How Murray Walker made great F1 championship moments special (Video)

Damon Hill wins the 1996 F1 title while Murray Walker chokes back a sob (C) Sutton

Damon Hill wins the 1996 F1 title while Murray Walker chokes back a sob (C) Sutton

You never forget a great championship-deciding moment. But what can turn a memorable moment into an emotional peak is a well-delivered commentary.

Whether shocking, joyous or poignant, these are some of the great high points, for me, of recent years.

No surprise the commentary for much of them was supplied by Murray Walker – whether it was Nigel Mansell’s tyre exploding, controversial clashes between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost or Jacques Villeneuve and Michael Schumacher, or Damon Hill becoming the first champion’s son to win a world title, Murray was there, trousers ablaze…

1986 Adelaide: Nigel Mansell

And look at that! And colossally that’s Mansell! THAT IS NIGEL MANSELL! Now this could change and will change the world championship…

1989 Suzuka: Alain Prost vs Ayrton Senna

This is the opportunity that Senna’s looking for, and he’s going through… OUT! Oh my goodness! This is fantastic! They meet – this is what we were fearing might happen during the race. And that means to say that Prost has won the world championship.

1990 Suzuka: Alain Prost vs Ayrton Senna II

And Senna spints away – but Alain Prost takes the lead. It’s happened. Alain Prost has taken the advantage, Senna is trying to go through on the inside – and it’s happened immediately! This is amazing! Senna goes off at the first corner! But what has happened to Prost? He has gone off too! Well that is amazing but, I fear, absolutely… predictable.

Suzuka 1996: Damon Hill

(from 3’47)

This is going to be a mighty emotional occasion for a lot of people, not the least of whom is myself but Damon Hill will be concentrating in the cockpit, there, but when he comes out of it his arms will go up and the helmet will come off – there is his wife, Georgie, she’s seen her husband become world champion, now she’s seeing him win the Japanese Grand Prix because he is almost home.

This is something that many people didn’t think could possibly happen today, they thought Damon would drive a cautious race, but he fought, He fought from second on the grid, he passed Jacques Villeneuve, he took the lead, he stayed there, and Damon Hill exits the chicane and wins the Japanese Grand Prix.

And I’ve got to stop, because I’ve got a lump in my throat.

Jerez 1997: Michael Schumacher vs Jacques Villeneuve

From 6’00

Martin Brundle: Villeneuve is all over him look, he’s going through.
Murray Walker: He’s through!
MB: Oh, yes!
MW: Oh!
MB: I don’t think…
MW: Out goes Michael Schumacher!
MB: I don’t think that worked, Michael, you hit the wrong part of him, my friend…

Suzuka 2000: Michael Schumacher

From 4’13

A br-rilliant race for Michael Schumacher, who exits the chicane for the 53rd and last time, to win the 2000 Japanese Grand Prix and the world champinoship, for the third time. To give Ferrari and Italy their dream. And look, look! He knows it. He is absolutely beside himself with joy.

Have you got a favourite commentary moment from a world championship decider? How did other commentators report the big moments in F1’s history? Share your links and quotes in the comments.

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26 comments on How Murray Walker made great F1 championship moments special (Video)

  1. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 27th October 2008, 22:48

    The reason Murray is so popular is his humility. Scarcely ever a snide remark at someone else’s expense and never condemning anyone in haste.

    I never thought of that before. It always used to irritate me how he’d never take sides even when someone had done something obviously wrong! But now you pointed it out I think you’re dead right, that is part of his appeal.

    And I think that’s why I find it easier to get on with his brand of nationalism/patriotism/whatever, rather than the more in-your-face, patronising, ITV-style ‘you’re only watching this to see Hamilton win’ approach.

  2. David Watkins said on 27th October 2008, 23:19

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=zDACwU7gHEg

    Here is a good example of Murray knowing his job. He clearly disapproves of the driver’s actions but knows it’s not his job to say so and therefore he brings James Hunt in to do it.

    Very funny when Muzza realises who is holding up our Nige!

  3. pSynrg said on 27th October 2008, 23:26

    And I think that’s why I find it easier to get on with his brand of nationalism/patriotism/whatever, rather than the more in-your-face, patronising, ITV-style ‘you’re only watching this to see Hamilton win’ approach.

    I really don’t get that vibe myself. Call me naive but I honestly get the impression of appropriate support for a brilliant ‘up & coming’ driver with the bonus that he’s one of ours!
    What is wrong with that on any level?

  4. David Watkins said on 27th October 2008, 23:51

    Nothing is “ours” and nothing is “theirs.” It is not a broadcaster’s role to support anyone.

  5. pSynrg said on 28th October 2008, 7:26

    I think the existential questions may be taking things a little too far.
    ‘Ours’ is of course meant in the colloquial sense. I honestly don’t expect to take ‘him’ home to put on the mantel piece.
    Then again, maybe I should get ‘Our Nige’ out of the cupboard just in case I’ve been wrong…

  6. Terry Fabulous said on 28th October 2008, 8:49

    Keith this is one of the best articles you have ever done. I felt like I was 12 again watching the 89 finale on a 12 inch CRT.

    I remember at the time being horrified, shocked, stunned, appalled, and a little impressed that Prost had suddenly grown a pair!

  7. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 28th October 2008, 8:57

    Terry – LOL! I like what Rosberg said about Prost’s move – I’m paraphrasing but it’s roughly, ‘you could tell he’d never done it before because he did it so badly…’

  8. Jolene said on 28th October 2008, 14:09

    My favourite one is also when Schumi drove into the back of DC at Spa. I remember I was a bit dazed at the time but when Murray shouted that “OMG” it shocked me right back into the action. He was brilliant. I really enjoyed his commentary.

  9. pSynrg said on 28th October 2008, 22:53

    Nice link, thanks. The real gem from Murray has got to be near the end, about 3:50 “…Anyway, whatever…” :)

  10. somerandomguy said on 19th March 2011, 23:16

    Thank you FOM!

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