The latest ten in our top F1 videos of all time cover various memorable moments from past American Grands Prix – including one recent controversy we won’t forget in a long time. Plus some excellent vintage on-board footage – and the fastest three-wheeled Formula One car ever seen.
50 – 1988 United States Grand Prix, Detroit – Onboard with Nelson Piquet
Some more footage from the days when onboard cameras became more commonplace in Formula One coverage. This is from the last Grand Prix to be held at the Detroit street circuit, famously tight, narrow and exceptionally twisty. Its demands even caught out Nelson Piquet in this one lap of footage.
49 – 1999 European Grand Prix, Nurburgring – Stewart Grand Prix’s only win
A chaotic European Grand Prix in 1999 produced a surprise winner in Johnny Herbert who took the one and only win for STewart Grand Prix. Title contenders Mika Hakkinen and Eddie Irvine put themselves out of contention with poor tyre choice on a wet/dry day, and the likes of David Coulthard, Giancarlo Fisichella and Ralf Schumacher all took care of thmselves.
Herbert rose above his usual bad luck to claim an emotional win, ahead of Jarno Trulli who gave Prost (formerly Ligier) their last ever podium finish.
48 – 1978 United States Grand Prix West, Long Beach – Lap with Patrick Depailler, commentary by Murray Walker
Action again from an American street track – but this was perhaps the best street track ever to be used for Formula One, up there with glamorous Monaco and fast-but-lethal Montjuich Park. 1978 was the third of only eightGrands Prix to be held at Long Beach, before Formula One priced itself out of the marker and Indy Car moved in (and remains, as Champ Car, to this day).
Several configurations of the Long Beach circuit were used from 1976-83. In 1978 they will still using the classic longer layout which featured the memorable steep drops between some corners, such as out of Cook’s Corner. 1978 was the first year that the start and finish lines were, unusually, in separate places – the start on Shoreline Drive, the finish on Ocean Boulevard.
47 – 1990 United States Grand Prix, Pheonix – Jean Alesi vs Ayrton Senna
An unforgettable encounter at a wholly forgettable venue – Ayrton Senna and Jean Alesi’s memorable dice at the 1990 United States Grand Prix at the angular Pheonix street circuit. Alesi’s nimble Tyrrell with Pirelli tyres was just the thing to lead the race and put an audacious re-pass on Senna, before the superiority of the McLaren and the Brazilian won the day.
Alesi, in his first full season of Formula One, made himself a hero that day, but sadly many would look back on this as the early peak of a career that never delivered on its early promise.
46 – 1973 British Grand Prix, Silverstone – Jody Scheckter causes the first ever red flag
Jody Scheckter triggered a multiple crash as he came out of Woodcote on the end of the first lap of the British Grand Prix in 1973. As the track was blocked, the race organisers stopped the race and restarted it later, the first time any such thing had been done in Formula One.
Latterly the procedure has been largely phased out in favour of using the safety car – though this change has not been entirely popular.
45 – 1976 Japanese Grand Prix, Fuji Speedway – James Hunt wins after a turbulent year
The twists and turns of the 1976 season brought new generations of fans to F1. Niki Lauda’s horrific accident at the Nurburgring, James Hunt’s efforts to close the gap despite being dogged by disqualification, then Lauda’s heroic return mere weeks after being given the last rites – it couldn’t have been scripted better.
After all that the rain-soaked finaly at the Fuji Speedway in Japan was something of a damp squib. Lauda retired rather poignantly, protesting the danger of racing in such terrible weather, scarcely able to blink the water from his eyes due to the horrible injuries he’d received earlier in the year. Hunt scored enough points to claim the championship, but didn’t believe so when he was told and began berating team boss Teddy Mayer before they could get the message through.
44 – 1973 German Grand Prix, Nurburgring – Howden Ganley lapping the Nurburgring Nordschleife, commentary by Jackie Stewart
Some magnificent scenes from a lap of the Nurburgring Nordschleife, just three years before it was struck from the F1 calendar for good. Narrated by Jackie Stewart, this is truly awesome stuff, even more so if you compared it to a contemporary lap of Bahrain of Shanghai…
43 – 1966 Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps – Jackie Stewart’s crash
Jackie Stewart’s experience of crashing at Spa-Francorchamps in 1966, and the terror of being trapped in a car and covered in fuel, spurred him on to agitate for better safety facilities at races. His crusade would regularly bring him into conflict with the authorities, team bosses, circuit owners, and other drivers who felt he was needlessly santising the sport. Who can say just how may drivers owe their life to Stewart’s efforts?
42 – 2005 United States Grand Prix, Indianapolis – Ralf Schumacher crashes in practice
Ralf Schumacher’s crash at the 2004 United States Grand Prix injured his back and ruined his season. It seemed like a horrible coincidence when he crashed at the same corner in practice twelve months later.
Schumacher’s Toyota was pitched out of control by a Michelin tyre failure. It transpired that the failure was caused by flexing of the tyre sidewall – an unanticipated consequence of Michelin’s approach to the 2005 tyre rules. It sparked a bitter controversy in which the FIA refused to offer any compromises that might allow the Michelin-shod teams to race on even terms with their Bridgestone rivals – even if Michelin accepted that their drivers and teams could not score championship points.
The Michelin teams withdrew, and only six cars started the race. It was the greatest farce the sport had seen since the San Marino Grand Prix of 1982. And it may yet prove to have been the final nail in the coffin for F1’s survival in the States.
41 – 1979 Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort – Gilles Villeneuve’s Ferrari tricycle
One of the most celebrated moments in Grand Prix history was the sight of Gilles Villeneuve optimistically dragging his three-whelled Ferrari back to the pits in Zandvoort after a tyre failure. He drove back at such speed that the rear of the car began to fall apart, the machine patently irreperable.
His dogged determination and pure racer’s instinct made him the hero of millions – including countless others who only came to know his performances long after his untimely death.
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