What was the best underdog F1 win? Watch the videos and cast your vote…

Keke Rosberg won one of the hottest F1 races ever at Dallas

Keke Rosberg won one of the hottest F1 races ever at Dallas

Dozens of drivers were named by F1 Fanatic readers in the quest to find F1’s greatest underdog winner. Here’s the final ten to make your choice from – with videos of each race below to help you make up your mind…

What was the greatest underdog F1 win?

  • Stirling Moss - 1961 Monaco Grand Prix (8%)
  • Jody Scheckter - 1977 Argentinean Grand Prix (2%)
  • Gilles Villeneuve - 1981 Spanish Grand Prix (16%)
  • Michele Alboreto - 1982 United States Grand Prix (Las Vegas) (1%)
  • John Watson - 1983 United States Grand Prix (Long Beach) (4%)
  • Keke Rosberg - 1984 United States Grand Prix (Dallas) (4%)
  • Michael Schumacher - 1992 Belgian Grand Prix (11%)
  • Olivier Panis - 1996 Monaco Grand Prix (9%)
  • Johnny Herbert - 1999 European Grand Prix (8%)
  • Sebastian Vettel - 2008 Italian Grand Prix (37%)

Total Voters: 676

Loading ... Loading ...

Stirling Moss – 1961 Monaco Grand Prix

Vintage performance by Moss, holding off the chasing Ferraris of Richie Ginther and Phil Hill for lap after lap.

Jody Scheckter – 1977 Argentinean Grand Prix

A rare victory for a new constructor in its first Grand Prix.

Gilles Villeneuve – 1981 Spanish Grand Prix

Gilles Villeneuve using every ounce of his talent to keep a train of four cars behind him to the flag.

Read more about the 1981 Spanish Grand Prix

Michele Alboreto – 1982 United States Grand Prix (Las Vegas)

Michele Alboreto scoops a surprise win for Tyrrell while Keke Rosberg and John Watson duke it out for the title.

John Watson – 1983 United States Grand Prix (Long Beach)

John Watson sets the record for scoring a win from the worst starting position – 22nd – which remains unbeaten. (See here for more Grands Prix won from the back of the grid).

Keke Rosberg – 1984 United States Grand Prix (Dallas)

Rosberg shrugs off fearsome heat and a disintegrating track to win at Dallas in the unfancied Williams FW09.

Michael Schumacher – 1992 Belgian Grand Prix

Surprisingly not nominated by anyone last week, but Schumacher’s opportunistic win at a damp Spa up against the might of Nigel Mansell’s Williams FW14B definitely deserves a place in the top ten.

Olivier Panis – 1996 Monaco Grand Prix

A popular pick in the nominations, Panis profited from attrition to win at Monaco in 1996.

Johnny Herbert – 1999 European Grand Prix

Front runners Mika Hakkinen and Eddie Irvine took themselves out of the running with tactical blunders, and Johnny Herbert rose from the midfield to give Stewart their only win.

Sebastian Vettel – 2008 Italian Grand Prix

At an unprecedented soaked weekend at Monza, Sebastian Vettel in his Toro Rosso gave his rivals a masterclass in wet weather driving.

Read more: Sebastian Vettel brushes title rivals aside to win (2008 Italian GP review)

Advert | Go Ad-free

37 comments on What was the best underdog F1 win? Watch the videos and cast your vote…

  1. F1Yankee said on 2nd March 2009, 10:57

    my picks were down to moss, schekter, villenueve and rosberg. the wild finish of the 1984 usgp, culminating in mansell dropping from exhaustion as he pushed the car to the finish line, is what did it for me.

  2. qazuhb said on 2nd March 2009, 11:32

    So no one remembers Estoril ’85? It was Senna’s revenge from the race they stole him at Monaco ’84. I had already changed allegiances from Piquet to him the year before, but many people converted to the new religion after that Portuguese GP.

  3. mattclinch said on 2nd March 2009, 13:51

    Vettel – from the front, no promotion due to attrition, just pure class driving in the wet in mid-pack machinary. A quality drive.

  4. Mark said on 2nd March 2009, 14:13

    Gilles win was the best by far. Just after I started watching f1 in ’97 I was given a murry walker video which had a segment on Gilles Villeneuve which included that win in Spain. Despite my young age and lack of f1 knowladge I was amazed by his performance and skill. I think he was best driver to never win the title (as well as Moss of course).

  5. Bob said on 2nd March 2009, 15:04

    This poll came to early :(
    What about DC in Australia 1997 and Monaco 2002.

  6. Scott Joslin said on 2nd March 2009, 15:58

    I wish Clive James would commentate on the F1 reviews of today – they would be hilarious!

    It is interesting that a lot of these supposed underdog drives are comming from tight and twisty circuits. 7 out of the 10 come on road course (if we include spa) and 4 of them involve wet weather.

    I am not sure Michael Schumacher’s 1992 win is a tale of an underdog, more of a race win that got away from Nigel Mansell. Mansell had made his last pitstop and was inexerably closing in on Schumacher when his exhaust fell off, leaving him down on power and helpless to catch Schumacher.

    Yes Schumacher showed great decision making by pitting at the right time to get to the front, but surely not an underdog win. Schumacher had already shown his skill in the rain is spain earlier, so at least he had some form previously in the wet.

    There is a great case for Villeneuve in the S**t box Ferrari but his Ferrari suited the situation where it would power away from the other cars out of the corners and down the straight. The most amazing thing he did that day was get to the front in the first place – awesome start and did well to dispose of Reuterman.

    I am going to stick with Watson – 22nd to first!

  7. Victor said on 2nd March 2009, 17:51

    I think that two of those stand out the most, since they were achieved in cars that were never in a month of Sundays friendly things to drive. Gilles, of course, in that undrivable Ferrari 126C, holding 5 faster guys behind him for three quarters of a race through sheer skill, is an example of precision mixed with madness. But for the sheer difficulty of the whole race, I’d go for Keke’s win in Dallas, on a track which was breaking up worse than Swiss cheese, in a chassis that didn’t suit the very nervous power curve of the early Honda V6 turbo.

  8. KingHamilton said on 2nd March 2009, 20:07

    Wolfs first win with schekter at its first GP was pretty good going, but I voted for Vettel for the simple reason he dominated a race against the strength of Ferrari and Mclaren. Plus ofcourse Toro Rosso who made the winning car used to be Minardi,(although they’re not the same team) They’ve come a long way in 3 years……

  9. Sriram said on 3rd March 2009, 14:33

    Hi Keith,

    I think you forgot about Kimi Raikkonen’s victory in SPA 2004…..Michale was winning everything and Kimi drove extraordinarily to make a screeching halt to his brutal winning ways in the season.

    Coming to the poll.I think Vettle deserved the win (with many more to come),he drove spectacularly in the wet conditions when everyone in the grid was making mistakes.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 3rd March 2009, 15:42

      I didn’t forget about anything – no-one nominated Raikkonen’s win from ’04. If he’d done it in the car he had in the first half of that season I probably would have put it forward, but the B-spec MP4/19 he had at Spa was a heck of an improvement.

      Don’t get me wrong it was an excellent win, probably his best after Suzuka ’05, but not up there with the likes of Villeneuve’s I reckon.

  10. Scott Joslin said on 5th March 2009, 11:32

    Interestingly Murray Walker posts his thoughts on Villeneuve’s drive in spain on the new BBC F1 Web site

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7924985.stm

  11. Vettel is best! It is my video (Vettel wins).

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.