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What was the greatest drive in an individual race in F1 history?


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#1 F1Frog

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Posted 18 May 2022 - 21:39

What, in your opinion, was the greatest single race drive in F1 history, meaning not the performance of a driver over their whole careers, or a whole season, but just one single race?

Here is a list of what I believe to be the 25 greatest single drives in Formula 1 history. Honourable mentions to Jochen Rindt in Monaco 1970, Jean Pierre-Beltoise in Monaco 1972, Jackie Stewart in Monza 1973, Michael Schumacher in Sepang 1999, Adrian Sutil in Monaco 2008, Lewis Hamilton in Silverstone 2008, Pastor Maldonado in Catalunya 2012, Sebastian Vettel in Interlagos 2012, Max Verstappen in Interlagos 2016.

6-25 (in chronological order):

Juan Manuel Fangio, 1955 Argentinean GP. One of the strangest F1 races of all time came in the opening round of the 1955 season, and this can be demonstrated by the results which have Giuseppe Farina and Maurice Trintignant finishing both second and third in the race, also sharing the second placed car with Jose Froilan Gonzalez and the third with Umberto Maglioli. This was because of the extreme heat that made it impossible for most drivers to cope for the entire race that lasted over three hours. Along with Roberto Mieres, Fangio was the only driver able to complete the full race distance, despite suffering burns to his leg on the exhaust during the race, and won by over a minute.

Jim Clark, 1965 British GP. The first Jim Clark drive that makes the list came as a result of nursing a significant issue, in Silverstone 1965 as Clark pulled out a big lead from pole in the first part of the race, helped by issues to Graham Hill’s car. However, Clark then started losing oil pressure in the final ten laps, and had to turn the engine off in the corners to save oil, and so lost heaps of time to Hill. Clark just held on to win the race, but although it is his drive that makes my list of greatest ever, Graham Hill’s own drive to second place, missing out by just three seconds despite brake problems, is also worthy of a mention.

James Hunt, 1975 Dutch GP. Driving for the independent Hesketh team on an initially wet track at Zandvoort, Hunt qualified third and then took the lead from the polesitter and championship leader, Niki Lauda, with an earlier switch to dry tyres. He pulled away while Lauda was stuck behind Jean-Pierre Jarier, but Lauda closed back in after Jarier spun and spent around 20 laps right on the tail of the Hesketh, but unable to get by as Hunt recorded his first and best Grand Prix victory.

John Watson, 1983 United States GP West. The win from the lowliest grid position came in Long Beach, as Watson won from 22nd on the grid, while his teammate Niki Lauda finished second from 23rd. Although he was helped by his Michelin tyres holding on far better than the Goodyear tyres used by the rest, the McLarens still had to make their way to the front, and Watson won by almost 30 seconds over Lauda and over a minute ahead of Arnoux in third. This was also the race of Keke Rosberg’s famous 360 degree spin without losing any time, although he retired from the race following contact with Patrick Tambay and Jean-Pierre Jarier.

Ayrton Senna, 1984 Monaco GP. Racing for Toleman in his first season, Senna started 13th for the wet Monaco GP but gradually fought his way forward, passing former champions Niki Lauda and Keke Rosberg on his way to second behind Alain Prost, after Nigel Mansell had crashed out of the lead. Senna was closing at a vast rate and looking set for his first Grand Prix victory until the race was declared too wet and was stopped, with half-points awarded. Stefan Bellof initially finished third for Tyrrell from the back of the grid before the team were later disqualified from the entire season, in what was a similarly impressive drive.

Ayrton Senna, 1985 Portuguese GP. Another wet weather drive on the list, as these to tend to be the most spectacular in Formula 1, and Senna’s first win was perhaps his best, in only his second season in Formula 1, Senna took pole position at Estoril and pulled away making no mistakes in the wet conditions and winning by over a minute.

Jean Alesi, 1990 United States GP. He started from fourth on the grid in a Tyrrell, very much a midfield car by 1990 and only his ninth Grand Prix, but took the lead with a great start and pulled away from the rest, bar Ayrton Senna’s McLaren that chased him all the way. Just before half-distance, Senna managed to pass Alesi for the lead, but Alesi immediately repassed him. Not long after, Senna managed to get back through and won, but Alesi stayed close behind and took second place.

Ivan Capelli, 1990 French GP. Another great almost-win for an underdog of F1 came at Paul Ricard in 1990 as Capelli, in a Leyton House, started seventh but made his way up to the lead as the only driver on a no-stop strategy, and held that lead for over half the race, before engine problems in the final laps allowed Alain Prost through to win, although Capelli held on for a great second place.

Ayrton Senna, 1993 European GP. The only race at Donington Park saw one of the greatest opening laps of all time by one driver as Ayrton Senna went from fifth to first in the wet, including a great pass on Karl Wendlinger around the outside at the Craner Curves. He then led the race almost from start to finish despite changeable conditions throughout the race causing multiple switches between wets and slicks, and Senna made four pitstops on his way to a win by over a minute, despite the Williams being a far superior car.

Michael Schumacher, 1994 Spanish GP. After a dominant pole position, Michael Schumacher led the first part of the race before a gearbox problem left him stuck in fifth gear just after a third of the race had been completed. He then drove a remarkable race from then on to stay close to eventual winner Damon Hill’s pace and finished second, only 24 seconds away, despite incredibly having raced for over 40 laps in fifth gear, including a pitstop.

Damon Hill, 1997 Hungarian GP. After being sacked by Williams following his championship victory, Hill switched to Arrows and after a fairly anonymous first half of the season, Hill took third on the grid for the Hungarian GP. After taking second from Villeneuve at the start, he then fought his way past Schumacher for the lead on lap 11 and pulled away, leading by 35 seconds in an Arrows, entirely on merit and lapping his teammate, before a hydraulics failure slowed him considerably and Jacques Villeneuve took the lead on the final lap, with Hill finishing second, much to the disappointment of Murray Walker.

Jarno Trulli, 1997 Austrian GP. Only three races later was another great almost-win for an underdog, this time rookie Jarno Trulli driving for Prost. From third on the grid, he took the lead when Mika Hakkinen retired and somehow found himself pulling away, with the Stewarts of Barrichello and Magnussen behind. Trulli led for 37 laps before losing the lead to Villeneuve, but still ran second with just 13 laps remaining when he retired with an engine failure. Trulli finally took his first win seven years later.

Giancarlo Fisichella, 2003 Brazilian GP. Dubbed by Autosport as the worst car ever to win a Grand Prix was the Jordan raced by Fisichella in 2003, finishing ninth in the constructors’ championship. From eighth on the grid, Fisichella benefitted from a fuel issue for Barrichello and Coulthard pitting just before a red flag came out after major crashes for Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso on the pit straight, ending the race 17 laps early. Initially, the win was awarded to Raikkonen, but Jordan correctly protested, saying the race had been counted back to the wrong lap, and a week later Fisichella was instead given the race victory.

Kimi Raikkonen, 2005 Japanese GP. A wet qualifying during the era of ‘one at a time’ qualifying left Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen 16th and 17th on the grid, but in the race both carved through the pack. Raikkonen made a good pass on Schumacher initially, then went long in order to make a late stop and come out in second place, before hunting down Giancarlo Fisichella and passing him on the final lap to win one of the best races of all time.

Sebastian Vettel, 2008 Italian GP. One of the greatest underdog victories of all time came when Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Vettel won at Monza in 2008. Although the title contenders had poor qualifying sessions, unlike in Japan 2005 this was not down to the format so Vettel’s pole was entirely on merit, and then he won the race by over 12 seconds from Heikki Kovalainen’s McLaren, and in wet conditions.

Giancarlo Fisichella, 2009 Belgian GP. It seems very odd to have more Fisichella drives on the list than those of Prost, Stewart of Hamilton, but it reinforces the idea of Fisichella as ‘a very good driver of poor cars and a poor driver of very good cars.’ In Spa 2009, Fisichella put a Force India that had never before scored a point on pole position, then lost the lead on the safety car restart due to the KERS on Raikkonen’s Ferrari, before shadowing Raikkonen all the way and taking second place. Sutil’s drive in Monza a week later proves that the car was very good, but Fisichella’s second place was still worthy of a place on the list.

Jenson Button, 2011 Canadian GP. This was not the greatest drive of all time as Button did make a lot of mistakes early in the race and, as Pedro de la Rosa put it, every time he was involved in an incident it was slightly more his fault, but not by enough to penalise him. However, it is my personal favourite drive in F1 history. Button ran Hamilton into the pit wall while running sixth, received a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane and beached Alonso into the gravel, picking up a puncture and running 21st and last after 37 of the 70 laps. From then on, Button carved through the pack in mixed conditions (after a two-hour red flag), making a great pass on Webber with great car control on slick tyres in the wet part of the track, and then caught leader Vettel, who had been unchallenged all race, on the final lap. Vettel put a wheel on the damp part of the track and slid wide, allowing Button through for victory.

Fernando Alonso, 2012 Malaysian GP. This race is more famous for Sergio Perez’s incredible drive to second, but it was the winner, Alonso, who really excelled in Sepang. In an wet race, Alonso and Perez found themselves in the lead just after the red flag after timing their pitstops perfectly and then, despite having cars that both had previously seemed like midfield cars, pulled away in the lead. Perez was slightly faster and closed gradually on Alonso before the stop for dries, where Ferrari were quicker and Alonso pulled out a lead of seven seconds again. Perez then closed him down once more before going wide when within a second. However, while Perez stole the headlines, Alonso had not put a wheel wrong in the lead of the race in the slower Ferrari, and won the race.

Nico Rosberg, 2014 Canadian GP. After Mercedes dominant start to the season in which they led every lap in the first six rounds, it went wrong in Canada as both cars suffered engine problems leading to a severe loss of power, while 30 seconds ahead. Hamilton’s problems were more serious and he retired, but Rosberg held on in the lead, and eventually a gaggle of cars made up of Perez, Ricciardo, Vettel and Massa caught him. However, Perez was on a one-stop strategy so was nursing old tyres, so was unable to get too close and Rosberg was able to stay just out of DRS range at the detection point, lose almost a second on the straights at Montreal, then pull that second out in the rest of the lap time and time again and retain the lead. Eventually, Ricciardo passed Perez and then Rosberg, but Nico still finished second in the finest drive of his career.

Sergio Perez, 2020 Sakhir GP. The only driver to win a race in which they ran last after lap one was Perez on the outer loop at Sakhir, and in only the third-best car. After being hit by Leclerc on lap one, in an incident that also eliminated Verstappen, Perez came through, passing car after car and with only one stop from then on found himself third. Then a safety car closed the pack up, and Mercedes messed up their pitstop, leaving Bottas in fourth with old tyres and substitute Russell fifth, and Perez now led having stayed out. Sergio Perez then quickly pulled away from Ocon, while Russell carved his way through to second, and was closing on Perez before a puncture sent him back to the pits, and Perez won comfortably, becoming the driver with the longest ever wait before a first win.

The top five:

5. Lewis Hamilton, 2021 Brazilian GP. The most recent legendary drive came from the most successful driver of all time, and while it may be harsh not to include Silverstone 2008 here, it was at Interlagos that Hamilton delivered his greatest drive. Having taken a dominant pole position, Hamilton was then disqualified as the DRS flap in his rear wing opened too far. From the back of the sprint, he moved forward and finished fifth, passing 15 cars in a 1/3 length race. Then he was put back another five places for a new gearbox to start the actual race tenth, before again carving through and passing Verstappen late on to take a sensational victory. He was helped by the new engine, but it was still one of the greatest drives of all time.

4. Jackie Stewart, 1968 German GP. One of the greatest ambassadors to safety in F1 history was Jackie Stewart, whose greatest drive came on one of the most dangerous tracks, the Nordscheife, in appallingly wet conditions in 1968, when the danger of Formula 1 was at its very highest. Despite reportedly having to be almost forced to drive by Ken Tyrrell, and with a wrist injury, he moved to the lead from sixth on the grid by the end of the first lap and pulled away to win by four minutes.

3. Michael Schumacher, 1996 Spanish GP. Two years after his last legendary drive at Catalunya, Schumacher put in another one in the wet conditions in 1996. After a terrible start from third to the lower end of the top ten, Michael Schumacher fought his way gradually through the pack and took the lead from Jacques Villeneuve on lap 12. From then on, Schumacher, in a Ferrari that had been no match for Williams in the dry, pulled away from Villeneuve at an astonishing four seconds a lap, helped by his two-stop strategy and the wet setup. He eventually won by over 45 seconds.

2. Juan Manuel Fangio, 1957 German GP. The first truly legendary drive came on the Nordschleife as Fangio took his final victory in style and earned the nickname, ‘El Maestro.’ Having taken pole by almost three seconds, he pulled out a huge lead of 30 seconds in the first twelve laps. He then pitted but a disaster as the left rear wheel nut slipped below the car and took some time to find left him 50 seconds off the lead with ten laps to go. In the last ten laps, Fangio chased after the leading Lancia Ferraris of Peter Collins and Mike Hawthorn, catching them at an incredible rate and repeatedly setting lap records on the way, before passing both on the penultimate lap to win. Fangio later said, ‘I have never driven that quickly before in my life and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do it again.’

1. Jim Clark, 1963 Belgian GP. This race took place on the old Spa-Francorchamps, where the startline was between La Source and Eau Rouge. Jim Clark, from eighth on the grid, immediately made an incredible start to take the lead before the first corner (although the cars were four-wide on the grid and also much closer to the row in front than in today’s F1). He then immediately pulled away from the chasing pack, led by Graham Hill who retired when around 30 seconds behind. Jim Clark later revealed he had a gearbox problem as well, which caused him to have to drive left-handed while holding the gear in place, and eventually stopped using fifth gear altogether. As well as this, the rain that had been relatively light to begin with was getting heavier and heavier until the track was almost flooded in the closing laps, yet Clark held on to win, despite all this adversity, by five minutes. In my opinion, this was the greatest drive in Formula 1 history. It had it all.



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#2 messy

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Posted 18 May 2022 - 22:02

In my time watching, some that really stood out for me -

1998 Japanese GP, Mika Hakkinen
Just perfect, didn’t put a wheel out of place and controlled the entire race on a weekend where the Ferrari was clearly slightly quicker, under the most incredible pressure. Such a fitting way to win the World Championship.
1998 Hungarian GP, Michael Schumacher
Do twenty qualifying laps to win this race - and he did exactly that. Schumacher being Schumacher he made a little mistake or two along the way but he pushed like a man possessed to make it work and it did.
2000 French GP, David Coulthard
He maybe wasn’t a great driver, DC, but on his best days he sure did a good impression of one. One of his best qualities was that he was completely unafraid of Schumacher, best shown here as the two did battle. 2001 Brazilian GP was superb from him too.
2001 San Marino GP, Ralf Schumacher
His first win a possibility from P3 on the grid and what did he do? Nailed the start, straight up into the lead off the line and then controlled the entire race like someone who’d been winning for a decade.
2003 Spanish GP, Fernando Alonso
Chased after Schumacher, broke down a ‘dominant’ looking Ferrari 1-2 and took the fight, really didn’t put a foot wrong and earned huge respect, probably Alonso’s real breakthrough drive, Valencia 2012 was brilliant too.
2005 Japanese GP, Kimi Raikkonen AND Fernando Alonso
I can’t separate the two of them here - Kimi got the win on the last lap but Fernando made the greater number of passes (including that one on Schumacher) and suffered more bad luck in terms of how things played out. Both incredible.
2008 British GP, Lewis Hamilton
Lewis’ best drive, maybe even still. His Spain ‘96. Easy to forget he was beaten to pole by Kovalainen and ran behind early on but he ended up just lapping on a different planet to everyone else, in a different race.
2009 Brazilian GP, Jenson Button
He didn’t win, but his drive from the back to claim the title was THE display of calm racecraft under pressure. He had to make moves, he had to put it on the line and he was pretty much inch perfect.


I must be honest, get to the hybrid era and I think this gets much harder, for me anyway.

#3 Collombin

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Posted 18 May 2022 - 22:08

I should be surprised that Prost and Moss didn't rate even a mention in the OP but then I remembered which section of the forum this is! I reckon between them they would bag at least 5 of my 25 but would need to have a proper think before being certain.

Edited by Collombin, 18 May 2022 - 22:08.


#4 Ragamuffin

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Posted 18 May 2022 - 22:12

Mine is purely emotional and got me the most jazzed in the underpants as a young lad.

 

Nigel Mansell, 1987 British Grand Prix

 

Nige reels Piquet in at a second a lap for nearly half the race. Bloody legend.


Edited by Ragamuffin, 18 May 2022 - 22:15.


#5 Izzyeviel

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Posted 18 May 2022 - 22:13

two more for the list: 1989 Hungary Grand Prix & 1989 Aussie GP



#6 wheadon1985

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Posted 18 May 2022 - 22:51

Hill, Japan, 1994.

#7 Junky

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Posted 18 May 2022 - 23:13

Schumacher: Barcelona 96 and Spa 97. It was a shame what happened one year later in Belgium, because we were close to watch one of the most dominant rain wins in the history of F1.



#8 AlexS

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Posted 18 May 2022 - 23:26

Michael Schumacher Spa 1998



#9 ARTGP

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Posted 18 May 2022 - 23:32

These kinds of "greatest" claims are always a bit fickle.  Hard to choose one. I prefer to just mentioned what I thought was an awesome drive. Whether it's the greatest, I dunno. Anyway, I thought Sebastian Vettel, 2012 Brazil GP title clincher was nuts. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. Got punted, bad pitstops, rain, slicks. Dizzying number of overtakes to recover and take the title under the highest pressure imaginable. A driver having to deliver while gripping the title on his fingertips in tricky conditions. 


Edited by ARTGP, 18 May 2022 - 23:39.


#10 red stick

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Posted 18 May 2022 - 23:47

Stewart. Germany. 1968. In the rain.

When you can boil an egg waiting for second place . . .

#11 AustinF1

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 03:19

These kinds of "greatest" claims are always a bit fickle.  Hard to choose one. I prefer to just mentioned what I thought was an awesome drive. Whether it's the greatest, I dunno. Anyway, I thought Sebastian Vettel, 2012 Brazil GP title clincher was nuts. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. Got punted, bad pitstops, rain, slicks. Dizzying number of overtakes to recover and take the title under the highest pressure imaginable. A driver having to deliver while gripping the title on his fingertips in tricky conditions. 

This is pretty much how I feel about most "greatest" lists or debates. There are so many truly great perfomers and performances that trying to pick just one or to rank them is typically an excercise in hair-splitting. (not complaining. just an observation)



#12 Afterburner

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 04:12

I know it's big douche to quote yourself but every time these great drive lists come up I have to mention Alonso's run in Hungary 2014:

[The 2014 Ferrari] was certifiably one of the most sh!t Ferraris in a long time (in terms of looks and performance), and that bastard damn near won a race in it, in the damp, holding off a Red Bull and two freakin' world-conquering 2014-edition Mercedes while on 300-lap old tyres. Take a bow, Fernando.



#13 New Britain

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 06:10

He may have finished only 4th, but Lauda's performance in the 1976 Italian GP, when he drove with his unhealed head wounds wrapped in bandages, was pretty special.



#14 Jovanotti

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 06:15

The top five: 5. Lewis Hamilton, 2021 Brazilian GP.

Very good list apart from this. Just no.

Edited by Jovanotti, 19 May 2022 - 06:16.


#15 garoidb

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 06:26

Mine is purely emotional and got me the most jazzed in the underpants as a young lad.

 

Nigel Mansell, 1987 British Grand Prix

 

Nige reels Piquet in at a second a lap for nearly half the race. Bloody legend.

 

Due to having pitted for tyres whereas Nelson didn't. I am not sure now why that was the case but I will check Autocourse later.

 

The amusing thing about Silverstone 1987 is that both were tight on fuel, but there was no jeopardy for one to push hard so long as the other didn't also run out of fuel as they were a lap ahead. Crawling to a halt on the last lap would just have meant second place for either driver. However, if they both ran out of fuel neither would have scored.


Edited by garoidb, 19 May 2022 - 06:27.


#16 Collombin

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 06:39

The amusing thing about Silverstone 1987.....


........was my all time favourite Murrayism after Mansell's 9.54 second pitstop - "just under 10 seconds for Nigel Mansell. Call it 9.5 seconds in round figures".

#17 jonpollak

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 06:49

Dan Gurney at Spa in 67?
3-E82914-C-3194-4050-89-C2-427-BCFF2325-

Jp

#18 Collombin

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 06:53

Dan Gurney at Spa in 67?


1964 was probably even better, definitely an all time great drive.

Edited by Collombin, 19 May 2022 - 06:53.


#19 Claudius

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 06:57

I think Imola 05 and 06 should be in the list. Great drives by 2 great drivers.



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#20 Ragamuffin

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 07:07

Due to having pitted for tyres whereas Nelson didn't. I am not sure now why that was the case but I will check Autocourse later.

 

The amusing thing about Silverstone 1987 is that both were tight on fuel, but there was no jeopardy for one to push hard so long as the other didn't also run out of fuel as they were a lap ahead. Crawling to a halt on the last lap would just have meant second place for either driver. However, if they both ran out of fuel neither would have scored.

I'm not going to let dirty facts get in the way of romance. Nige was a god that day.



#21 F1 Mike

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 07:32

I think Imola 05 and 06 should be in the list. Great drives by 2 great drivers.


Wouldn't agree with that. They were just doing their job well on the day on those occasions, it wasn't anything extraordinary.

Nice to read through some of these though. It serves as a reminder that we just never know when we're about to be treated to a rare masterclass. They feel more rare in the current era...

#22 midgrid

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 07:49

Due to having pitted for tyres whereas Nelson didn't. I am not sure now why that was the case but I will check Autocourse later.


He lost a wheel weight from his first set of tyres, which upset the handling.

#23 SenorSjon

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 08:03

Suzuka 2000 Schumacher and Hakkinen

Both were on a different plane that weekend.

Qualy: 0.009 apart, no 3 on 4 tenths.

Finish 1.837 apart, no 3 on 70 seconds. 



#24 BobbyRicky

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 08:09

Markus Winkelhock at the 2007 European GP is the greatest one.



#25 Nemo1965

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 08:09

I would not name it as THE greatest drive, perhaps not even in the top 5... but Verstappens debut win in Barcelona was insane. Never in my mind, I would've thought it possible that an 18-year old, driving in his second season, first race for the Big Mother Team, would be able to resist the pressure for more than 1 hour. Yes, overtaking at that track was difficult, but Raikkonen came into DRS-range several times, was on Verstappens gearbox for lap after lap. And still the youngster made no mistake.

 

Another nomime not mentioned earlier: John Watson, Detroit 1982. A win from 17th place. Long Beach 1983 was amazing, but at Long Beach there were several good places to overtake. Watch the 1982 Detroit race on Youtube. Watson overtook people in 90 degrees corners, all the time.

 

PS: For your amusement, here is what Wattie said himself about that race, several years later:

 
‘We struggled all the way through practice and qualifying to find grip. In the intermission when the race was stopped Pierre Dupasquier of Michelin, who was one of the smartest men I’ve ever met within motor racing - a very, very smart engineer - came to me and said «John, you’re on the 06 (or whatever it was), the softest tyre. Please go and put on a set of 05s, one compound harder.» Actually it wasn’t so straightforward because in those days there were extremely subtle differences between grades, compounds and construction of tyres and Michelin operated with great secrecy anyway. I’m not sure Pierre didn’t even say «You will win the race.» I went to my mechanics and said «Look, have you guys got some of my 05s?» they dragged some out, strapped them on, the race recommenced, and bit by bit I found myself able to pick up pace. Michelin would never have gone to niki and said the same thing to him because he always ran the 06s whenever he could, so it would have been pointless...’ 
 
‘I caught up to a run of three cars, niki, Cheever and Pironi. In the space of one lap I passed niki into turn 1. He said «I saw you coming and I made way for you to go through» but the point is that niki, again, was acting archetypically. He had convinced him- self it couldn’t be done so he wasn’t doing it. I took Cheever into turn 8 and Pironi into turn 10 (...)  Positive thought is actually as important as anything in any part of motor racing. Look at overtaking. You can send out a message to a car you’re wanting to overtake, and the message is clear: I am coming through. I am not going to be put off by you, I AM coming through. 

Edited by Nemo1965, 19 May 2022 - 08:10.


#26 Claudius

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 08:52

Wouldn't agree with that. They were just doing their job well on the day on those occasions, it wasn't anything extraordinary.

Nice to read through some of these though. It serves as a reminder that we just never know when we're about to be treated to a rare masterclass. They feel more rare in the current era...

 

Let's disagree then. I think the amount of pressure delivered and soaked for an entire race is special.



#27 BRG

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 09:05

Stewart. Germany. 1968. In the rain.

When you can boil an egg waiting for second place . . .

This.

 

In the soaking, streaming wet, not around any old race track, but around the old horribly dangerous Nurburgring - the Green Hell. 

 

Second would be Fangio in Argentina 1955. Where you could have fried an egg on the track surface waiting for second place.


Edited by BRG, 19 May 2022 - 09:05.


#28 Spillage

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 09:11

Hill, Japan, 1994.

Never really understood this one. A very good drive under enormous pressure, but is it really one of the ebst performances ever? Schumacher was a lot faster - he made an extra pitstop and only lost the race by 3 seconds...

I think a lot of the best drives I've seen have already been mentioned. But a couple from the current world champuon: Verstappen's best performance for me is either Brazil 2016 or Austria 2019. Both showed some pretty remorseless superiority oflver the rest of the field.

#29 PlatenGlass

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 09:21

Never really understood this one. A very good drive under enormous pressure, but is it really one of the ebst performances ever? Schumacher was a lot faster - he made an extra pitstop and only lost the race by 3 seconds...

I agree. Hill's race wasn't great in its own right but just a "coming of age" race for Hill at a time when it was just generally expected that Schumacher would beat him. Nice narrative but objectively it's not really anything.

#30 FastReader

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 09:37

Whilst I'm not generally one for "greatest" lists I'd just like to point out that nobody has mentioned Jim Clark at Monza in 1967. To quote from Wikipedia:

 

"After starting from pole, Clark was leading in his Lotus 49 (chassis R2), when a tyre punctured. He lost a lap while having the wheel changed in the pits. Rejoining sixteenth, he advanced through the field, progressively lowering the lap record and eventually equalling his pole time of 1m 28.5s, to regain the lost lap and the lead. He was narrowly ahead of Brabham and Surtees starting the last lap, but his car had not been filled with enough fuel. It faltered, and finally coasted across the finish line in third place."

 

Also unmentioned so far has been Gilles Villeneuve's victory in the Spanish Grand Prix at Jarama in 1981.



#31 Collombin

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 09:52

I suppose the Clark Monza one is tempered by the fact that this was in the days before the DFV was ubiquitous, and that although Clark caught Brabham and Surtees he would never have caught Hill, who retired from a massive lead.

Having said that I was surprised it didn't warrant an earlier mention, and I guess every great drive can be slightly diluted by some caveat or other, which in many cases is a shame.

#32 F1Frog

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 10:16

I forgot Clark at Monza when writing the list but if I had remembered it would definitely have made the top 25.



#33 Baddoer

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 10:19

Pastor Maldonado, Spain 2012. Still no idea how something like that can happen in this world.



#34 FastReader

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 10:22

Another that hasn't been mentioned yet is Stirling Moss, Monaco 1961.



#35 Collombin

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 10:25

Arnoux in Dallas must have been something special, although the TV coverage and race reports seem to have missed it completely.

#36 mikeC

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 10:27

I would rate Jackie Stewart's 1968 Nurburgring above anything Jim Clarke achieved, but Fangio's 1957 drive at the same circuit tops the lot.



#37 FastReader

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 10:29

I suppose the Clark Monza one is tempered by the fact that this was in the days before the DFV was ubiquitous, and that although Clark caught Brabham and Surtees he would never have caught Hill, who retired from a massive lead.

Having said that I was surprised it didn't warrant an earlier mention, and I guess every great drive can be slightly diluted by some caveat or other, which in many cases is a shame.

 

As a caveat to your caveat many drivers would have given up on finding themselves a lap down in 16th place. Clark had to push all the way in order to be in a position to benefit from Hill's retirement.



#38 Frood

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 10:30

Roberto Moreno managing to qualify the Andrea Moda, Monaco 1992.

#39 noikeee

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 10:31

Not the "all time best performance by anyone" but if we're going to mention Alain Prost I'd suggest his performance on the Sunday in Mexico 1990.

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#40 Risil

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 10:32

I should be surprised that Prost and Moss didn't rate even a mention in the OP but then I remembered which section of the forum this is! I reckon between them they would bag at least 5 of my 25 but would need to have a proper think before being certain.

 

What are your other Mosses? Obvs 1961 at Monaco has to be in there. His best drives in a Mercedes were probably in sports car races, as the Grand Prix team seemed mostly to prefer him and Fangio finishing in orderly fashion rather than racing flat out. 1958 in Argentina, or was that too obviously a strategy error from his rivals? Perhaps 1954 in Italy, when he had the measure of Fangio's Mercedes and Ascari's Ferrari before his private-ish Maserati broke down?



#41 Risil

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 10:34

Not the "all time best performance by anyone" but if we're going to mention Alain Prost I'd suggest his performance on the Sunday in Mexico 1990.

 

1982 South African GP too. 



#42 Spillage

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 10:36

Beltoise in Monaco is definitely worth a mention. In the teeming rain he finished more than half a minute head of Ickx - himself a great wet weather driver - and lapped everyone else. A remarkable performance, especially considering he had a damaged arm after an accident early in his career.

Probably one of very few candidates where a driver's only WDC GP win was one of the best ever.

#43 Dratini

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 10:40

I know it's big douche to quote yourself but every time these great drive lists come up I have to mention Alonso's run in Hungary 2014:

While I agree that it was a good performance by Alonso, the race was only damp in the early laps where he was not really a factor at the front. Also, he only held off against Hamilton. Rosberg was battling Lewis, not Fernando, and the moment that Red Bull (Ricciardo) got immediately behind him he passed him.

#44 Collombin

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 11:11

As a caveat to your caveat many drivers would have given up on finding themselves a lap down in 16th place. Clark had to push all the way in order to be in a position to benefit from Hill's retirement.


Indeed. Don't get me wrong, this race would be in my contenders list, and as I said there's probably something you could hold against any of the great drives - not criticism as such (that would be churlish and somewhat pathetic from someone who can't drive a soapy stick up a dog's arse), but merely providing a little more context when comparing all these feats of greatness.

#45 Collombin

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 11:30

What are your other Mosses? Obvs 1961 at Monaco has to be in there


Nurburging that year was a classic too on top of the ones you mentioned but there are also so many occasions he was running away with a race only to retire. For example the Fangio 1957 Nurburgring classic made me think of nominating Brooks the following year on the basis that in 1957 Hawthorn & Collins had essentially been caught napping whereas in 1958 they were much more aware of Brooks hunting them down and still couldn't stop him - but how could I nominate Brooks when teammate Moss had been running away with the race until his retirement?

But yeah the 3 Moss drives I would include are probably the aforementioned Argentina 1958 and the two wins from 1961, whilst ruing not be able to include the stunning Silverstone Intercontinental race from the week before Monaco! Prost would certainly get Kyalami 1982 and possibly 1984, with Suzuka 1987 as a example of him still being lightning quick.

#46 absinthedude

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 11:37

The races that I watched....

 

1979 French GP. Not only the legendary battle for 2nd between Arnoux and Villeneuve but the breakthrough win for Jabouille in the turbo Renault. Turbos had truly arrived. While everyone remembers Rene and Gilles, Jean-Pierre sailed away ahead of them.

 

1981 Spanish GP. Villeneuve using the Ferrari turbo power in the knowledge that nobody could get past him on the straights, and all his skills to prevent more nimble cars with better downforce from passing on the corners....lap after dogged lap....

 

1983 USGP(West)....Watson winning from 127th on the grid, or some equally unlikely position. Mesmerising to watch

 

1985 Portuguese GP....we all knew Senna's day would come, but in the wet at Estoril he was truly masterful

 

1987 British GP....Mansell making up a whole freakin' minute on double WDC Piquet and selling that dummy to him

 

1989 Hungarian GP...in an era where the Hungaroring was definitely known for boring races, Mansell made it come alive with a terrific charge and opportunistic move on Senna.

 

1993 European GP....again, a masterful drive from Senna. 

 

1994 Japanese GP....Hill genuinely puts one over the regenmeister

 

2006 Hungarian GP...Button made all the right calls

 

2021 Brazilian GP.....potential GOAT in potentially his finest race



#47 absinthedude

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 11:39

Of races I didn't see, everyone who witnessed the 1957 German GP is adamant that Fangio put in the greatest drive ever. Fangio himself said he never drove like it before or after. The stats speak for themselves too, breaking the lap record lap after lap in what must have seemed like a hopeless pursuit of the Ferraris. 

 

 

Moss's wins in 1961. Again, everyone who saw them agrees just how great the driver input was

 

JYS in Germany 1968, winning by four minutes in the rain? Genius.



#48 JordanIreland

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 11:51

Michael Schumacher, Hungary, 1998. It was epic !!!!

 

https://www.formula1...nDYlrdJCiC.html

 

Yes, Mika had car trouble, but the overall race was fantastic watch.

 

http://www.atlasf1.c...7&submit=Submit


Edited by JordanIreland, 19 May 2022 - 11:59.


#49 SpeedRacer`

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 11:56

Never really understood this one. A very good drive under enormous pressure, but is it really one of the ebst performances ever? Schumacher was a lot faster - he made an extra pitstop and only lost the race by 3 seconds...

I think a lot of the best drives I've seen have already been mentioned. But a couple from the current world champuon: Verstappen's best performance for me is either Brazil 2016 or Austria 2019. Both showed some pretty remorseless superiority oflver the rest of the field.

 

You know that would've given him a lighter car, right? Often the quicker strategy was a 2 or 3 stopper, as long as you weren't being held up. Seems an odd way to discredit Hill's performance IMO.



#50 zanquis

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Posted 19 May 2022 - 12:29

 

5. Lewis Hamilton, 2021 Brazilian GP. The most recent legendary drive came from the most successful driver of all time, and while it may be harsh not to include Silverstone 2008 here, it was at Interlagos that Hamilton delivered his greatest drive. Having taken a dominant pole position, Hamilton was then disqualified as the DRS flap in his rear wing opened too far. From the back of the sprint, he moved forward and finished fifth, passing 15 cars in a 1/3 length race. Then he was put back another five places for a new gearbox to start the actual race tenth, before again carving through and passing Verstappen late on to take a sensational victory. He was helped by the new engine, but it was still one of the greatest drives of all time.

 

 

To each their own but I don't even see this drive as in the top 50 of great drives, I agree with most of the entire list. But that drive, while great for his fans, was nearly fully carried by a car that was so superior it didn't need to do a single hard overtake, everything where DRS passes on straight. And while the sprintrace results look good, we have seen this before a good driver in the RedBull or mercedes would always carve into top 6 with about 1/3rd race distance in 9 out of 10 times. If anything the sprintrace reduced the drive greatness. I know people might see this as a "hater" but I am not a Lewis hater, before Max I was a Lewis fan anyway.

Races of Hamilton that where easily better and I didn't see on your list: 

Bahrain 2014
Germany 2011

China 2011
British 2008

Each much better but atleast

 

But it is a shame you don't have HIll 94 Japan on your list.