If we could have scripted it, F1′s 100th winner might have been crowned at one of the great tracks – Spa, perhaps, or Monza. And he would have triumphed after a thrilling wheel-to-wheel duel over the final laps.
Instead, Felipe Massa’s engine blew at the Hungaroring and Heikki Kovalainen was there to take the win. Oh well…
All but one of the last ten drivers to win a Grand Prix are still racing in F1 – so who’s the odd one out? And of the last ten drivers to win a F1 race Fernando Alonso has racked up the most Grand Prix wins so far with 19 – but Kimi Raikkonen is catching him quickly. Read on to find out more about the last ten drivers to win a Grand Prix for the first time.
91. Juan Pablo Montoya
First win: 2001 Italian Grand Prix, Monza
Total wins: 7
In just his third race Juan Pabo Montoya made sure everyone in the F1 circus knew who he was, by barging past Michael Schumacher and running away with the lead of the Brazilian Grand Prix. But it ended in disaster when he was rammed out of the race by a lapped Jos Verstappen.
He scored his first F1 win in sombre circumstances at Monza following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In 2002 he scored a lot of pole positions but failed to turn any of them into race wins as the quicker Ferraris inevitably passed his Williams. He had a few more run-ins with Schumacher as well, the pair clashing at Sepang and Interlagos.
Montoya won at Monaco the following year and came into contention for the championship. But an infamous rules change late in the season interrupted Williams’ momentum and Montoya picked up a questionable penalty after a collision with Rubens Barrichello at Indianapolis which ended his title hopes.
He left Williams at the end of 2004, after scoring what remains their final win to date, at Interlagos. Joining McLaren gave him a potentially championship-winning car but a two-race absence due to injury resigned him to supporting Kimi Raikkonen’s title bid, though he scored three wins for himself.
During 2006, without a car capable of challenging for wins, Montoya became disillusioned with F1 and quit the sport to join NASCAR after the United States Grand Prix.
Read more about Juan Pablo Montoya: Juan Pablo Montoya biography
92. Kimi Raikkonen
First win: 2003 Malaysian Grand Prix, Sepang
Total wins: 17
Raikkonen made his debut for Sauber in 2001 despite having only made 23 starts in other racing categories. The FIA only granted him a superlicence on a provisional basis, but within a couple of starts he had assuaged fears about his maturity behind the wheel.
He joined McLaren the following year and in 2003 became a race winner for the first time at Sepang. Raikkonen almost won the following race at Interlagos, but a mix-up by the stewards meant the rightful winner was later confirmed as being Giancarlo Fisichella (below). With consistent points-scoring Raikkonen kept Schumacher in sight until the final round, but he narrowly missed out on the title.
The following season was a severe test of a character with a woefully unreliable car. But late in the season the revised MP4/19 came good and Raikkonen scored the first of three wins at Spa-Francorchamps.
He was championship runner-up again in 2005 after a season where he won with regularity but was often frustrated by car problems. By the Japanese Grand Prix the title was already gone but Raikkonen scored a stunning victory from 17th on the grid, passing Fisichella on the final lap.
After a dreary 2006 Raikkonen was confirmed as the man who would take Schumacher’s place at Ferrari. His career with the Scuderia began perfectly with a win at Melbourne, but a slump early in the season left Raikkonen lagging behind the championship.
But he mounted an improbable comeback late in the year and edged the title by a single point over the two McLaren drivers. He’s in the championship hunt once again this year and a second title is a distinct possibility.
Read more about Kimi Raikkonen: Kimi Raikkonen biography
93. Giancarlo Fisichella
First win: 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos
Total wins: 3
A series of mis-timed moves between teams frustrated the early part of Fisichella’s career as he switched between Minardi, Jordan, Benetton and then Jordan again. He scored a surprise victory in the rain-hit Brazilian Grand Prix of 2003 but left the team to join Sauber at the end of the year.
Another move brought him to Renault (formerly Benetton) in 2005, and he won his first Grand Prix back with the team at Melbourne. But this was not the shape of things to come as Fernando Alonso usually had the beating of his team mate. Fisichella only won once more, at Sepang in 2006, before leaving the team at the end of 2007.
He now drives for the former Jordan team once again, now re-branded as Force India.
Read more about Giancarlo Fisichella: Giancarlo Fisichella biography
94. Fernando Alonso
First win: 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix, Hungaroring
Total wins: 19
After an impressive season with Minardi in 2001, Alonso was made Renault’s test driver for the following season before graduating to the race team in 2003. He became the youngest driver to score a pole position at Sepang and then the youngest race-winner after dominating the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The next season was something of a disappointment after that, with the R24 usually not able to compete with Ferrari’s F2004. But Renault prepared themselves superbly for 2005 and Alonso had a race-winning machine at his disposal right from the off. He racked up wins and podium finishes with such consistency that Raikkonen could do nothing to overhaul him, and Alonso was champion.
His 2006 championship victory, scored against a Schumacher-Ferrari combination that was back at full strength, was even better. Alonso took an early lead in the championship but came under mounting pressure as Ferrari closed the gap late in the season. At times the stress told – Alonso fumed with rage after a penalty decision went against him at Monza – but he hung on to take the title.
Alonso had revealed at the end of 2005 that he would join McLaren in 2007. But the switch fell apart very quickly in deeply acrimonious circumstances. Alonso repeatedly criticised the team in public and said he was not getting the support he felt he deserved. He won four times for the team, but ended the year one point behind champion Raikkonen. Alonso’s contract was terminated at the end of the season and he returned to Renault.
Read more about Fernando Alonso: Fernando Alonso biography
95. Jarno Trulli
First win: 2004 Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo
Total wins: 1
Trulli entered F1 with Minardi but moved up to Prost mid-season after Olivier Panis broke his legs. He did two full seasons with the team before joining Jordan. Trulli developed a reputation for qualifying better than he raced, which he struggled to shake off in three seasons with Renault.
Finally at Monte-Carlo in 2004 he stuck the car on pole and not even team mate Alonso could dislodge him during the race. But Flavio Briatore lost faith in the Italian and he was dropped by the team before the end of the season.
Trulli moved to Toyota and the team enjoyed their most competitive season in 2005, with the Italian scoring a pair of second places early in the year. He also gave them their first pole position, though it was on the eve of the Indianapolis debacle.
The next two seasons were a waste but this year Toyota have been regularly in the points and Trulli was back on the podium at Magny-Cours.
Read more about Jarno Trulli: Jarno Trulli biography
96. Jenson Button
First win: 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix, Hungaroring
Total wins: 1
Williams found themselves a driver short ahead of the 2000 season after Alessandro Zanardi’s return to F1 failed to work out the year before. Button, then an F3 driver, got the nod after being tested alongside Bruno Junquiera.
He had an impressive first season including fourth place at the Hockenheimring, but had to make way for Juan Pablo Montoya in 2001 and his year at Benetton proved disastrous. The team became Renault for 2002 and although Button’s results improved he was dropped to make way for Alonso.
He drove for BAR in 2003 and the following year the team hit their strongest form yet. Button scored plenty of podiums, but never managed to wrest a win from the dominant Ferraris.
The team took a step backwards in 2005 but the following year, having been taken over by Honda, Button seized his opportunity to score a win in the wet Hungarian Grand Prix. He was aided by Alonso’s retirement, but this was still a fine win from 14th on the grid.
Button has seen little of the sharp end of a Grand Prix since. Honda had a terrible 2007 and this year has been little better.
Read more about Jenson Button: Jenson Buttion biography
97. Felipe Massa
First win: 2006 Turkish Grand Prix
Total wins: 8
Massa took an unconventional route to Formula 1 via the European Formula 3000 championship (not the F1-supporting category). He arrived at Sauber in 2002 being hailed as the next Kimi Raikkonen but an erratic, error-strewn first season hurt his reputation.
A year testing for Ferrari seemed to do him good and he returned as a more composed driver in 2004. In 2005 he fared well alongside ex-world champion team mate Jacques Villeneuve, and was signed to partner Michael Schumacher in 2006.
The year didn’t start well but there were clear signs of improvement from Massa and at Istanbul he scored his maiden victory – he has now won the last three races at the track. Massa was in the running for the title last year until the last two races. He has won three more races this year and, along with team mate Raikkonen, is in the thick of the championship battle.
Read more about Felipe Massa: Felipe Massa biography
98. Lewis Hamilton
First win: 2007 Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal
Total wins: 8
Hamilton had an excellent pedigree when he made his F1 debut – F3 Euroseries champion and GP2 champion in the previous two seasons – but few expected him to play anything more than a supporting role to Fernando Alonso in his first year with McLaren. Of course, things didn’t turn out that way.
Hamilton’s prodigious performance last year brought him into conflict with Alonso and the British driver led the championship from early in the season until the final rounds. At Shanghai he slithered out of the race on destroyed tyres after postponing a pit stop far too long, then at Brazil a gearbox glitch sent him tumbling down the field, allowing Raikkonen to grab the title by a point.
He got 2008 off to a promising start, winning at Melbourne, but a series of incidents early in the year handed the advantage to Ferrari. Since then McLaren have bounced back and Hamilton is leading the title race once again.
Read more about Lewis Hamilton: Lewis Hamilton biography
99. Robert Kubica
First win: 2008 Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal
Total wins: 1
Kubica took Jacques Villeneuve’s place in the BMW team late in 2006 and scored a fine podium finish in Italy. The following season he led at Shanghai but his car suffered a rare failure.
This year BMW have become F1’s third-best team and Kubica scored his first pole position at Bahrain. At Montreal he was perfectly placed to win when Hamilton crashed into Raikkonen. He became the first ever Polish driver to win a Grand Prix.
Read more about Robert Kubica: Robert Kubica biography
100. Heikki Kovalainen
First win: 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix
Total wins: 1
Kovalainen took Alonso’s place at Renault in 2007 having been test driver for the team the year before. His season didn’t start well but by the end of the year he had overtaken his more experienced team mate Giancarlo Fisichella.
Nonetheless Renault released him from his contract and Kovalainen joined McLaren – moving into Alonso’s vacant seat once again. He suffered some truly appalling luck early in the season – including a violent crash at Barcelona after a wheel hub failure. But luck turned his way at the Hungaroring – he was running second with three laps to go when Massa’s engine below.
With that twist of fate, Heikki Kovalainen became the 100th man to win a Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Read more about Heikki Kovalainen: Heikki Kovalainen biography
100 F1 race winners
100 F1 race winners part 1: 1950-1953
100 F1 race winners part 2: 1953-1958
100 F1 race winners part 3: 1959-1962
100 F1 race winners part 4: 1962-1968
100 F1 race winners part 5: 1968-1973
100 F1 race winners part 6: 1974-1977
100 F1 race winners part 7: 1977-1982
100 F1 race winners part 8: 1982-1993
100 F1 race winners part 9: 1993-2001
100 F1 race winners part 10: 2001-2008
100 F1 race winners: statistics