Yesterday’s Bahrain Grand Prix was the 900th round of the world championship. Here’s some of the data from the first 900 races and a look back on the nine milestone centenary races.
The first 900 races
Drivers who won ten races or more
The first 900 round of the world championship have been won by 104 different drivers from 41 different countries. Only 32 have taken ten or more race wins.
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Teams who won more than five races
The 900 victories are shared between an even smaller number of teams – just 34. And four of those – Ferrari, McLaren, Williams and Lotus – have won almost two-thirds of all world championship races.
Where the races were held
Formula One crosses the globe like few other sports. To the 30 countries which have held rounds of the world championship already another, Russia, will join them later this year.
The milestone races
100: 1961 German Grand Prix
Stirling Moss’s last win in an F1 car and surely one of his greatest. On a wet surface which made the fearsome Nurburging even more treacherous, he defeated Ferrari’s superior cars with an astute tyre choice in his Lotus.
200: 1971 Monaco Grand Prix
Ten years later, Jackie Stewart motored towards his second world championship victory with a crushing lights-to-flag victory for Tyrrell in Monaco. Meanwhile Ronnie Peterson put on a dazzling display in his March, taking his first podium finish with second place.
300: 1978 South African Grand Prix
Peterson won the 300th round of the world championship in South Africa shortly after returning to Lotus. But cast in a second driver role alongside Mario Andretti, he as was usually required to finish behind his team mate when the dominant Lotus 79s led the field. Andretti claimed the title 11 races later, but Peterson was fatally injured in the same event at Monza.
400: 1984 Austrian Grand Prix
The 400th round of the world championship was the 16th to be held in Austria – and the first of those to be won by a local driver. Niki Lauda nursed a gearbox fault in the closing stages in his McLaren, anxious to keep the pursuing Nelson Piquet from learning of his problems. That kind of subterfuge would be hard to pull off 30 years later when revealing team radio messages are immediately relayed via television.
500: 1990 Australian Grand Prix
The events of race number 499 dominated the build-up to the 1990 season finale. Ayrton Senna had sensationally driven into Alain Prost at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix, taking his rival out in order to win the title. There was to be no rematch on the streets of Adelaide – Senna skidded off while leading late in the race. That left Piquet, who had been the benefactor in Suzuka, to fend off a late charge from Prost’s team mate Nigel Mansell, who mas driving his last race for Ferrari.
600: 1997 Argentinian Grand Prix
The 600th race also ended with a Ferrari driver chasing the winner home. This time it was a sickly Eddie Irvine pursuing Jacques Villeneuve, but the Williams driver held on for his second win in a row en route to the world championship.
700: 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix
The last early-season Brazilian Grand Prix was a race of carnage and chaos. Pouring rain and poor drainage saw car after car spin into retirement at turn three. Local hero Rubens Barrichello claimed the lead of the race then retired moments later due to a lack of fuel. The race was abandoned when Mark Webber crashed in the ultra-fast left-hander before the pits and an unsighted Fernando Alonso piled into the debris.
Alonso, third, was unable to make it to the podium while second-placed Giancarlo Fisichella’s Jordan then caught fire. In a final twist, ten days later the FIA took the winner’s trophy from Kimi Raikkonen and gave it to Fisichella after discovering they’d applied their own rules incorrectly.
800: 2008 Singapore Grand Prix
It should have been remembered as Formula One’s successful and ambitious first night race at a new venue which proved an instant hit with the sport. But the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix became infamous 12 months after it was held, when it was revealed Renault had ordered Nelson Piquet Jnr to crash on purpose in order to bring out the Safety Car to team mate help Fernando Alonso win the race.
900: 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix
Bahrain International Circuit
The new-look Formula One has some outspoken detractors in the shape of Bernie Ecclestone and Luca di Montezemolo, who whipped up the media with critical comments about the series on the morning of Bahrain’s first night race. But Formula One served up a thriller for the 900th round of the world championship. While the dominant Mercedes duo went at it hammer-and-tongs for the lead, four teams scrapped furiously for the remaining points positions behind them.
Here’s hoping for 900 more races like that one.
Stats and facts will follow later today.
2014 Bahrain Grand Prix
- Mercedes’ Bahrain battle “too dangerous” – Warwick
- Hamilton wins Driver of the Weekend again
- Thrilling Bahrain GP gets best rating since 2012 finale
- 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix team radio transcript
- Top ten pictures from the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix
Images © Ford, Daimler/Hoch Zwei