David Coulthard and Rubens Barrichello, who scored their first wins in 1995 and 2000 respectively, are the first active drivers in this series looking at F1′s 100 race winners.
Plus two famous one-hit wonder of the mid-90s: Jean Alesi and Olivier Panis.
81. Jean Alesi
First win: 1995 Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal
Total wins: 1
When Alesi burst onto the scene with Tyrrell in 1989, scoring fourth on his debut, he was tipped as a future world champion.
A full season with Tyrrell in 1990 brought mixed results but he was still in demand among the top teams. Faced with the choice of joining Williams or Ferrari he picked the latter – which turned out to be a mistake.
Ferrari failed to win at all between 1991 and 1993 – something which seems difficult to believe given their recent levels of success – but began to recover after the arrival f Jean Todt as team principal.
Alesi came close to wins on several occasions but things finally went his way at Montreal in 1995 and he scored an emotional first win – and the last for a Ferrari carrying number 27, which had been associated with Gilles Villeneuve since his death 13 years earlier.
But he found himself squeezed out of the team as Todt brought in Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine. Alesi failed to win with reigning champions Benetton in 1996, switched to Sauber in 1998, then Prost in 2000. Alesi retired at the end of 2001, having substituted for Heinz-Harald Frentzen at Jordan, the team for whom he had won the Formula 3000 championship back when his career seemed to hold so much promise.
Read more about Jean Alesi: Jean Alesi biography
82. Johnny Herbert
First win: 1995 British Grand Prix
Total wins: 3
Herbert was one of the bright young things of F3000 but he broke his legs very badly in a huge crash at Brands Hatch in 1988. Nonetheless he made his F1 debut for Benetton in 1989 and scored points in his first race, despite still in severe pain from his injuries.
He was dropped by the team mid-way through the year as he struggled to get up to full fitness. After driving for Lotus he returned to Benetton at the end of 1994 ahead of a full season in 1995.
On two occasions that year team mate Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill would collide and Herbert was handily placed to scoop up the wins – at Silverstone and Monza. But he was out of the team at the end of the season.
Herbert moved to Sauber for 1996 which offered him no more than occasional points and podium finishes. Joining the improving Stewart team in 1999 he took advantage of mixed weather conditions in the European Grand Prix to give the team its first win – and his last. Stewart became Jaguar over the winter and Herbert suffered a frustrating year as the team declined in form. He left F1 at the end of the year.
83. David Coulthard
First win: 1995 Portuguese Grand Prix, Estoril
Total wins: 13
The first active driver in this series, almost 13 years have passed since Coulthard scored his maiden win for Williams in the Portuguese Grand Prix. He had driven intermittently for the team in 1994 following Ayrton Senna’s death, then got a full-time seat for 1995.
Coulthard joined McLaren in 1996 and would stay there for nine years, spending six alongside Mika Hakkinen. In 1997 he ended the team’s four-year winless streak at Melbourne and gave the McLaren-Mercedes partnership its first of many wins.
However the final round at Jerez was a sign of things to come as Coulthard was asked to make way so Hakkinen could score his maiden win. Coulthard voluntarily gave up the lead in the season-opener at Melbourne in 1998, this time after Hakkinen had accidentally made an unnecessary pit stop. It set the tone for the next three seasons and Hakkinen usually held the upper hand, Coulthard only occasionally having the beating of his team mate.
In 2000 Coulthard was fortunate to escape with his life after a light aircraft accident which killed the plane’s pilots. At France that year he was in top form and passed Michael Schumacher to win. He did the same at Interlagos in 2001 and briefly challenged Schumacher for the championship, but couldn’t keep pace with the F2001 over the course of the season.
Paired with Kimi Raikkonen for 2002 Coulthard took an excellent win at Monte-Carlo but otherwise the season was one to forget. So it was in 2003 as well when, despite winning at Melbourne once more, it was Raikkonen who took the championship battle to the finale instead of Coulthard. He toiled through 2004 with the uncompetitive MP4/19 before being dropped for Juan Pablo Montoya.
Many expected him to retire but instead he switched to Red Bull. He gave the team its first podium finish in 2006 but at Silverstone this year announced he will retire at the end of the year.
Read more about David Coulthard: David Coulthard biography
84. Jacques Villeneuve
First win: 1996 European Grand Prix
Total wins: 11
Son of Ferrari hero Gilles Villeneuve, Jacques caused a storm by beating Williams team mate Damon Hill to pole position on his debut at Melbourne. But for a broken oil line, probably incurred while bouncing across the grass while defending his lead from Hill, Villeneuve surely would have won.
He didn’t have to wait long though and scored his first win by the fourth round, and chased Hill for the title all year. An excellent win at Estoril, achieved by passing Michael Schumacher around the outside of the Parabolica corner, set up a championship decider at Suzuka, but a lost wheel thwarted Villeneuve’s hopes.
The following year, with Hill replaced by Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Villeneuve won the championship. The last race was infamous as Schumacher hit Villeneuve while trying to keep the Williams behind, but Villeneuve hung on to take the title.
Williams slumped in 1998 as they had lost their works Renault engines. So Villeneuve embarked on an ambitious new project headed by manager Craig Pollock to form a new team, BAR. It got off to a disastrous start, Villeneuve failing to score all year.
Arguably he wasted the beat years of his career on the BAR project. It was only when Pollock was ousted and David Richards installed as a replacement that the team started to come good. But Villeneuve and Richards didn’t get on and the Canadian driver left the team on the eve of the 2003 season finale.
Villeneuve made a brief return with Renault at the end of 2004 before joining Sauber in 2005. He had an indifferent season alongside Felipe Massa but stayed with the team as it became BMW in 2006. But halfway through the season he was dropped for Robert Kubica.
Read more about Jacques Villeneuve: Jacques Villeneuve biography
85. Olivier Panis
First win: 1996 Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo
Total wins: 1
Panis was the last driver to score a victory for the Ligier team and the last Frenchman to win a Grand Prix, triumphing at a damp Monaco in 1996. He was aided by the retirements of Damon Hill and Jean Alesi but he used a mixture of patience and belligerence to move up through thr field early in the race.
He would never repeat that win though he looked on course to do so during 1997, after the team had become Prost. But he crashed badly at Montreal, breaking his legs, and although he was back in the car by the end of the year he seemed to have lost his edge.
Prost quickly dropped down the order so Panis took a gamble on becoming a McLaren test driver in 2000 before returning to race action with BAR in 2001. He moved on to Toyota in 2003 and left F1 late in 2004.
86. Heinz-Harald Frentzen
First win: 1997 San Marino Grand Prix, Imola
Total wins: 3
Frentzen was favourably compared to Michael Schumacher during their junior teams and arrived in F1 with Sauber, the team that had run both drivers in sports cars. After a string of impressive drives he was picked up by Williams but largely struggled in 1997, despite winning at Imola.
He fared better in 1998 but was dropped and joined Jordan where he reminded everyone of his earlier promise by winning twice and putting the team in the hunt for the championship.
In 2000 the car’s pace and reliability were less good and Frentzen found himself under pressure from team mate Jarno Trulli. He was dropped by Jordan halfway through 2001 and moved to Prost. Frentzen began 2002 with Arrows but the team collapsed halfway through the year. After a final season with Sauber he left F1.
87. Mika Hakkinen
First win: 1997 European Grand Prix, Jerez
Total wins: 20
Hakkinen became a McLaren tesst driver after racing for Lotus and got his break late in 1993 when Michael Andretti left the team. Hakkinen impressed by out-qualifying Ayrton Senna on his first race for the team but the following years would be a slog as McLaren went through a series of engine partners.
He finally had a winning car under him in 1997 but suffered a pair if failures while leading at Silverstone and the Nurburgring. His first win finally came at the end of the year and he went into 1998 on a high.
With the rapid MP4/13 at his disposal he won eight times and beat Schumacher to the championship. Despite a few wobbles he made it back-to-back titles in 1999.
In 2000 McLaren and Ferrari were neck-and-neck for pace and Hakkinen and Schumacher fought it out for the championship once again. Hakkinen scored the best win of his career at Spa-Francorchamps, passing Schumacher in a thrilling three-wide move at Les Combes to win. But Schumacher pipped him to the title.
In 2001 the fight seemed to have gone out of Hakkinen and a crash in the season-opener at Melbourne brought back memories of his near-fatal shunt six years earlier. It put retirement on his mind and although he suggested he might take a sabbatical in 2002 he never returned to F1 racing. However he did drive a McLaren in a post-season test in November 2006.
Read more about Mika Hakkinen: Mika Hakkinen biography
88. Eddie Irvine
First win: 1999 Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne
Total wins: 4
Irvine was making a decent living racing in Japan when he was picked up by Jordan to race in Suzuka in 1993. He famously un-lapped himself from Ayrton Senna and was punched by the former champion when the pair argued about it afterwards.
After two more years with Jordan he was picked up by Ferrari to become Michael Schumacher’s team mate. He lagged behind Schumacher at first but in 1999 he won an attrition-hit season opener at Melbourne and became more outspoken about his desire to be allowed to compete with Schumacher.
When Schumacher broke his leg at Silverstone Irvine took over the role of team leader. He took wins at Austria, Hockenheim and Sepang – the latter pair handed to him by Mika Salo and a returning Schumacher respectively. When it came to the deciding race at Suzuka Irvine could do nothing to stop Hakkinen winning the title again.
With that he was off to Join Jaguar but the team made little progress in three years and he was dropped.
Read more about Eddie Irvine: Eddie Irvine biography
89. Rubens Barrichello
First win: 2000 German Grand Prix, Hockenheimring
Total wins: 9
Now F1’s longest-serving driver, Barrichello made his first Grand Prix start in 1993 with Jordan, and stayed with the team for five years. After that he joined Stewart and scored an emotional second place for the team at Monte-Carlo in 1997.
The 1998 season was without such highs but the 1999 car proved very competitive and Barrichello was in the running for victory at Interlagos before retiring. He missed out on scoring the team’s first win – Herbert winning it instead – but took Irvine’s seat at Ferrari for 2000.
Although he rarely got on terms with Michael Schumacher he scored his first win at the Hockenheimring partly thanks to a safety car intervention and partly thanks to a brave gamble to stay on track on dry-weather tyres as rain started to fall.
He didn’t win again until 2002 – he should have been first at Austria that year but he handed the win to Schumacher on Jean Todt’s instructions. After winning for himself at the Nurburgring he was handed victory at Indianapolis and it was hard to avoid the impression that some of his wins in 2004 came the same way.
But that was not true of his two wins in 2003, which must rate among his best. He out-raced Kimi Raikkonen to win at Silverstone that year and ran away with victory at Suzuka.
In 2005 his number two status to Schumacher finally started to rankle and he left the team at the end of the year. It proved poor timing as Schumacher himself left at the end of 2006 and Barrichello might have had the chance to succeed him at the team.
Instead he joined Honda where he generally trailed Jenson Button in 2006 and 2007 but has beaten Button several times this year – and took a fine third in the rain at Silverstone.
Read more about Rubens Barrichello: Rubens Barrichello biography
90. Ralf Schumacher
First win: 2001 San Marino Grand Prix, Imola
Total wins: 6
The younger brother of Michael Schumacher, Ralf found it hard to shake of suggestions that his surname got him into F1 – even after he started winning races.
He spent his first two years with Jordan, scoring an early podium in 1997 at Argentina though only after running into team mate Giancarlo Fisichella. He left the team to join Williams in 1999 and easily out-paced Alessandro Zanardi but the following year Jenson Button got too close for comfort on more than one occasion.
In 2001 he had another new team mate – Juan Pablo Montoya – and although rumours quickly spread that they didn’t get on they remained team mates until 2004. Ralf broke his duck at Imola and further wins followed at Montreal and Hockenheim. The new Williams wasn’t fast enough to contend for the title in 2002 but he won once more, at Sepang.
The following year he and Montoya had a competitive Williams and Ralf won at the Nurburgring and Magny-Cours. But a crash in practice for the Italian Grand Prix spoiled his end to the season.
He suffered another heavy impact at Indianapolis the following year and had to miss six races. After then he never seemed quite as quick as he had been although he scored consistent points throughout 2005, now with Toyota.
The team fell off the pace in 2006 and 2007 and Schumacher’s motivation seemed to vanish along with it. He left F1 at the end of 2007.
Read more about Ralf Schumacher: Ralf Schumacher biography