardiF1

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 21:36

I have my doubts that Vittorio Brambilla would have gained his one and only victory had the race gone full distance.


Bingo.

The Monza Gorilla was mostly mediocre other than that mad spurt of form in the middle of '75.

#16 Kingshark

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 21:42

I was expecting Maldonado to be a front-running candidate in this thread. Thankfully not.

That being said, I'd say either Heikki Kovalainen or Alessandro Nannini were the worst.

#17 KavB

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 21:57

I don't think Kovalainen is a bad driver but his win was pretty rubbish... He qualified well but was totally outclassed by Massa and Hamilton but won due to their misfortunes. He only led the last couple of laps!

#18 BoschKurve

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 22:00

I have my doubts that Vittorio Brambilla would have gained his one and only victory had the race gone full distance.


I'd definitely say he's the worst of the GP winners.

Has anyone else won a race and then proceeded to crash?

#19 DanardiF1

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 22:03

I'd definitely say he's the worst of the GP winners.

Has anyone else won a race and then proceeded to crash?


Don't think so, but genuinely thought Maldonado was going to this year in Spain...

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#20 Zeroninety

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 22:15

I'm not sure I'd call him the absolute worst, but Peter Gethin definitely belongs near the bottom. There's also the oddity that he finished less than a second ahead of Howden Ganley, who'd have been another plausible suggestion if he'd managed to take the win.

#21 scheivlak

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 22:21

Bingo.

The Monza Gorilla was mostly mediocre other than that mad spurt of form in the middle of '75.

It doesn't show in the points table but he was pretty competitive during almost the entire 1976 season!

#22 Andrew Hope

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 22:41

What's next, a thread for Which GP Winners had the Worst Name? At least the discussion would be different, it's hard to hate a man named Oliver Penis. "Denny Hulme" is kind of an unremarkable name, perhaps more fitting for a chip wagon owner. "Who's the guy selling French Fries over there?". "Oh that's Denny, Denny Hulme".

#23 Atreiu

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 23:38

From those I have seen, Irvine, by miles.

#24 Jimisgod

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 23:56

Schumacher at Indy in 2005 was the worst individual race win, but he had a few better ones. :p

Edited by Jimisgod, 15 December 2012 - 23:57.


#25 scheivlak

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 00:00

Schumacher at Indy in 2005 was the worst individual race win, but he had a few better ones. :p

I think Jochen Mass' win at Montjuich in 1975 was even worse.

#26 spacekid

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 00:07

Was it Panis who won the Monte Carlo GP when only four people finished ? Not saying that it wasn't a great drive, but he didn't set the world on fire many other times.


I'd have to disagree with this. Panis was looking like he could be a very handy driver until he broke his legs. He was having a good season up until then, and was never the same after. I think you're being a bit harsh on him here.

#27 Kingshark

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 00:40

From those I have seen, Irvine, by miles.

He nearly beat Hakkinen to a WDC. :stoned: :rolleyes:

#28 Mauseri

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 00:51

He nearly beat Hakkinen to a WDC. :stoned: :rolleyes:

I would not say he almost beat Häkkinen, because on track it was most of the time Mika beating him.

#29 PorcupineTroy

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 01:18

When Maldonado won back in May I considered him to be a serious candidate for the worst GP winner, as he had never performed anywhere near that level before, and I didn't think he would again. He showed at places like Valencia, Spa and Singapore that he really does have speed, even if his racecraft leaves much to be desired. It's probably best to wait a few years to make a real call on how Maldo stacks up to other winners.

I don't really know enough about him to really judge, but Brambilla never exactly lit the world on fire, and his only win was a "half-win". In recent times (i.e. when I started watching F1), Kovalainen is the only driver I can think of to never win a race "on merit", seeing as he benefitting from Hamilton's puncture and Massa's engine failure (granted, the same could be said for Maldonado's win, as Lewis was moved to the back after a comfortable pole position). Outside of Hungary 2008, Kovalainen never really came close to victory. Though he won not once but thrice, two of Herbert's wins came after Schumi and Hill clashed, and the final of the three wins came in one of the most bizzare races I've ever seen.

Just my thoughts.




#30 BullHead

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 01:19

Why not?


Watch his driving and performances...

#31 frederik-

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 01:25

He nearly beat Hakkinen to a WDC. :stoned: :rolleyes:

That does not say much, to be honest. Irvine is probably the weakest multiple race winner.
  • Australia 1999: Häkkinen & Coulthard retired while Schumacher also had technical problems.
  • Austria 1999: Qualified more than a second behind Häkkinen (3rd). At the start of the race Coulthard punted Häkkinen of the track. Later Irvine took the lead from Coulthard. Fair win, but not fastest man.
  • Germany 1999: Victory handed over by Salo
  • Malaysia 1999: Victory handed over by Schumacher (who also out qualified Irvine by nearly one second on his return to F1)

Edited by frederik-, 16 December 2012 - 01:27.


#32 LiJu914

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 01:41

That does not say much, to be honest. Irvine is probably the weakest multiple race winner.


He beat Herbert at Jaguar quite clearly iirc.

Edited by LiJu914, 16 December 2012 - 01:42.


#33 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 01:51

Watch his driving and performances...


Trulli's driving was actually very very good. He was never accused of being slow.

#34 BullHead

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 02:07

Trulli's driving was actually very very good. He was never accused of being slow.


Well not all thought that, especially Briatore

#35 LiJu914

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 02:10

So the worst GP winner of all time managed to score more points than a double WDC as teammates?

#36 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 02:12

Well not all thought that, especially Briatore


Oh well that conclusively decides the argument.

#37 Risil

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 02:18

I'm pretty confident that F1 can be pretty proud of all its race winners in the modern era. Haven't been any Mario Dominguez-level flukes -- or rather, when there have, like at Interlagos in 2003, the race has still gone to a pretty irreproachable driver like Giancarlo Fisichella.

Few names for the nearly-list though:

Andrea de Cesaris? Had a good chance to take a win at Spa in 1983 and another in 1991.

Nelson Piquet Jr? In a weird foreshadowing of the Singapore Situation, he found himself in the lead of the 2008 German Grand Prix after a fortuitous safety car. Finished second, but Hamilton might easily have been held up or collided with Massa.

Takuma Sato might've had the pace to win the 2004 US GP without the very long safety car for Ralf's shunt on the banking.

And how good was Stefan Johansson, who was a lap or so away from winning the San Marino GP in 1985? (genuine question, it's been bothering me for a while...)

#38 aportinga

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 02:31

Was it Panis who won the Monte Carlo GP when only four people finished ? Not saying that it wasn't a great drive, but he didn't set the world on fire many other times.


This is funny - he may not be the first but he popped into my head immediately!!!

:stoned:

#39 BullHead

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 02:44

Oh well that conclusively decides the argument.


Bad example I know.
Trulli ok was quick, very good at certain times and situations. A superb qualifier for sure. His race stamina though always let him down from what I followed. His win at Monaco was well deserved, so maybe that's against what the thread here is asking about. I'm just saying in general he has never shown before or after that day to be a driver capable of winning a race. Quite frankly Monaco surprised me. Button should have well had him :p

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#40 SpaMaster

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 04:08

Why?

#41 Les

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 05:13

I'm not sure I'd call him the absolute worst, but Peter Gethin definitely belongs near the bottom. There's also the oddity that he finished less than a second ahead of Howden Ganley, who'd have been another plausible suggestion if he'd managed to take the win.


You should take that to the Nostalgia Forum. I'm sure they would appreciate a thread about how '****' Ganley and Gethin were almost as much as they would relish the prospect of talking about how well Mansell would have done in 95...

Seriously 104 drivers have won F1 races and all were exceptional drivers, obviously some better than others but each in their own right winning the GP was a great achievement so I personally feel these 'worst driver' polls are bollocks.

#42 wepmob2000

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 05:52

You should take that to the Nostalgia Forum. I'm sure they would appreciate a thread about how '****' Ganley and Gethin were almost as much as they would relish the prospect of talking about how well Mansell would have done in 95...

Seriously 104 drivers have won F1 races and all were exceptional drivers, obviously some better than others but each in their own right winning the GP was a great achievement so I personally feel these 'worst driver' polls are bollocks.


:up: This.... There seems to be quite a few of these spiteful little threads around at the moment, I've seen very few undeserved race wins, and none of those mentioned here deserve this title.

Panis' win in 1996 is one of my favourites ever, I have to wonder how many people posting here actually watched the race. He had some luck with retirements ahead of him, but the guy was on fire all race, overtaking several cars for position in a Ligier for gods sake. He also kept it on the island, which was a lot than other 'worthier' drivers that day.....

There was an element of luck with Johnny Herbert's wins in 1995, but thats forgetting he was no-2 in a Flav run team, ergo he wasn't allowed to race ahead of Schumi, in each case he did exactly what a number-2 is supposed to do and maximised the teams points when Schumi had retired.

If you want an unworthy win, look no further than Austria 2002.....

Edited by wepmob2000, 16 December 2012 - 05:53.


#43 ensign14

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 07:41

Bingo.

The Monza Gorilla was mostly mediocre other than that mad spurt of form in the middle of '75.

He was mostly in mediocre material, but he could have won at Japan in 1976. For all his rock-apery he could be surprisingly deft in the wet. And remember he was probably a decade past his peak by the time he got to F1.

As for Gethin...he beat a fullish F1 field driving an F5000 car.

#44 Zeroninety

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 08:32

You should take that to the Nostalgia Forum. I'm sure they would appreciate a thread about how '****' Ganley and Gethin were almost as much as they would relish the prospect of talking about how well Mansell would have done in 95...

Seriously 104 drivers have won F1 races and all were exceptional drivers, obviously some better than others but each in their own right winning the GP was a great achievement so I personally feel these 'worst driver' polls are bollocks.


Did I use "****" to describe either driver? Of course I didn't, that's just you putting my words in my mouth. But, as you said, 104 drivers have won GPs: some rank near the top, some are in the middle, and some are near the bottom. Unless Gethin was delusional, even he'd have admitted he was no Stewart, or Ickx. He certainly wasn't ****, but unlike the top drivers, he needed *everything* to go his way to win a WC GP (or, for that matter, finish higher than 6th). Hell, two drivers who came home behind him that day at Monza in 1971, Amon and Hailwood, were just plain *better* than Gethin, yet neither ever won a WC GP. No driver who ever won a GP lacked talent, but it's silly to pretend there's no "worst." You get them all in their primes and put them in equal machinery, and someone *has* to come in last...and I think we've got a decent idea of who the bottom dozen or so would be. Thanks for the lecture though; so very appreciated. :clap:

At any rate, it's a shame the 2007 European GP was restarted: then we'd have had an obvious answer.;)

(Although, another one who comes to mind: Jo Bonnier, who had one shock win and a few decent results here and there, yet, thanks to his years as a privateer, ranks in the top ten for most laps spent in last place in F1. Every other man in the top ten competed in the past two decades...).



#45 Henri Greuter

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 10:00

I was expecting Maldonado to be a front-running candidate in this thread. Thankfully not.

That being said, I'd say either Heikki Kovalainen or Alessandro Nannini were the worst.



Well, here is a vote for Maldonado. Even the critized Herbert was better than `the priest` while Johnny had the excuse of physically being magled up after `a big one`.

Henri

#46 jj2728

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 12:56

Did I use "****" to describe either driver? Of course I didn't, that's just you putting my words in my mouth. But, as you said, 104 drivers have won GPs: some rank near the top, some are in the middle, and some are near the bottom. Unless Gethin was delusional, even he'd have admitted he was no Stewart, or Ickx. He certainly wasn't ****, but unlike the top drivers, he needed *everything* to go his way to win a WC GP (or, for that matter, finish higher than 6th). Hell, two drivers who came home behind him that day at Monza in 1971, Amon and Hailwood, were just plain *better* than Gethin, yet neither ever won a WC GP. No driver who ever won a GP lacked talent, but it's silly to pretend there's no "worst." You get them all in their primes and put them in equal machinery, and someone *has* to come in last...and I think we've got a decent idea of who the bottom dozen or so would be. Thanks for the lecture though; so very appreciated. :clap:


Let me clue you in on a few things. Gethin's win at Monza in '71 was as hard fought as any in the history of Grands Prix. I'd defy any of today's 'stars' to run in that class of field so closely and for so many laps without punting each other off the course. As far as the rest of your post is concerned.....well, I wouldn't take it over to TNF if I were you.

#47 pUs

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 13:00

From those I have seen, Irvine, by miles.


His Austria win in 99 was great though. Nothing lucky about that one..

#48 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 13:23

Not even the McLarens running into each other?

#49 byrkus

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 15:49

(Although, another one who comes to mind: Jo Bonnier, who had one shock win and a few decent results here and there, yet, thanks to his years as a privateer, ranks in the top ten for most laps spent in last place in F1. Every other man in the top ten competed in the past two decades...).


That's a man who won Targa Florio (twice!), and who won 1000 km race at Nürburgring - in a Chaparral!

Hardly 'worst winner' ever. Those last places were most likely due to the material, and not necessary skill.


#50 fisssssi

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 17:24

Probably a topic for a new thread, but who will become the 105th winner in F1?