The final part of our top 100 countdown of the best F1 moments captured on video. The top ten F1 videos includes the notorious controversies at Suzuka, some legendary races from Monza, and a couple of amazing encounters in Jerez, of all places.
But none of these is number one. To find out what is, read on…
10 – 1994 Australian Grand Prix, Adelaide – Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill collide in championship finale
After a fraught and tragic season, the greatest controversy came at the last race. Schumacher would have had the championship wrapped up long ago had he not clocked up a string of disqualifications. Perhaps this was playing on his mind when, on lap 35, he slid off course turning onto Flinders Street and hit the wall. Knowing his car was terminally damaged, he turned in on title rival Damon Hill at the following corner, taking Hill out of the race as well, and with it winning the championship.
Onlookers were outraged. But the Williams team issued no protest – recently their former technical director Patrick Head suggested they might well have done so, had it not been for the death earlier that year of Ayrton Senna.
9 – 1986 Spanish Grand Prix, Jerez – Nigel Mansell vs Ayrton Senna
Another classic Nigel Mansell charge. Having led the race early on Mansell dropped back after a tyre change. He reeled in leaders Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost but was held up trying to pass Prost. Once he squeezed his Williams-Honda past the McLaren-TAG it was him versus Senna in a sprint to the finish. Senna made it – just – the two separated by 0.014s at the line.
The line itself had been moved back down the track for logistical reasons earlier that weekend. Had it stayed in its original location, Mansell would have won. Gutted.
8 – 1970 Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo – Jack Brabham crashes on the final lap, handing victory to Jochen Rindt
Jack Brabham looked home and dry to win the 1970 Monaco Grand Prix. Jackie Stewart had led early on but when his engine began to misfire, Brabham took the lead on lap 27. With four laps to go he had a seemingly comfortable nine-second gap over Jochen Rindt. But Rindt was hacking into Brabham’s lead at a frightening pace. While Brabham dawdled in traffic, Rindt was lapping at qualifying pace.
As they began the final lap Brabham had another three lapped cars ahead of him. Brabham approached the final corner – the old Gasworks hairpin – offline, looking to pass Piers Courage’s de Tomaso. He braked too late and slithered into the hay. Rindt flew past and crossed the line to win the Grand Prix, having only lead the final tour, on which he set the fastest lap of the race.
7 – 1990 Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka – Ayrton Senna hits Alain Prost to win the World Championship
The sequel to the 1989 encounter, and to many there more shocking of the two because of the speed at which Ayrton Senna took Alain Prost out of the race. Without a moment’s hesitation or regard for the safety of Prost, himself or any of the other drivers, Senna rammed Prost off at the first corner of the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix to win the championship. It was outrageous, but there was nothing the FIA or its incandescent President Jean-Marie Balestre could do to punish him.
Senna radical move was inspired by his dormant fury at what had happened in 1989, and fuelled still further by his outrage at having won pole position for the race, but not being allowed to exercise what had been the fastest driver’s right to choose which side of the grid he started from. Senna reasoned that if Prost gained an advantage at the start, the responsibility for the consequences did not rest with himself. Dangerous reasoning.
6 – 1997 European Grand Prix, Jerez – Michael Schumacher vs Jacques Villeneuve
Three years after the Adelaide scandal, Michael Schumacher found himself in his second final round championship decider. And once again, he was leading his rival when the incident happened. Villeneuve had caught Schumacher and dived for the inside at the Curva Dry Sack. Schumacher’s onboard camera vividly showed him swinging the Ferrari at the Williams, causing a collision.
But this time the Williams was undamaged. Schumacher’s Ferrari rolled to the outside of the track, beached, and stopped. Villeneuve motored on and won the championship, The Jerez incident, combined with the Adelaide controversy in 1994, forever tainted the reputation of one of the most gifted drivers the sport has ever seen.
5 – 1971 Italian Grand Prix, Monza – Closest finish between five cars
The 1971 Italian Grand Prix would be the last one held at Monza before the introduction of chicanes to slow the cars down. It was the last of the great slipstreaming races – and what a battle it was! Eight different leaders, in 55 laps. The largest number of consecutive laps anyone held the lead for was six.
Ronnie Peterson led as they began the final lap, but as five cars dashed for the line coming out of Parabolica it was Peter Gethin first, one-hunderedth of a second ahead of Peterson. The first five cars were covered by just 0.61 seconds. There will surely never be another race quite so close ever again.
4 – 1989 Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka – Alain Prost hits Ayrton Senna to win the World Championship
Relations between Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna had broken down much earlier in 1989. Prost accused Senna of reneging on an agreement in the San Marino Grand Prix, and with Prost off to Ferrari for 1990 the gloves were well and truly off.
Prost was sick of what he perceived as Senna’s intimidatory tactics and vowed not to be a soft touch when they raced. He went considerably futher than that, as it happened. The Frenchman led lap after lap of the Japanese Grand Prix, but Senna began to close late in the race. On lap 46, Senna dived down the inside of Prost at the chicane, Prost seized his opportunity and turned in on Senna, forcing a collision.
Prost knew that, with Senna out, he would be champion. Senna had other ideas, disentangled his car and raced on to win. But his efforts were in vain – the stewards disqualified him for cutting the chicane as he rejoined the circuit (a minor infringement which, twelve months later, he wouldn’t have been punished for) and Prost was champion. Senna vowed revenge which came, as we have seen, exactly one year later.
3 – 1967 Italian Grand Prix, Monza – Clark nearly wins from a lap down; Surtees pips Brabham
The 1967 Italian Grand Prix could have been written to a script. Clark led early on but was forced to pit because of a puncture. But despite dropping to over a lap down in 15th, Clark unlapped himself and picked off the cars ahead of him one by one until he was leading again! But this was to be no fairytale ending.
His Lotus boss Colin Chapman was notorious for running his cars as light and lean on fuel as possible, and Monza was one of several occasions when he got it wrong. Clark ran out of fuel at the Lesmo bends on the final lap, dropping to third.
John Surtees’ Honda and Jack Brabham’s Brabham thundered past, now disputing the lead. Approaching the final Parabolica turn, Surtees let Brabham have a run up the inside knowing his rival would run wide onto cement dust and be compromised. Sure enough, Surtees beat Brabham to the lead by a scant two tenths of a second.
2 – 1986 Australian Grand Prix, Adelaide – Alain Prost wins a three-way championship fight after Mansell’s tye blows
The second Grand Prix at Adelaide played host to the greatest championship finale ever. Nigel Mansell led the championship ahead of Alain Prost and Nelson Piquet. Mansell was favourite, needing only a third place finish to guarantee the title under the slightly complicated ‘best eleven scored count’ system.
But the teams and drivers were caught out by surprisingly high tyre degradation. When Keke Rosberg retired with a de-laminated Goodyear, he though his engine had blown. No-one realised until Mansell’s tyre exploded, 19 laps from home, cruising to the title. The powerful explosion, shower of sparks and Mansell sliding to a stop provide one of the most recognisable and compelling pieces of Formula One footage.
Piquet made an emergency tyre stop and lost the lead to the wily Prost, who had taken on new tyres much earlier. He became champion the a second time.
1 – 1979 French Grand Prix, Dijon – Gilles Villeneuve vs Rene Arnoux
There was never any doubt, was there? The greatest moment of Formula One footage there’s ever been can only be the epic duel between Gilles Villeneuve and Rene Arnoux at the 1979 French Grand Prix at Dijon.
This wasn’t a battle for a championship; this wasn’t even a battle for the race win. This was a no-holds-barred duel for pride.Arnoux’s Renault was packing a 1.5-litre turbo and was kinder to its Michelin tyres. So when he passed Villeneuve with a handful of laps to go that should have been that. But when Villeneuve dived past again into the first corner, tyres locked solid and billowing smoke, the two began slugging it out until the chequred flag fell.
Sit back, watch, and enjoy.
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