With the Belgium Grand Prix not taking place until the end of the month, we decided to counter our F1 withdrawal by taking a trip down Formula’s 1 memory lane and picking out 30 of the greatest racing battles.
We tried our best to include races spanning the colourful history of Formula 1, and were actually quite surprised to find footage of races as far back as 1935!
Anyway, as always with these kinds of lists it’s only our personal opinion on what the greatest F1 battles were, and we’d love to here what yours are!
So, if we’ve missed you favorite or you don’t agree with out listings, please let us know in the comments! We’re huge F1 fans here at BreakdownCover.org.uk and would love to hear some feedback from fellow fans.
#30. Mansell Vs Senna (Barcelona 1991)
Senna and Mansell battle side by side in the straight at the Barcelona Grand Prix in 1991.
#29. Surtees Vs Brabham Vs Clark Vs Hill (Italy 1967)
The 1967 Grand Prix of Italy is considered by many to be one of the best Formula One races in history. It was also Scotsman Jim Clark’s best drive of his life, according to many of those same people. The irony is that Clark didn’t even win the race.
After all was said and done, there had been a total of twelve lead changes in the race. Just as it is rare for one to see that many lead changes during a race today, it was a remarkably competitive race then.
#28. Häkkinen vs Schumacher (Belgium 2000)
At Spa in 2000, Häkkinen took a memorable victory, with a breathtaking simultaneous pass on Michael Schumacher and Ricardo Zonta in the Kemmel straight.
#27. Senna Vs Mansell (Spain 1986)
The 1986 Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez produced one of the closest finishes in Formula 1 history. Senna claimed pole and led the race, while Williams team-mates Mansell and Piquet battled for second. Piquet eventually retired, allowing Mansell to focus on catching the leading Lotus. He very nearly did, crossing the line just one hundredth of a second behind.
#26. Clark Vs Hill (Great Britain 1964)
Clark was un-catchable around the undulations of the Brands Hatch circuit, venue for the British Grand Prix. He won easily from Graham Hill and Gurney.
#25. De Angelis Vs Rosberg (Austria 1982)
These are the final 5 laps of the 1982 Austrian Grand Prix held at the Österreichring. The conclusion is very exciting between Elio De Angelis and Keke Rosberg (subsequent champion of the same year).
#24. Nuvolari vs. von Brauchitsch (Germany 1935)
The most famous victory of Tazio Nuvolari, defeating the Silver Arrows on home ground and with a horsepower disadvantage of about a hundred. The Scuderia Ferrari driver left the 250.000 German spectators breathless and the Nazi officials embarrassed.
#23. Naninni Vs Berger (Belgium 1990)
Prost passed Nannini and Berger tried the same but this time Nannini came back at him to keep the place. On lap 41, Nannini went wide and Berger sailed through to take third. Senna duly won from Prost, Berger, Nannini, Piquet and Gugelmin.
#22. Prost Vs Senna Vs Schumacher (South Africa 1993)
#21. Revson Vs Hill (Italy 1972)
Revson started 8th and Graham Hill 13. They was passing and pressing each other lap after lap; a young and promising Revson and a mature Hill were the best show that day. At the end Revson was able to hold Hill for 4th place.
#20. Rosberg Vs Villeneuve (USA 1982)
Over several laps, Rosberg closed the gap to Villeneuve until, on lap 19, he was right on the Ferrari’s tail. On the next lap, the Williams edged briefly ahead between the hairpin and the new chicane, but the Ferrari’s horsepower advantage allowed Villeneuve to retake the position down the Shoreline Drive straight.
Rosberg repeated his pass in the same spot on the following lap, and this time was able to fight off Villeneuve’s attempt to outbrake him into the right-hander at the end of the straight. Villeneuve, in fact, overshot the corner and slid up the escape road. Piquet was just about to slip by when Villeneuve jumped back on the track in front of him and salvaged his hold on fifth place.
#19. Alesi Vs Mansell (Japan 1994)
There was no overtaking at all between Mansell and Alesi in Japan, but both drivers were never more than a few meters apart. All in extremely wet conditions.
#18. Schumacher Vs Frentzen Vs Villeneuve (Monaco 1997)
When the lights went green Michael Schumacher got away well but Frentzen and Villeneuve were not as quick off the mark, which gave Fisichella the opportunity to sneak ahead of Jacques going into Ste Devote. He took Ralf Schumacher with him, so Villeneuve found himself bumped down to fifth. Behind there was plenty of chaos and confusion with drivers bumping into one another a great deal.
“It was chaotic,” Irvine said. “The Ferrari must be a very strong car because I was hitting cars up the back and being hit from behind and from the sides. God knows how many contacts I had with other cars.”
Damon Hill was in agreement. “The first lap was absolutely extraordinary,” he said. “It was so slippery. We were going slowly and everybody was trying like mad to pass everyone else. They were going around the outside, the inside. I went round Loews Hairpin with four cars abreast.”
#17. Senna Vs Alboreto (USA 1987)
On lap 22, Mansell pitted early due to a loose wheel balance weight and for 3 laps Alboreto led the race. Senna retook first position with Alboreto’s pit stop, then before Mansell returned to the front when the Brazilian stopped.
#16. Jones Vs Prost (Germany 1982)
#15. Senna Vs Schumacher Vs Wendlinger Vs Hill Vs Prost (Great Britain 1993)
Donington Park was the host of the 1993 European Grand Prix on 11 April 1993, which was affected by rain. The race was notable for the dominance of Ayrton Senna where he won the race by over 1 minute from Damon Hill, having advanced from fifth to first in the opening lap.
This race was described by AtlasF1 as the ‘Drive of the Decade’.
#14. Schumacher Vs Wurz (Monaco 1998)
The Ferrari driver was keen to pass Wurz as quickly as possible in order to chase Hakkinen, and tried to bully his way through on lap 37. Wurz refused to back down and the two drivers banged wheels as they went downhill from the Loews Hairpin. At Portier Schumacher barged Wurz out of the way and got ahead.
The manoeuvre damaged the rear suspension of the Ferrari and Schumacher was forced to pit, the damage was repaired and Michael rejoined three laps down.
#13. Arnoux Vs Cheever (USA 1983)
#12. Senna Vs Alesi (USA 1990)
Alesi pulled away and Berger was dropping back. Senna passed de Cesaris and Berger hit a wall on lap 9, forcing him to pit. He charged back but retired with clutch problems. Alesi was 8.2 seconds ahead but Senna started to reel him in. Senna attacked on lap 34 but Alesi defended and kept the lead.
Senna did the job properly one lap later and pulled away to win.
#11. Reutemann Vs Andretti (Netherlands 1980)
#10. Mansell Vs Berger (Mexico 1990)
Most remember the move Mansell made at Peraltada, but how did he get close enough to manage this in a car that was slower at the time?
Answer: he harried and terrorised Berger into compromising his lap speed and leaving room for the overtake.
#9. Senna Vs Prost Vs Schumacher (Great Britain 1993)
Senna, in an out classed and underpowered McLaren tries every trick, and then some, to keep the stunning Williams of Alain Prost behind him at Silverstone in ’93. Total “take no prisoners” racing — Just look at Tom Walkinshaws face while Flavio gets livid at Sennas chop on Schumacher.
#8. Villeneuve VS Pironi (USA 1982)
By lap 45, Villeneuve and Pironi were contesting the lead, with Villeneuve in front, when their Ferrari team signalled them to slow down. Villeneuve did so and was passed by his team-mate; they swapped the lead again several times before Pironi passed Villeneuve on the final lap for the win.
#7. Mansell Vs Senna (Spain 1986)
The 1986 Spanish Grand Prix saw Ayrton Senna in a Lotus hold off Nigel Mansell’s late charge for one of the closest finishes in F1 history.
#6. Massa Vs Kubica (Japan 2007)
On the final lap, Felipe Massa prevailed in a spectacular battle with BMW driver Robert Kubica. The Pole had previously served a drive through penalty for colliding with Hamilton. Massa finished 6th, and Kubica 7th, behind Giancarlo Fisichella’s Renault.
#5. Raikkonen Vs Montoya (Germany 2002)
#4. Schumacher Vs Alonso (Italy 2005)
#3. Mansell Vs Senna (Monaco 1992)
On lap 71 Mansell felt something was wrong at the rear of the car — a loose wheelnut — and dived into the pits. He emerged five seconds behind Senna.
He caught Senna at an amazing rate and for the last four laps the two cars ran together, Mansell exploring every possible way to pass the Brazilian and Senna making sure that no gaps were left.
Senna stayed ahead and they crossed the line separated by two-tenths of a second.
#2. Fangio Vs Hawthorn Vs Collins (German 1957)
Pole position went to Fangio with Hawthorn, Behra and Collins completing the front row. Then came Brooks, Schell and Moss. At the start Hawthorn and Collins went into a battle for the lead with Fangio and Behra giving chase. On the third lap Fangio passed Collins and was soon able to take the lead.
Collins then passed Hawthorn and chased after Fangio but the Argentine driver edging gradually away. A slow mid-race pit stop dropped Fangio behind the two Lancia-Ferraris but he chased back hard, in one of the greatest drives in F1 history, and passed both Collins and Hawthorn on the penultimate lap. Fangio thus won his fifth World title.
#1. Arnoux Vs Villeneuve (France 1979)
Jeremy Clarkson’s video commentary sums it up beautifully.