History repeating: F1’s three-way title deciders

F1 historyPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, Fuji Speedway, 2007 | DaimlerThree drivers will go into the last race of the season still able to win the championship.

It’s the first time this has happened since 1986. Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will be hoping Lewis Hamilton has the same kind of luck Nigel Mansell did on that fateful occasion…

Here’s what happened on the eight occasions three drivers went into the last round still able to win the title – starting with the very first championship of all.

1950: Giuseppe Farina

Before the final round:

Juan Manuel Fangio 26
Luigi Fagioli 24
Giuseppe Farina 22

The first world championship came down to a battle between the three Alfa Romeo drivers. Farina claimed the title by winning the finale at Monza after Fangio’s gearbox failed.

After the final round:

Giuseppe Farina 30
Juan Manuel Fangio 27
Luigi Fagioli 24

1959: Jack Brabham

Jack Brabham 31
Stirling Moss 25.5
Tony Brooks 23

All eyes were on the title duel between Brabham and Moss, though Brooks had an outside chance. Moss was leading by a substantial margin when his Cooper’s gearbox failed. Although Brabham had to push his car across the line he was still champion.

Jack Brabham 31
Tony Brooks 27
Stirling Moss 25.5

1964: John Surtees

Graham Hill 39
John Surtees 34
Jim Clark 30

Clark had to win in Mexico with Hill not scoring to be champion, but in the end neither of them were. Hill was involved in a controversial clash with Surtees’ team mate Lorenzo Bandini. It was Surtees who won the title by a single point.

John Surtees 40
Graham Hill 39
Jim Clark 32

1968: Graham Hill

Graham Hill 39
Jackie Stewart 36
Denny Hulme 33

Graham Hill didn’t let the pressure get to him and won his second title by scoring a victory at the scene of his disappointment four years earlier.

Graham Hill 48
Jackie Stewart 36
Denny Hulme 33

1974: Emerson Fittipaldi

Before the final round:

Emerson Fittipaldi 52
Clay Regazzoni 52
Jody Scheckter 45

The top two went in the final round tied on points but Carlos Reutemann won the race while fourth place gave Fittipaldi his second title.

After the final round:

Emerson Fittipaldi 55
Clay Regazzoni 52
Jody Scheckter 45

1981: Nelson Piquet

Carlos Reutemann 49
Nelson Piquet 48
Jacques Laffite 43

Reutemann famously blew it under pressure at Las Vegas. Despite starting on pole he limped home eighth, with Piquet fifth taking the two points he needed.

At the end of this close season five drivers were covered by just seven points (Laffite on 44, Alain Prost 43) – if only there had been one more round!

Nelson Piquet 50
Carlos Reutemann 49
Alan Jones 46

1983: Nelson Piquet

Before the final round:

Alain Prost 57
Nelson Piquet 55
Rene Arnoux 49

Piquet took the title from Prost in an anti-climactic finale that saw both his title rivals retire. Piquet dropped to third, allowing team mate Riccardo Patrese to win, not wishing to over-stretch his Brabham.

After the final round:

Nelson Piquet 59
Alain Prost 57
Rene Arnoux 49

1986: Alain Prost

Before the final round:

Nigel Mansell 70
Alain Prost 64
Nelson Piquet 63

Mansell needed only to finish third to win the championship. He was set to take the championship when, without warning, his left-rear tyre exploded at speed, spinning him out of the race.

It left Piquet in the lead but, fearing the same would happen to him, he pitted, letting Prost through to win the race and the championship.

After the final round:

Alain Prost 72
Nigel Mansell 70
Nelson Piquet 69

NB. There were up to four drivers mathematically able to win the title in 1982. One of them, Didier Pironi, had been badly injured earlier in the year and was unable to race. The fourth, Niki Lauda, was racing under appeal from his disqualification at Zolder earlier that year. He lost the appeal.

Photo: Daimler

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