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Archive for the ‘Formula1’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Can Anyone Stop Lewis Hamilton In 2018?

With the 2017 title under his belt, Lewis Hamilton is placing himself firmly in the company of the greatest Formula 1 drivers in history. That’s not to say he’s necessarily near the top of that list just yet, but he’s certainly part of a very elite club.

Formula 1 titles tend to come in batches. Hamilton has now won three of the past four seasons, before which Sebastian Vettel won four in a row. Michael Schumacher won five of his seven titles in an uninterrupted streak between 2000 and 2004, and the great Juan Manuel Fangio won four in a row in the ‘50s. The best men behind the wheel have always done their best work in spurts of four or five years. And because that’s about how long Hamilton and his Mercedes team have been dominating Formula 1, it’s not interesting to ask if anyone will be able to stop him next season.

Sebastian Vettel

While it’s true that champions have historically won in bunches, they’ve also often won a championship or two before or after their main streaks. And it’s a little bit hard to imagine that Sebastian Vettel, the German star who won four times between 2010 and 2013, is done. It’s true that he hasn’t been as much of a threat since moving to Ferrari from Red Bull – but Vettel, at the time of this writing, actually has as many podium finishes (12) as Hamilton on the year. He’s not particularly far behind, and he has personally warned Hamilton to expect different outcomes in 2018. These two may well be at the top of the standings again next season.

Max Verstappen

If one were to look at the current drivers in Formula 1 and point to who might be the next great champion, 20-year-old Max Verstappen would be near the top of the list. A preview of the Brazil Grand Prix recently looked ahead to 2018 and labeled him as one man who looks set to challenge Hamilton, and while that’s a little bit optimistic, it isn’t unfair. Verstappen was the youngest Grand Prix winner of all time in 2016, and has had multiple top-of-the-podium finishes this season (including two out of four races heading into Brazil). Verstappen will undoubtedly be looking to restore Red Bull to glory, if not in 2018 then soon thereafter.

Daniel Ricciardo

Ricciardo is poised for a top-five finish in 2017, and is Verstappen’s senior on the Red Bull team. It could be that he’ll surprise us in 2018, hold off his up-and-coming teammate, and compete head-to-head against the likes of Hamilton and Vettel. However, it seems more likely that he’ll fade behind Verstappen – particularly given that he’s already contemplating his future, potentially beyond Red Bull. There doesn’t appear to be any bad blood between the parties just yet, but Ricciardo appears to be well aware that Verstappen will be the team’s top driver moving forward.

It would be foolish to label anyone but Hamilton as the 2018 favorite. But if anyone’s going to challenge his supremacy, it will probably be one of these three drivers.

The post Can Anyone Stop Lewis Hamilton In 2018? appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon Formula One Champions that Weren’t Favorites Before the Last Race of the Season


During Formula One’s 64 year history, the World Championship’s fate has been decided in the last race on 26 occasions. And while most of the times the winner was the driver who was favorite before the race (the one who was leading the Championship), on 10 occasions things went a little different and the title was won by the driver who started the last race of the season with the second and even the third chance.

Amazing success stories were offered by drivers like Kimi Raikkonen, Giuseppe Farina or Alain Prost which reminded us once again why we are so thrilled to be fans of such a wonderful sport. The last time this almost happened was two years ago, when Fernando Alonso was extremely close to winning the 2012 Championship in the last race even though he was second before the start, but eventually lost it by just three points.

So let’s take a look at some of the most exciting Championship “finals” in history:

Giuseppe Farina – 1950 (Alfa Romeo)

1950 was Formula One’s debut season and it offered a thrilling end to the season. Before the last race, the Italian Grand Prix held at Monza, Juan Manuel Fangio was leading the Championship with 22 points, securing his lead with a victory at the penultimate race, the French Grand Prix. In 2nd place came Luigi Fagioli, with 24 points and Farina was 3rd, with 22 points. Out of the three, Fagioli had the most constant run, with four 2nd places, Fangio had previously finished only three races (but won them all), while Farina won two races, came in 4th in Belgium and 7th in France and was forced to retire in Monaco.

Giuseppe Farina

After qualifying, Fangio took pole position, Farina 3rd place, behind Alberto Ascari, with Fagioli only managing a 5th place. However, Fangio’s Alfa Romeo failed him once again and he was forced to retire twice, first due to a gearbox problem and then due to engine problems (back then, rules allowed drivers to change cars and the Argentinian took PieroTaruffi’s car after his gearbox failure). But that didn’t matter, because Farino managed to do an almost perfect race. He took the lead early on and except for a few laps when he was overtaken by Ascari, led the entire race, winning the World Championship with a three point lead over Fangio.

It was an exciting finish to Formula One’s first ever season and it was also the race that set an interesting record. Surprisingly, it was not set by one of the drivers fighting for the Championship, but by PhillipeEtancelin. The 53 year old French driver finished 5th and scored one point which made him the oldest driver to ever score Championship points in a Formula One race.

John Surtees – 1964 (Ferrari)

The 1964 Formula One season was under British domination, with three legendary drivers fighting for the Championship: Jim Clark, John Surtees and Graham Hill. Before the last race of the season, Hill was leading the Championship standings by 5 points, following a win in the United States, with John Surtees coming in 2nd and Jim Clark 3rd, 9 points behind. Hill had a great start of the season, with a win in Monaco and three 2nd places in France, Britain and Germany and he would’ve probably secured his Championship title if it weren’t for two abandons, in Austria and Italy. But after the American victory, everyone was betting on him in the final race of the season, the Mexican Grand Prix. Surtees on the other hand, didn’t have the most reliable car that year, his Ferrari failing to finish in four races (that’s almost half of the entire season). However, he did great in the races he did manage to finish, winning two races, two 2nd places and a 3rd. And even though he was five points behind, the battle wasn’t over. As for the third driver involved in the battle for the Championship, Jim Clark, odds weren’t quite in his favor, as he needed to win the race and Hill and Surtees to perform terribly.

John Surtees

So everyone was anticipating an exciting last race, but what happened exceeded all expectations. After qualifying, Clark took the pole position and kept his lead after the race started. He was followed by Dan Gurney, with Hill fighting with Lorenzo Bandini for the 3rd place. Surtees was fifth and was completely out of the Championship battle. However, a contact between Bandini and Hill forced the Brit to spin and lose a few places. And if that wasn’t difficult enough for him, his exhaust was seriously damaged, causing the car to lose power for the remaining of the race. This was good news for Clark who was now World Champion.

But with a little more than one lap to go, Clark was hit by unbelievable bad luck when his engine blew and forced him to retire, thus losing the Championship. And while Hill’s position was awful, he was still Champion, with Surtees only 3rd, behind Gurney and Bandini (the latter was his teammate at Ferrari). Realizing the situation, the Italian team signaled Bandini to let Surtees pass, which he did, making the Brit World Champion at the end of an incredible race, with just one point in front of Hill.Ferrari also won the Constructors’ Championship over BRM, even if the British team was leading the standings before the last race. An interesting fact is that by winning the Championship that year, John Surtees become the only person in history to be World Champion on both two and four wheels, having won the 500cc motorcycle Championship four times (1956, 1958, 1959 and 1960).

James Hunt – 1976 (McLaren)

The 1976 Formula One season is regarded by many as one of the most thrilling seasons in the sport’s history, thanks to the incredible rivalry between James Hunt and NikiLauda. The season was also the inspiration for the exciting movie “Rush” that was launched last year, starring Chris Hemsworth. The first part of the season was dominated by NikiLauda, who was reigning World Champion. The Austrianwon five of the first nine races and finished 2nd in two other races, leading the Championship with almost twice as many points as the next driver, Hunt.

James Hunt

But then camethe terrible race atNurburgring in Germany, where the Austrian was involved in a serious crash, being pulled out of his burning Ferrari by three other drivers. Lauda was left with serious burns and was unable to enter the following two races, in Austria and Netherlands. However, despite doctors advising him not to, he came back only six weeks later, at the Italian Grand Prix. Enduring severe pain, Lauda wasn’t able to drive at full capacity and only managed a 4th place in Italy, 8th in Canada and a 3rd place in the United States. But he was still leading the Championship, with only three points in front of Hunt, before the last race of the season, the Japanese Grand Prix. Everyone was thrilled about this, as it was one of the most disputed Championships in years.

During the race weekend, the weather was extremely wet, especially on race day. There were actually talks to postpone the race, but the organizers decided to go ahead, making many drivers unhappy with this decision, including Lauda. The Austrian, who confessed of being absolutely petrified when driving, following his crash in Germany, decided to play this one safe and retired after the second lap, when he was 3rd. Hunt led most of the race, but was overtaken by a few drivers once the track started to dry. But with only three laps before the finish he overtook Alan Jones and Clay Regazzoni and became World Champion, with only one point in front of Lauda. It was an incredible season and while everyone appreciates Hunt, there are many voices saying that he wouldn’t have dreamed of winning the Championship if it wasn’t for Lauda’s crash. And to further fuel these controversies, the Austrian won the Championship the following year, proving he was one of Formula One’s greatest.

Nelson Piquet – 1981 (Brabham)

Another season when the World Champion was decided by just one point was the 1981 season. Before the last race of the season, the United States Grand Prix, Carlos Reutemann (Williams) was leading the Championship, with 49 points, followed by Nelson Piquet with 48 points. Jacques Laffite was 3rd and also had a shot of winning the Championship, but he needed extremely favorable circumstances.

The two main contenders, Reutemann and Piquet, were both coming after a couple of mediocre results (Piquet finished 6th in Italy and 5th in Canada, while Reutemannwas 3rd and 10th). During qualifying, Reutemann got the pole position, followed by Alan Jones who was the reigning World Champion and the Argentinian’s team mate. Even though Jones said he would not do anything in particular to help Reutemann, everyone saw the Argentinian as a favorite to win the race, especially with Piquet only qualifying 4th. But the race started awful for Reutemann, which was overtaken by Jones, Gilles Villeneuve, Alain Prost and Bruno Giacomelli in the first lap. Piquet wasn’t going to well either, finishing the first lap in the 8th position.

Jones dominated the race and led from start to finish, but everyone’s attention was turned to the duel between Reutemann and Piquet. The Argentinian was having a lot of trouble with his car (there was a gearbox problem that left him without the fourth gear) and he was overtaken by Piquet soon. After the race, the Brazilian said he saw Reutemann having serious difficulties in driving his car and tried to stop him by braking very early during a corner, hoping that Piquet will run into him. But he didn’t and after that the Brazilian drove impeccably, even though he was physically exhausted from the high temperatures (he had some problems with the heat during qualifying too). Actually, after he managed to pass Laffite and John Watson and was in 5th position, he was so visibly exhausted that everyone was concerned whether he would be able to finish the race. But he held onto that 5th place and won the two points he needed to become World Champion, because Reutemann was overtaken by Laffite and Watson and only finished 8th (the first six positions received points). It was Piquet’s first Championship and was followed by two more, in 1983 and 1987.

Nelson Piquet – 1983 (Brabham)

The Brazilian is the only driver that is twice on this list. Two years after winning his first Championship against Reutemann, Piquet won his second title after a tight battle with the legendary Alain Prost. This time, the last race took place in South Africa and before the race Prost was leading the Championship standings with 57 points, followed by Piquet with 55 points. In theory, Rene Arnoux also had a shot of winning the Championship (he had 49 points), but he had to win the race while Prost had to finish 6th or lower and Piquet 4th or lower.

Piquet qualified 2nd, Prost 5th and it seemed like it would be an extremely interesting race. The Brazilian had a great start and took the lead in the first lap, overtaking Patrick Tambay. In the ninth lap, Arnoux was forced to retire by a problem with his engine and he was out of the Championship battle, while his abandon allowed Prost to climb one position. The French driver soon got into the 3rd position but Patrese, which was Piquet’s team mate at Brabham, did a great job holding the Frenchman behind him and preventing him from challenging Piquet. Unfortunately for Prost, things ended badly for him when turbo failure on lap 35 forced him to retire. Without the pressure, Piquet, who was leading the race, paced himself and even though he was overtaken by Patrese, de Cesaris and Lauda, finished in a comfortable 3rd place after the Austrian retired with electrical problems.

Prost had all the reasons to be extremely angry for losing the title, since he dominated a large part of the season. But the last four races were a total mess for him, retiring from three of them: Netherlands (where he collided with Piquet and both had to retire), Italy (turbo failure) and South Africa (turbo failure once again). The only time he managed to finish being the European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch.

Alain Prost – 1986 (McLaren)

The second time Prost was involved in a Championship deciding last race things went better for him. This last race of the season took place in Australia and three drivers were fighting for the World Championship. The favorite was, by far, Nigel Mansell, who was leading the standings with 70 points, followed by Prost with 64 points and Mansell’s team mate, Nelson Piquet, with 63 points. Like we said, the difference was quite big and all Mansell had to do was finish third or higher or for the other two not to win. Another advantage the Brit had was that Williams cars (Mansell and Piquet) proved to be far superior to the McLaren driven by Prost and only the Frenchmen’s consistency allowed him to be a title challenger until the last round. A proof of the difference between the cars was that Williams had already won the Constructors’ Championship, having a 48 point lead over McLaren before the last race.

Alain Prost

Things seemed to be even clearer when Mansell won the pole position during qualifying, followed by Piquet, Ayrton Senna and Prost in 4th. Everyone was extremely delighted with this last race and around 150,000 spectators attended the race on the Adelaide circuit. And they sure did have what to see, because the race was extremely dramatic. Mansell was overtaken by Senna on the second corner, then by Piquet and KekeRosberg. By the end of the first lap, Piquet was first, but lost the lead to Rosberg only six laps later. The Brazilian also had an incident on lap 23 and spun, losing a few places. Several laps later, Prost had a problem with a punctured tire and was forced to do an unscheduled pit stop, dropping to 4th. On lap 44, Piquet passed Mansell and the two were followed by Prost. This meant that all three title contenders were in 2nd, 3rd and 4th positions. Rosberg, who had managed to build a significant gap between him and the rest, was forced to retire on lap 63 due to a tire failure. The Finn, who was Prost’s team mate, later told the press that he wouldn’t have won the race anyway, since he promised the team and Prost that he would do anything possible to help the Frenchmen win the Championship.

So now Piquet was leader, Mansell 2nd and Prost 3rd. But almost immediately after Rosberg retired, Prost overtook Mansell for 2nd place, without the Brit putting up any fight (3rd place was enough for him to become Champion). But with less than 20 laps to go, bad luck struck Mansell on lap 64, when his rear left tire exploded at around 180 mph, forcing him to retire. Williams feared that Piquet might have the same fate and called him in for a tire change, giving the lead to Prost, who took advantage of this opportunity and never gave it up until the finish, despite Piquet closing the gap by 10 seconds in the last two laps. Another amazing fact was that Prost drove so to the limit that his car ran out of fuel a few tens of meters after the finish line, putting an epic end to an epic race.

It was Prost’s payback for what happened in 1983 and by winning the Championship he became the first driver to win back-to-back Championships after more than 30 years (the previous one was Jack Brabham in 1959 and 1960).

Jacques Villeneuve – 1997 (Williams)

Before the last race of the 1997 Formula One season that took place in Spain, at Jerez, Michael Schumacher was leading the Championship with 78 points, just one point ahead of Jacques Villeneuve, who was only in his second year of driving in Formula One. The race was coming after a controversial result in the penultimate round, in Japan, when Villeneuve finished 5th but was disqualified for ignoring yellow flags on two consecutive laps during practice.

Jacques Villeneuve

But that controversy was nothing compared to what would happen during the last race. Actually, the entire weekend was amazing. First there was qualifying, when, for the first time in Formula One history, three drivers set the exact same fastest lap time (1:21:072): Villeneuve, Schumacher and Heinz-HaraldFrentzen. According to regulations, the final order was dictated by the order in which the drivers set the times, which meant Villeneuve won the pole position, Schumacher was 2nd and Frentzen3rd. What’s interesting is that the pole position almost went to Damon Hill, who had the fastest intermediate times but had to slow down on the last part of his lap due to an incident involving Minardi’s Ukyo Katayama.

And, as everyone was anticipating, the race was fascinating. Schumacher took the lead by the first corner and continued to lead the race for the first 40 laps. Villeneuve was also overtaken by Frentzen at the start, but Williams ordered the German to let Villeneuve pass, which he did on lap 8. Nothing changed after Schumacher made his first pit stop on lap 22 and the Canadian a lap later. The order didn’t change also when they made their second pit stops on laps 43 (Schumacher) and 44 (Villeneuve), but the gap between the two was reduced and by lap 48 it was less than a second. It was during this lap when Villeneuve made a move to overtake Schumacher, he took the interior, but the cars collided, with Schumacher being forced out of the track and onto the gravel, where he got stuck and retired.

Villeneuve’s Williams, even though it was still in the race, suffered damage and the Canadian was slower than the others. He was soon caught up by both McLarens (Hakkinen and Coulthard), but he didn’t put up a fight, since all he needed was three points (that was 4th place) and managed to finish the race and become World Champion. Hakkinen finished 1st, winning his first ever Formula One race. The collision between Schumacher and Villeneuve sparked a lot of controversy as everyone saw that Schumacher deliberately tried to take out the Canadian (he admitted to the mistake a few days later, during a press conference). Following an investigation by FIA, Schumacher was disqualified from the Championship, losing his second place but keeping his wins and pole position records.

Mika Hakkinen – 1999 (McLaren)

In 1999, Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher continued their rivalry from the 1998 season, when the Finn became World Champion. After half of the season, Hakkinen was leading by 8 points but then came Schumacher’s horrific crash at Silverstone, when the German broke his leg and was unable to race in the next six races. But that didn’t mean Hakkinen had an easy time winning the Championship, because he had to fight until the last round.

Mika Hakkinen

Taking advantage of Schumacher’s injury, Ferrari’s second driver, Eddie Irvine, had a great series of results, including three wins, while Hakkinen retired on three occasions, Britain, Germany and Italy. So before the last race of the season, the Japanese Grand Prix, Eddie Irvine was leading the Championship standings with 70 points, four more than Hakkinen, who was second. This meant that in order to become Champion, Hakkinen had to win the race, otherwise hope for a poor result from Irvine.

But the Irish had an awful weekend. First there was qualifying, when he only managed to rank 5th, while Hakkinen started in 2nd, behind Schumacher who was at his second race after the comeback. In the race, Hakkinen had a great start, taking the lead from Schumacher from the beginning and then comfortably leading the entire race. Irvine finished 3rd, one and a half minute behind Hakkinen and Schumacher, losing his only chance of ever winning a World Championship.

Kimi Raikkonen – 2007 (Ferrari)

The 2007 season was probably one of the most exciting ones in recent years and the last race, the Brazilian Grand Prix, offered a thrilling fight. Before the race, three drivers were battling for the Championship title. Favorite was Lewis Hamilton, who was in his debut year in Formula One and was leading the standings with 107 points, followed by reigning World Champion Fernando Alonso with 103 points and the outsider KimiRaikkonen with 100 points. However, judging by recent form, the Finn had the best run in the second half of the season, winning two races and finishing on the podium each time. It was the first time three drivers had a real chance to the title since the 1986 season we spoke about earlier, when Prost became World Champion, so everything indicated a hot weekend at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in Sao Paulo.

Kimi Raikkonen

Things got even hotter after qualifying, when Hamilton got the 2nd place, Raikkonen3rd and Alonso 4th, with Raikkonen’s team mate, Felipe Massa, in the pole position. Things were becoming really, really interesting. The two Ferraris had a great race start and Raikkonen quickly overtook Hamilton. On the next corner, the Brit was also overtaken by Alonso. While defending his position, Alonso braked hard on the next corner, forcing Hamilton to lock his brakes and slid off track. Hamilton rejoined the race in the 8th position and had a lot of work to do to get back in the game. In six laps he had already gained two positions, after passing JarnoTrulli and Nick Heidfeld but then bad luck struck. He had a gearbox malfunction that got him stuck in neutral for about 30 seconds and by the time the issued was fixed, he was already in the 18th position.

In front, Massa was leading, followed by Raikkonen and Alonso. However, while the Brazilian and the Spaniard were making their pit stops, Raikkonen had a great run for about three laps which made him the race leader after his pit stop. Nothing changed until the end of the race and even though Hamilton managed to get into the 7th position, it wasn’t enough and the new World Champion was KimiRaikkonen with 110 points (followed by Hamilton and Alonso, both with 109 points).

Sebastian Vettel – 2010 (Red Bull)

Before the last race of the 2010 Formula One season, in Abu Dhabi, the Championship was led by Fernando Alonso, with 246 points, 8 more than Mark Webber and 15 ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Lewis Hamilton also had a mathematical chance, since he was 24 points behind Alonso, but the shots of him winning the title were only theoretical.

Sebastian Vettel

After qualifying, Vettel took the pole position, followed by Hamilton, Alonso, Button and Webber, so everything pointed out to an extremely interesting race. If Vettel won the race, Alonso needed the 4th place to win the Championship. However, Ferrari made a huge strategy mistake: they were confused by Webber’s early pit stop due to fast tire wear and decided to call in Alonso to change his tires. This made Alonso get back in the race in the 8th position, stuck behind VitalyPetrov with just 18 laps gone. The Spaniard kept trying to overtake Petrov, but the Russian resisted until the end. Vettel won the race and with Alonso only finishing 7th and Webber 8th, the German won the Championship with a 4 point lead over Alonso and 10 over Webber. This also put an end to speculation before the race that Red Bull might use team orders to influence the result, because the poor performance by Webber didn’t make that necessary.

By winning the Championship, Vettel became the youngest Formula One Champion ever, breaking Hamilton’s record by 168 days, and also starting an impressive dominance that would lead to four consecutive Championships, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

The post Formula One Champions that Weren’t Favorites Before the Last Race of the Season appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon Most Exciting Wet Races in Formula One History

Grand Prix

Rain has always been one of the factors that made a Formula One race even more exciting, especially because the difference between the cars’ performances is significantly reduced and on a track filled with water, all drivers have the chance to prove what they’re really made of.

In the last few years there have been a number of interesting wet races which provided a little drama but also showed FIA’s recent trend to neutralize races as soon as rain starts, by deploying the Safety Car or even waving red flags and pausing races until weather conditions improve. Of course, even though the races are not as entertaining as they used to be under these conditions, they are a lot safer for drivers. And proof is that we have 20 years without a single fatality in Formula One, the last one being the tragic death of legendary Ayrton Senna at Imola.

Despite these aspects, there are plenty of voices asking FIA to loosen up the safety measures and bring the sport closer to its origin, because there are countless examples of races that took place under incredibly difficult conditions and continued without the Safety Car’s intervention. And keep in mind that those were times when Formula One was an extremely dangerous sport, when cars’ and tracks’ safety was not the main concern.

So let’s take a look at some of the most difficult and best known wet races of the last century:

1961 German Grand Prix, Nurburging (won by Stirling Moss)

It’s well known that during a wet race, the inspiration to choose the proper tires is usually extremely important and decides who wins and who doesn’t. And at the 1961 German Grand Prix held on the famous Nurburgring track, inspiration “gods” chose Stirling Moss. The Brit qualified 3rd, behind Phil Hill and Jack Brabham and had a good start in the race, but so did Jack Brabham who immediately took the lead. However, Brabham crashed during the first lap, due to a problem with the throttle, and Moss took the lead, not giving up until the finish line. He finished 21 seconds ahead of Wolfgang von Trips and 22 seconds ahead of Phil Hill. The rain made the race quite difficult, with only 17 drivers finishing out of the total of 26 that started it.

Stirling Moss 1961 Grand Prix

Besides his driving, what really made the difference in this race was the way Moss dealt with the weather and the tires. During the race, the track dried enough for most of the drivers to make a pit stop and change their tires. But Moss stood on the track and stuck with his rain tires, anticipating that rain will start again. And he was right, because the rain came back and he wasn’t forced to make another pit stop, especially with his tires not getting too damaged after running on the dry track.

1963 Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps (Jim Clark)

The second race of the 1963 Formula One season was scheduled in Belgium and took place under extreme conditions. Besides the fact that it rained for most of the weekend, the track was also hit by a storm in the middle of the race.

Jim Clark

Despite these rough conditions, Jim Clark offered one of the most impressive performances on a wet track Formula One has ever seen. He qualified only 8th, but he managed to overtake all the drivers in front of him, including Graham Hill, which had started in pole position and was leading the race (Hill retired on lap 17 due to a gearbox failure). To get an idea of how great Clark’s driving was it’s worth mentioning that he lapped every other driver, except for Bruce McLaren, who finished 2nd. And while McLaren managed not to get himself lapped, he finished the race almost 5 minutes (4 minutes and 54 seconds) behind Clark.

It was the first win of the season for the Brit and the first one in an impressive series of seven wins in 9 races, which brought him the World Championship after a season he dominated, scoring almost twice as many points as the second and third ranked drivers, Graham Hill and Richie Ginther.

1968 German Grand Prix, Nurburgring (Jackie Stewart)

The 1968 Formula One season started bad after it lost one of its greatest drivers ever, Jim Clark. The Brit, who had won the first race of the season in South Africa, died during a crash in a Formula Two event on April 7th. But the German Grand Prix offered an impressive race, which is widely regarded as one of the most difficult races ever held in Formula One. Conditions were extreme, with fog and heavy rain seriously affecting the track. There were even talks about canceling the race, but it was decided that the race should take place, so everyone was curious how drivers will deal with the 14 laps of the famous Nordschleife.After a qualifying session “soaked” in water, Jackie Ickx took the pole position, followed by Chris Amon, JochenRindt and Graham Hill.

1968 German Grand Prix

Jackie Stewart started in the 6th position but had an amazing first lap, overtaking all the other five drivers in front of him and finishing the lap with a 9 second lead over Graham Hill. By the end of the second lap, Stewart already had a 34 second lead and he finished the race with a final lead of more than 4 minutes. Most Formula One fans agree this was Jackie Stewart’s best race in his entire career, especially since he was driving with a broken wrist following a Formula Two crash earlier that year (he actually missed two Formula One races because of that injury). Unfortunately for Stewart, the two missed races took their toll and he lost the World Championship title to Graham Hill, who won his second title at the end of that season.

Speaking about this race, Jackie Stewart said: “The spray was absolutely unbelievable – I couldn’t see anything at all! I couldn’t see my braking distance marks; I couldn’t see the car in front; it was just a great wall of spray. I tried to get out of the spray and go up the inside, and by doing this I managed to see a little more clearly [..]I cannot remember having been more frightened in a racing car. The spray from Graham and Chris was just absolutely impossible to see through; on any other circuit these conditions are hellish, but on the Nurburgring you just cannot imagine how bad they are. The track is narrow, the undulations so pronounced, the bends so numerous, that you can hardly remember where you are on the circuit even on a clear day, but in fog and ceaseless spray you just have no idea at all.”

1972 Monaco Grand Prix, Monaco (Jean-Pierre Beltoise)

Today, FIA would probably exclude the idea of a wet race in Monaco, but in 1972 the possibility of postponing a race because of the weather was unthinkable.

1972 Monaco Grand Prix

Denny Hulme and Emerson Fittipaldi had an identical run in the first three races of the season, each winning one race (Fittipaldi in Spain, Hulme in South Africa), finishing 2nd in one and retiring in another (Fittipaldi in Argentina with suspension failure and Hulme in Spain with a gearbox problem). Jacky Ickx was 3d with 10 points followed by Jackie Stewart with 9 points and Clay Regazzoni with 7 points. During qualifying, Fittipaldi set the fastest time and took the pole position, followed by Jacky Ickx, Clay Regazzoni and Jean-Pierre Beltoise. The Frenchman’s 4th position was quite surprising since he had failed to finish any race that season (he didn’t enter the first race of the season in Argentina and was forced to retire in South Africa and Spain by gearbox and engine problems).

In the race, everyone’s attention was turned to the favorites, but Beltoise had a great start, overtook all three drivers in front of him and took the lead, which he kept all the way to the finish line. More than that, he finished almost 40 seconds ahead of second place, which was taken by Jacky Ickx. The Frenchman was never one of the sport’s superstars and this win was his greatest career achievement. Actually, it was the only race in which he scored points that season, at the end of which Emerson Fittipaldi won the World Championship for the first time, but everyone will remember Beltoise for the amazing way he drove on a “soaked” Monaco circuit. This was also the last race that was held on the circuit’s original configuration, because starting with the 1973 season, the swimming pool was installed and the tunnel was lengthened. Also, it was the last race won by the British Racing Motors team (BRM), which started facing financial difficulties and was shut down five years later, in 1977.

1983 Monaco Grand Prix, Monaco (KekeRosberg)

Eleven years after Beltoise’s amazing race, the Monaco Grand Prix was once again facing heavy rain. This time, it was the fifth race of the season and the Championship was led by Alain Prost and Nelson Piquet with 15 points each, followed by Patrick Tambay with 14 points and John Watson with 11 points. After qualifying, Prost secured the pole position, Tambay in 4th position and Nelson Piquet was only 6th.

1983 Monaco Grand Pri

Today, each race that starts on a wet track begins with the Safety Car deployed and all drivers are required to start on wet tires. But back then these rules didn’t exist and the drivers had the freedom to choose whatever tires they wanted. That weekend, all of them went for wet tires except Jacques Laffite and KekeRosberg (Williams), who was the reigning World Champion and had qualified in 5th position (even though it was not a great position, it was the highest placed non-turbo car). The two drivers chose slicks because even though the track was wet, there was no rain. Of course, it was a risky decision but it proved to be an extremely inspired one for the Finn, who had a great start, advancing into 2nd position by the first corner and overtaking Prost for the lead in the first lap.

Rosberg led the entire race and finished with an 18 second lead over Nelson Piquet and 31 seconds in front of Prost. This win put Rosberg in 4th position in the overall standings, but the rest of the season was disappointing for the Finnish driver and, except for the Monaco win, his best result was a second place at the Detroit Grand Prix, so he finished the season 5th. The Championship was won by Nelson Piquet after a fierce battle with Alain Prost that lasted until the last race of the season. However, besides making an almost perfect wet race, Rosberg will also go down in Formula One history for another thing. Thirty years after his win, his son NicoRosberg won the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix, making them the first father and son to win the Monaco race.

1985 Portuguese Grand Prix, Estoril (Ayrton Senna)

1985 was Ayrton Senna’ second season in Formula One and his first one with Lotus-Renault. In the first race of the season, the Brazilian Grand Prix, Senna qualified 4th but was forced to retire after an electrical problem on lap 48. At the second race of the season, the young Brazilian driver started showing everyone what he was made of and in qualifying he took the pole position, his first one in Formula One. He was followed by Alain Prost, who had lost the World Championship to NikiLauda by just half a point the previous season and was eager to get his revenge.

Formula One World Championship

The wet conditions made the race incredibly difficult, but Senna, even though he was still a novice in Formula One, kept his calm and did a perfect race, finishing first, more than a minute in front of Michele Alboreto, who came in 2nd, and lapping every other driver, including future World Champion Nigel Mansell. And just to get an idea of how difficult the race was, only 9 drivers finished it, out of the total of 26 that started it. While it came as quite a surprise at the time, Senna will later become famous for his proficiency in wet conditions.

Despite Senna’s win, the rest of the season was dominated by Alain Prost, whose only title contender was Michele Alboreto, but the Frenchmen comfortably won the Championship by 20 points, after the Italian failed to finish the last five races of the season, all caused by Ferrari’s unreliability.

1993 European Grand Prix, Donington Park (Ayrton Senna)

The first race of the season took place in South Africa and was a very interesting race, with only 5 drivers (out of the total 26 finishing the race). It was won by Alain Prost, followed by Ayrton Senna. The two had won three World Championships each and everything pointed out to an extremely exciting season. The following race took place in Brazil, where Senna won and Prost retired, so everyone eagerly waited for the next race, the European Grand Prix held at Donington Park in the United Kingdom.

1993 European Grand Prix

The qualifying session was dominated by the two Williams cars, with Prost taking the pole position, followed by Damon Hill. Michael Schumacher was 3rd and Senna only 4th. But what happened next was pure magic from the Brazilian, who showed everyone once again why he is considered one of Formula One’s legends. Rain was pouring over the track and at the start Schumacher had a problem and blocked Senna, both being overtaken by Karl Wendlinger. However, Senna began one of the greatest laps of his career. He first passed Schumacher in the third corner then Wendlinger followed. A few corners later, Senna overtook Hill and, on the penultimate corner, also passed Alain Prost, finishing the first lap as race leader.

The race was extremely tense, with conditions alternating between dry and wet, so everyone had to make several pit stops to change tires. After the second stop, Senna was delayed by 20 seconds and lost the lead to Prost. But rain started again and Williams decided to call in both drivers, while Senna stayed on the track. It was an inspired decision, because the rain stopped and the track started to dry again, forcing Prost to make another pit stop. The Brazilian won the race, lapping everyone except Damon Hill, who was 2nd, followed by Alain Prost in 3rd place. The Frenchman actually set a record for most pit stops made in a single race (seven), a record that still stands today. Unfortunately for Senna, despite winning the five races that season, he lost the title to Alain Prost, who was more constant.

1996 Spanish Grand Prix, Circuit de Catalunya (Michael Schumacher)

Schumacher had just won his second consecutive World Championship with Benetton when he joined Ferrari, in what will probably be one of the most important moves in Formula One history. However, despite the German’s immense talent, the beginning of the season was dominated by Williams and, after six races, Damon Hill was leading the championship with 43 points, having won four out the first five races, followed by Jacques Villeneuve with 22 points. Schumacher was only 3rd, with 16 points, failing to finish in three races, including the previous one in Monaco, when it rained before the race and where the German crashed in the first lap, despite starting the race from pole position.

Michael Schumacher Story

The two Williams seemed to continue their domination when Hill took the pole position and Villeneuve 2nd place, with Schumacher in the 3rd position. However, Hill didn’t really matter in the race, spinning twice in the first laps, before hitting a pit wall and retiring on lap 12. One lap later, Schumacher, who had a poor start, took the lead from Villeneuve and dominated the rest of the race, with several laps when he was three seconds faster than any other driver. The race was full of incidents and only six drivers finished it, out of the 20 that started. Alesi came in 2nd place, 45 seconds behind Schumacher and the 3rd place went to Villeneuve.

Despite this great win, the 1996 season was a poor one for Schumacher, finishing 3rd overall, 38 points behind Damon Hill, who became World Champion. But everyone will remember the race in Barcelona and even though people knew how good the German was on a wet track, after this race he got the “Rainmaster” nickname.

1998 Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps (Damon Hill)

While the other races we listed above were impressive by the manner of which the winners drove, the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix is special from another point of view, being a decisive round in the battle for the World Championship title. With three quarters of the season gone, Mika Hakkinen led the drivers’ standings with 77 points, followed by Michael Schumacher with 70 points. The German was coming after an excellent race in Hungary, which he won, closing the gap to Hakkinen, who only finished 6th.

1998 Belgian Grand Prix

At the thirteenth race of the season, held at Spa-Francorchampsin Belgium, Hakkinen took the pole position, followed by team mate David Coulthard, and Damon Hill, with Schumacher qualifying only 4th. On race day, the weather was extremely rainy and this pleased Schumacher, who was known as a driver that wasvery skilled on a wet track.

At the start, David Coulthard caused a massive incident and the race was restarted, without four drivers who had damaged their cars.This time, Damon Hill had a better start and passed Hakkinen, who was also trying to resist Schumacher. But in the first corner, the Finn lost control of the car and was hit by Johnny Herbert, with both of them being forced to retire. The Safety Car was deployed to allow Hakkinen’s car to be removed from the track and eight laps later Schumacher overtook Hill and started to build up an impressive lead. At this moment, things were going perfect for the German, with Hakkinen out and him comfortably leading the race, it meant that he was now three points in front of the Finn in the drivers’ standings.

Around lap 25, Schumacher was behind Coulthard, with the Scot having to move over to allow the German to pass. To make sure there would be no problems, Ferrari’s Jean Todt went to the McLaren pitwall and talked to the British team. But Coulthard didn’t allow Schumacher to pass right away, irritating the German Champion. When he eventually did, he slowed down but didn’t change the lane. Schumacher, who was behind heavy spray and had basically zero visibility, didn’t see Coulthard slowing down, so he violently hit the Scot’s McLaren, tearing off his Ferrari’s right front wheel. The two cars were seriously damaged and both drivers were forced to enter the pits (the Ferrari lost a wheel and was unable to continue, while Coulthard got back into the race after the McLaren’s rear wing was replaced). Schumacher immediately rushed to the McLaren garage to blame Coulthard for the collision and even accusing the Scot of trying to kill him. The two solved their conflict a couple of weeks later and, years later, Coulthard admitted that it was his fault, since it was extremely imprudent of him to slow down when he knew Schumacher was right behind him, in heavy spray.

Unfortunately for Schumacher, he missed a huge opportunity to take the Championship lead from Hakkinen. He was also extremely unlucky in the last race of the season, the Japanese Grand Prix, when he took the pole position but had to start from the last position because his car stalled right before the start. Despite that, he managed to make his way up to the 3rd place when one of his tires blew up and forced him to retire once again, ending all hopes of winning his third Championship and making Hakkinen World Champion for the second time.

2000 German Grand Prix, Hockenheim (Rubens Barrichello)

The 2000 Formula One season was marked by the same rivalry between Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher. Both had won two World Championships each, with the Finn being the reigning Champion and Schumacher hoping for his first title with Ferrari. The German driver did become World Champion (after the penultimate race of the season) and started the amazing five consecutive titles series, but one race in the season was extremely interesting, the German Grand Prix held at the Hockenheim track.

2000 German Grand Prix

Before the race, Schumacher was leading the Championship with 56 points, followed by David Coulthard with 50 points, Mika Hakkinen with 48 and Rubens Barrichello with 36. And while everyone was waiting for the German Grand Prix to see what will happen next in the battle between Hakkinen and Schumacher, the big surprise came from Rubens Barrichello. The Brazilian had finished on the podium six times in the first 10 races, but was not exactly a favorite, especially after having some problems during qualifying and being forced to start the race in the 18th position.

Pole position was won by Coulthard, followed by Schumacher and Fisichella. However, the German and the Italian crashed before the first corner, both retiring, so it was time for Barrichello to shine. By lap 17, he was already 3rd and then, profiting from a mistake at McLaren pits, he took the lead. On lap 34, heavy rain started to fall, but the Brazilian continued his impeccable race, which was even more difficult as the Hockenheim track is known to be very long and while some parts of it were wet, others were dry. Hakkinen, who was 7 seconds behind Barrichello, was gaining time on the wet parts, as he had switched to wet tires, while the Brazilian was faster on the dry parts, as he didn’t pit for new tires and was running on slicks. Barrichello managed to protect his lead and won the race, 7.5 seconds ahead of Hakkinen, with the 3rd place going to David Coulthard. It was the Brazilian’s first win and he was extremely emotional, while everyone cheered for him. Formula One fans probably remember the famous image of Hakkinen and Coulthard raising him on their shoulders on the podium or the standing ovation he got before the press conference.

Like we said, we only listed races that happened before 2000, but it would be unfair not to mention some recent wet races that were also really exciting, such as Jensen Button’s first victory in Formula One, that happened on a wet track in Hungary 2006, Fernando Alonso great win in Nurburgring 2007 on heavy rain (when Markus Winkelkoch became race leader at his Formula One debut race) or Jensen Button’s win in Montreal in 2011, when he started 7th and made six pit stops.

The post Most Exciting Wet Races in Formula One History appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon Rosemary Smith, 79, Test Drives Renault Formula One Car!

Renault Sport Rosemary Smith F1 (1)

If you count yourself as a car guy and a driving guru prepare to be greatly humbled. This is Rosemary Smith, a sweet old lady of 79, and she’s just become the oldest person to successfully drive an 800bhp Renault Formula One car.

And it wasn’t nonsense, either. She wasn’t being assisted while handling the F1 monster or sent just around the pit for a potter with the engine set to 10 percent output. As you can see in the video below, Rosemary Smith drove that F1 car like a boss, accelerating and cornering far better than… well, than Richard Hammond for instance who tried this thing on the old Top Gear a few times, each time making a hash of it.

The event was organized by Renault Uk as part of Renault Sport Formula One Team’s 40th Anniversary celebrations:

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In fairness, Rosemary Smith used to be a professional rally driver with awards from many big international events. She got her start working as a navigator for a rally driver and then switched to the driver seat with great success. A particularly poignant victory was the famous Tulip Rally, which she won in 1965, an achievement which made not only the motorsport world take notice but also Hollywood, with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton sending her a huge bouquet and congratulatory letter. After years competing and winning at the highest level in world rallying, Rosemary set up her own driving school using Renault Clios and for the past two decades has campaigned for young driver education to be introduced in schools across the country.

Renault Sport Rosemary Smith F1 (4)

The post Rosemary Smith, 79, Test Drives Renault Formula One Car! appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon 10 Longest Point Scoring Streaks in Formula One


2013 British Grand Prix marked the fall of a 10 year old record previously held by Michael Schumacher, the driver who achieved most consecutive races finished in the points. The legendary German driver had 25 and the one who broke his record is not, as you were probably expecting, Sebastian Vettel, the other German that seems to follow in the footsteps of Schumi, but Kimi Raikkonen. The performance is a little ironic coming from the Finn, who is one of the least boring drivers in Formula One and is known to not care at all about statistics and similar stuff.

As you will see, most performances on this list were achieved in the past decade, being dominated by Schumacher, Alonso and Vettel, with only one driver from the ‘80s. Many of you will probably argue that the list is irrelevant, but while it’s true that there are more races in the calendar than ever, cars’ reliability has significantly improved in the modern age of Formula One and the number of places awarded with points has increased from 6 to 10, that doesn’t make this list irrelevant at all, on the contrary, it shows some of the most constant performances in Formula One history.

10. Sebastian Vettel – 14 finishes (2012 Singapore Grand Prix – 2013 Canada Grand Prix)

The last spot on this list is taken by Sebastian Vettel, which started this point scoring streak with a win at the Singapore Grand Prix in 2012. Three more wins followed in Japan, South Korea and India before almost ending the streak in Abu Dhabi, when he was forced to start from the pit lane, being penalized after not having enough fuel in his car to provide a sample. However, the German did an impressive race and finished 3rd, a performance which later proved to be decisive in securing him his third world championship (he won the title with just three points ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso). Vettel finished in the points in the remaining two races of the 2012 season and he also had a very good start of the 2013 season, with seven point scoring finishes.

Sebastian Vettel

The streak ended at the British Grand Prix in 2013 (where Raikkonen actually broke Schumacher’s record) after the German was forced to retire due to gearbox failure, when he was leading the race, with just 10 laps to go. During this time, his worst performance was a 6th place he got at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix and two 4th places in China and Spain in 2013. What’s interesting is that following the abandon in Britain, out of the 11 remaining races in the 2013 season, Vettel won 10 of them (Germany, Belgium, Italy, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, India, Abu Dhabi, United States and Brazil), plus a 3rd place in Hungary. That is absolutely incredible and makes you wonder how this list would’ve looked like if it wasn’t for the German’s gearbox problem at Silverstone.

9. Mark Webber – 14 finishes (2010 Brazilian Grand Prix – 2011 Belgian Grand Prix)

2010 was the only Formula One season when the Australian actually had a shot at the Championship and fought until the last race. Even though the last two races of the season were catastrophic (including a disappointing 8th place in the last race in Abu Dhabi, which basically cost him the title), Weber started a point scoring streak that included the first 12 races of the 2011 season. However, even though he had three poles and eight podiums, Webber never managed to win any of these races and the only reason we put him before Vettel, even though they have the same number of races finished in the points is because the Australian’s performance happened first.

Mark Webber

During these 14 races, the only time he was almost out of the points was in China, in 2011, when he had to start from the 18th position after having some electrical problems and being eliminated during qualifying. However, he did an amazing race and secured a 3rd place at the end, overtaking Button in the last lap of the race. As a fun fact, it was the same race Button accidentally stopped at Red Bull’s pits (his former team) instead of McLaren’s. Webber’s streak ended at the 2011 Italian Grand Prix when a contact with Massa’s Ferrari seriously damaged the Australian’s front wing and caused him to crash a few corners later, retiring from the race.

8. Carlos Reutemann – 15 finishes (1980 Belgian Grand Prix – 1981 Belgian Grand Prix)

Like we said earlier in the article, this is the only performance on this list that was achieved before the 2000s. In a time when cars weren’t as reliable as they are today, the Argentinian’s performance is even more impressive. After driving for Brabham, Ferrari and Lotus, Reutemann joined Williams in 1980 and in that year’s Belgian Grand Prix his podium finish marked the start of a streak that will go on for 15 races, during which he never started any race on a position lower than 5th place. Out of these 15 races, Reutemann won three, the 1980 Monaco Grand Prix, the 1981 Brazilian Grand Prix and the 1981 Belgian Grand Prix. Unfortunately for Reutemann, a gearbox failure forced him to retire from the 1981 Monaco Grand Prix. That was just the beginning of the end for the Argentinian, who had finished the first five races of the 1981 season on the podium (leading the Championship), but after the Monaco problem, had a horrible second part of the season, including losing the title by just one point during the last race of the season.

Carlos Reutemann

And if you think that’s all Reutemann did interesting in motorsport, you’re wrong, because he also competed in the World Rally Championship. He actually became the second Formula One driver in history to win a podium in WRC and in the last 30 years he was the only one to score points in both Formula One and WRC. That was until 2010 when, surprising or not, the one to end this was also KimiRaikkonen, who finished 8th in the Jordan Rally.

7. Fernando Alonso – 17 finishes (2006 Chinese Grand Prix – 2007 Belgium Grand Prix)

On his way to his second World Championship, the Spaniard started an impressive 17 race streak by winning the last three races of the 2006 season, in China, Japan and Brazil. He also had a great run in most of the 2007 season, despite frequent conflicts with team mate Lewis Hamilton. 2007 will be the only season when Alonso raced for McLaren, which ended up being a terrible season for the team. Hamilton and Alonso had the same number of points at the end of the season, but lost the Championship to Raikkonenin the last race, by just one point. Also, McLaren was later disqualified from that year’s season of Formula One after the Ferrari espionage scandal.

Fernando Alonso

But none of these take away any of Alonso’s merits, who won 5 races during this point finishing streak (4 of which in the 2007 season) and 8 podiums, winning the 2006 Championship and finishing 3rd in the 2007 season. During this time, his worst performance was the 2007 French Grand Prix, which he finished 7th after starting the race from the 10th position.The streak ended at the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix, the fifteenth race of the season. Due to heavy rainfall, the Spanish driver crashed on lap41, making it the first time a McLaren car didn’t finish a race in the 2007 season.

6. Fernando Alonso – 18 finishes (2005 Turkish Grand Prix – 2006 German Grand Prix)

Before his experience with McLaren, Alonso became famous driving for Renault, with which he won his two Championship titles, in the 2005 and 2006 seasons. And his achievements were mainly possible thanks to an impressive series of finishes in the points that started with a 2nd place at the 2005 Turkish Grand Prix. The streak would’ve probably been longer, because, before the race in Turkey, Alonso had won two races and a 2nd place before finishing 11th in the 2005 Hungarian Grand Prix (he was involved in a collision with Ralf Schumacher). The Spaniard finished on the podium in all the remaining races of the season and won his first World Championship, ending Michael Schumacher record setting series of five consecutive titles.

The 2006 season that followed was almost perfect for Alonso, who won seven races and came 2nd in seven other races, winning his second title after a fierce rivalry with Schumacher. Unfortunately, it looks like Hungary is not Alonso’s favorite race of the season, because his point finishing streak ended at the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix. He got a two-second penalty during qualifying which made him start the race in the 15th position and even though after several amazing laps he reached the 3rd place, during lap 51, following a pit stop for changing tires, one of the wheel nuts detached and made him crash and bringing his impressive streak to an end.

5. Michael Schumacher – 18 finishes (2003 San Marino Grand Prix – 2005 Spanish Grand Prix)

Just like Vettel and Webber, Alonso and Schumacher have the same number of races finished in the points, but we put the German driver in front because his performance was achieved earlier. It’s also Schumacher’s first entry on this list and it happened during the three seasons that brought the German his last World Championships. It all started at the 2003 San Marino Grand Prix when Schumacher won the race (it was the last race for the Ferrari F2002 car) and continued with two more consecutive wins with the brand new Ferrari F2003-GA, in Spain and Austria. Even though the German won two more races, the series was almost put to an end on two occasions, in Hungary and Japan, where Schumacher finished 8th, the last position that was awarded points at that time.

Michael Schumacher

The streak also continued in 2004, when Schumacher had an incredible start of the season, winning the first five races, but during the sixth race of the season, the Monaco Grand Prix, Schumacher was forced to retire when his car was seriously damaged after a controversial crash with Juan Pablo Montoya, while the safety car was on. Many Formula One fans were wondering what might have happened if it wasn’t for that mistake in Monaco, because Schumacher had an almost perfect season and won the following seven races after the crash. At the end of the season which he absolutely dominated, the German won his seventh and final World Champion title.

4. Sebastian Vettel – 19 finishes (2010 Brazilian Grand Prix – 2011 Indian Grand Prix)

To be honest, it’s quite surprising to see the German driver with only two entries on this list (this one is his best), considering the way he dominated the last four Formula One season. Anyway, the performance we’re talking about now was achieved during the 2010 and 2011 seasons, when Vettel won his first two titles and it started with a win at the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix. Another win followed, in the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi and then what was next was an almost perfect 2011 season, with eleven races won and a single finish outside the podium. Absolutely incredible!

However, the worst result was the one that actually ended his point finishing series. It happened at the 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, when only bad luck made Vettel retire. After the first lap, an unexplained problem with the left rear tire forced him to spin off and abandon the race. And with Webber coming 4th, it was the first time during the 2011 season when there was a podium without at least one Red Bull driver. The next race (the last one of the season), Vettel came in 2nd and finished an amazing season, winning the World Championship with 122 points ahead of Jensen Button.

3. Fernando Alonso – 23 finishes (2011 European Grand Prix – 2012 Hungarian Grand Prix)

And if you thought Alonso’s previously listed performances were amazing, wait until you hear about this one. He’s actually the only driver to have three entries on this list and this one, his best, started with the 2011 race in Valencia where, in front of his home crowd, Alonso came in 2nd, after Vettel. Even though he was quite constant during the rest of the season (one win, six podiums and worst performance a 5th place), Alonso only finished the season 4th overall, behind Vettel, Button and only one point behind Webber.

The series continued in the 2012 season, but the Spaniard was not as constant, winning three races, two 2nd places, but also finishing 5th two times, 7th in Bahrain and almost out of the points in China, where he came in 9th. But after a total of 23 races finished in the points, Alonso was forced to retire at the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix, following a massive crash caused by RomainGrosjean and Lewis Hamilton on the first corner. The collision left the two, plus Alonso and Serio Perez with their cars seriously damaged and unable to continue the race. This was one of the most important moments of the 2012 season, because Alonso was leading the Drivers’ Championship with 40 points in front of Webber and 42 in front of Vettel, but after the Belgian race, where Vettel came in 2nd, the battle for the championship was revived. In the end, even though Alonso’s finished every remaining race on the podium (except for Japan, where he retired after another crash in the first corner, this time with Raikkonen), he lost the title by just three points, especially because of Vettel’s impressive run that included 4 wins and two podiums.

2. Michael Schumacher – 24 wins (2001 Hungarian Grand Prix – 2003 Malaysian Grand Prix)

Like we said in the first part of this article, this is Schumacher’s record that stood for a decade before being broken by Raikkonen last year. The performance was achieved by Schumacher during his domination in the early 2000s, one of the most impressive dominations in Formula One’s history, and it all started with the 2001 Hungarian Grand Prix which the German driver won. With two more wins until the end of the season, in Belgium and Japan, Schumacher became World Champion for the fourth time. The 2002 season will probably go down in history as Schumacher’s finest, with eleven wins, five 2nd places and the “worst” result being a 3rd place finish at the Malaysian Grand Prix. He had no rival that season and finished 1st with almost twice as many points as the 2nd place, his team mate Rubens Barrichello.

Unfortunately, the 2003 season didn’t start too well for the German and, after finishing 4th in Australia and 6th in Malaysia, he retired from the Brazilian Grand Prix, thus ending the incredible series of finishes in the points. It was an extremely tough race in Brazil, the stormy weather causing serious troubles to most drivers (out of the 20 drivers that started the race, only 8 finished it) and Schumacher himself spun-off on lap 21. It was the German’s first crash in two years and we can’t help and image how this list might have looked like if it wasn’t for this race, because the following race marked the start of Schumacher’s other point finishing streak, the one we talked about earlier. The record would’ve probably been incredible and almost impossible to break for decades to come.

1. Kimi Raikkonen – 26 finishes (2012 Bahrain Grand Prix – 2013 German Grand Prix)

Ever since he made his debut, the Finn has always been a very “colorful” presence in Formula One. He drove his first race in 2001 for Red Bull SauberPetronas, switched to McLaren a year later and finished the season 2nd on two occasions, in 2003 and 2005 and was World Champion in 2007 with Ferrari. In 2010 he left both Ferrari and Formula One (the Italian team replacing him with Fernando Alonso) and continued competing in rally racing where he had already debuted in 2009. Racing for Citroen, Raikkonen scored his first points in April 2010, making him the second Formula One driver to also score points in the World Rally Championship after 30 years (the first one was none other than the previously mentioned Carlos Reutemann).

Kimi Raikkonen

In 2012, Raikkonen signed with Lotus and that marked his return to Formula One. Even though he started the season quite shaky (7th in Australia, 5th in Malaysia and 14th in China), starting with the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix and ending with the 2013 German Grand Prix, Raikkonen finished every race in the points. It’s true, his series of results is not as impressive as Schumacher’s or Alonso’s or Vettel’s, but nonetheless, you can’t argue with statistics. His best results are two wins at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the 2013 Australian Grand Prix and eleven podiums. He was also very close to not finishing in the points on two occasions, in Brazil in 2012 and Monaco in 2013 (finished 10th) and he came 9th in two races (Monaco in 2012 and Canada in 2013). The Finn’s record breaking streak ended at the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix, when he was forced to retire by brake failure.

The post 10 Longest Point Scoring Streaks in Formula One appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon McLaren MP4-X Previews F1 Cars of Tomorrow

McLaren MP4-X-0

Taking a leaf out of Ferrari’s book who often tends of envision the future of Motorsport through speculative renderings of racing cars of tomorrow, McLaren asked its designers at the Applied Technologies department to come up with what they thought a Formula 1 car would look like in a few decades. The result is McLaren MP4-X, a closed-cockpit race car with super advanced technologies.

With a chassis that changes shape to adpat to different aerodynamic demands, the ability to harness alternative power sources, and the technology to communicate in the event of a failure or a problem, McLaren MP4-X is certainly technologically advanced enough to deserve the title of the F1 car of tomorrow.

The MP4-X features solar panels in its construction so as to make electricity as a supplemental source of power. It also has active aero, impact-absorbing chassis, advanced tire monitors, fighter jet-style canopy, a unique underbody and targeted advertising through the use of digital billboards instead of stickers. Some of the car’s proposed tech features like gesture and brain wave control, however, seem way too fantastical.

McLaren MP4-X-1
McLaren MP4-X-2
McLaren MP4-X-3
McLaren MP4-X-4
McLaren MP4-X-5
McLaren MP4-X-6
McLaren MP4-X-7
McLaren MP4-X-8
McLaren MP4-X-9

“With the futuristic McLaren MP4-X concept racecar, we wanted to peer into the future and imagine the art of the possible,” said John Allert, Group Brand Director, McLaren Technology Group. “We have combined a number of F1’s key ingredients – speed, excitement and performance, with the sport’s emerging narratives – such as enclosed cockpits to enhance driver safety, and hybrid power technologies. Formula 1 is the ultimate gladiatorial sport, and the future we envisage will be a high tech, high performance showcase that excites fans like no other sport.”

The post McLaren MP4-X Previews F1 Cars of Tomorrow appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon McLaren MP4-X Previews F1 Cars of Tomorrow

McLaren MP4-X-0

Taking a leaf out of Ferrari’s book who often tends of envision the future of Motorsport through speculative renderings of racing cars of tomorrow, McLaren asked its designers at the Applied Technologies department to come up with what they thought a Formula 1 car would look like in a few decades. The result is McLaren MP4-X, a closed-cockpit race car with super advanced technologies.

With a chassis that changes shape to adpat to different aerodynamic demands, the ability to harness alternative power sources, and the technology to communicate in the event of a failure or a problem, McLaren MP4-X is certainly technologically advanced enough to deserve the title of the F1 car of tomorrow.

The MP4-X features solar panels in its construction so as to make electricity as a supplemental source of power. It also has active aero, impact-absorbing chassis, advanced tire monitors, fighter jet-style canopy, a unique underbody and targeted advertising through the use of digital billboards instead of stickers. Some of the car’s proposed tech features like gesture and brain wave control, however, seem way too fantastical.

McLaren MP4-X-1
McLaren MP4-X-2
McLaren MP4-X-3
McLaren MP4-X-4
McLaren MP4-X-5
McLaren MP4-X-6
McLaren MP4-X-7
McLaren MP4-X-8
McLaren MP4-X-9

“With the futuristic McLaren MP4-X concept racecar, we wanted to peer into the future and imagine the art of the possible,” said John Allert, Group Brand Director, McLaren Technology Group. “We have combined a number of F1’s key ingredients – speed, excitement and performance, with the sport’s emerging narratives – such as enclosed cockpits to enhance driver safety, and hybrid power technologies. Formula 1 is the ultimate gladiatorial sport, and the future we envisage will be a high tech, high performance showcase that excites fans like no other sport.”

The post McLaren MP4-X Previews F1 Cars of Tomorrow appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon Ross Brawn: The Brains Behind Hamilton’s Legend


Behind every success story there’s usually a shrewd tactician quietly making a big difference in the background, and this is no different than in Formula One, where one man in particular has been behind the scenes assisting some of the sport’s most famous names.

In a week that saw Mercedes once again crowned constructor’s champions to go alongside Lewis Hamilton’s individual success, the team which has dominated Formula One since 2014 has a lot to owe to former team principal Ross Brawn.

Brawn retired at the end of 2013 but Hamilton, who was convinced to leave McLaren for Mercedes by Brawn in 2012, said his old boss deserved much of the credit for the team’s ongoing success.

After guiding Benetton and Ferrari to unprecedented dominance along with Michael Schumacher between 1991 and 2006, Brawn took possibly the greatest risk in his career, which ultimately turned out to be arguably his greatest achievement.

A matter of weeks before the 2009 season started, Brawn headed up a management buy-out of the Honda team, taking a controlling 54% stake and renaming the team Brawn GP. The team’s drivers, Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello were kept, along with hundreds of former Honda employees who were all set to be out of a job before the buyout.

Brawn’s first 2009 car turned out to make a smoother transition than all its rivals following new aerodynamic rules introduced for that season, and the car was comfortably quicker than that of any other constructor. Ahead of the rest, Brawn led the team to the constructor’s championship as well as an individual title for fellow Brit Jenson Button. Just like that, Brawn had overseen unprecedented first-season success.


After an incredible debut season, Brawn GP was unable to keep up financially with its big-money competitors, and Ross Brawn chose to sell up to Mercedes, staying on as team principal with a view to ushering in a new era of Formula One domination.

Although perhaps best regarded for his outstanding work with Michael Schumacher over the course of a decade, the title-winning car which arose from the scattered remains of Honda’s failed F1 dream is perhaps his single greatest achievement.

Brawn retired from the sport in 2013, but it’s fair to say that he helped lay the foundations for Lewis Hamilton’s success over the past two years. After winning his third title in Texas last week, Hamilton has arguably become the best British Formula One driver of all time, and there’s probably more to come. After his title win he said “I remember sitting with Ross and I got such a good feeling when he told me the plans that they had. I’m just thinking right now that I need to make sure that I message him because today whilst we are succeeding Ross is still a part of it.”

Undoubtedly a pivotal figure in the modern history of Formula One, at only 60 there may well be a point in the near future when Brawn is tempted back out of retirement.

The post Ross Brawn: The Brains Behind Hamilton’s Legend appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon Mika Hakkinen Spotted in His McLaren P1

Mika Hakkinen McLaren P1-0

Many still consider Finnish ex-Formula 1 world champion Mika Hakkinen to be the coolest driver ever to grace the F1 grid. It is now official. The man was spotted recently in Monaco, where he lives, in a McLaren P1 at what appears to be a tire shop.

You can tell Mika has bought this McLaren P1 for his love of the brand and pure fascination with fast cars, because unlike most other P1 owners, he has gone for an extremely sober black paint job with no extra garnish like stripes and accents. The only bit of flair in this car is the orange brake calipers.

Another reason why Mika Hakkinen is a such a cool dude is his laid back, nonchalant attitude toward, well, everything. He won the world title twice, but when it was his time to retire, he just left without making any fuss, and without returning to F1 after a couple of years like Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen did. He now spends his days driving his fancy cars up and down Monte Carlo which must be a lot of fun.

Mika Hakkinen McLaren P1-1
Mika Hakkinen McLaren P1-2
Mika Hakkinen McLaren P1-3
Mika Hakkinen McLaren P1-4
Mika Hakkinen McLaren P1-5
Mika Hakkinen McLaren P1-6

Photos by MV Photography via Autogespot

The post Mika Hakkinen Spotted in His McLaren P1 appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon Lewis Hamilton Gets a Mercedes Maybach S600


We are having a hard time understanding the new hair color Lewis Hamilton is sporting these days. But you have to give it to him, he’s made Formula 1 cool again. And it s a new kind of cool, a more hip kind rather than the old F1 glamour which, in all honesty, was a bit pretentious.

Lewis hangs out with the Hollywood A-listers and has many friends in the music business. He dates pop stars, and he has so many tattoos, doctors get dizzy when they have to give him a physical. Where does Lewis find time between all this to win so many races, we have no idea.

But we like the man and we’re happy that he’s got yet another cool “whip” in form of a white Mercedes Maybach S600. Whether he’s bought this bad boy or it’s a gift from Mercedes F1 is not clear. But either way, the car is a nice complement, and a different addition, to Lewis Hamilton’s exquisite collection which also includes a blue McLaren P1 and a purple Pagani Zonda.

Mercedes Maybach S600 is powered by a 530 horsepower V12 engine. But one would imagine Lewis will not be driving this car himself, but ride in the back, thinking about the next pop singer he wants to date.

The post Lewis Hamilton Gets a Mercedes Maybach S600 appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon Watch Lewis Hamilton Drift a Mercedes Like a Boss

Lewis Hamilton Drift

As a Formula 1 driver, and a two-time world champion one at that, Lewis Hamilton likes to go around corners in the most precise and calculated fashion in order to achieve the best possible time. He has been doing this since he began karting as an 8-year-old. So you would think Lewis hates drifting and doesn’t even know how to do it. Well, you would be wrong!

In this short video we see Lewis Hamilton drifting a Mercedes E63 AMG around a tight and technical track like an absolute boss. This is the exact opposite of everything he’s been taught as a track racer, but the boy has enough mental capacity to master both arts.

So if you haven’t already been envious of Lewis Hamilton we are fairly certain this video will do the trick. The young man has already been the world champion twice, he is a celebrity, a multimillionaire, dates singers and supermodels, owns a Zonda and a P1, and now we know he can drift too.


The post Watch Lewis Hamilton Drift a Mercedes Like a Boss appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon Gallery: Red Bull F1 Live Demo in Mexico City

Red Bull Mexico City-0

The guys that run Infiniti Red Bull Racing F1 team are almost certainly the coolest people in the entire Formula 1 business. We are basing that judgment on the fact that they just love fun and games, almost more than winning races. So a few months after taking Vienna by storm, the Red Bull crew hit Mexico City for a live demo in the center of the town.

Mexico City is built atop the ruins of an ancient Aztec city where they used to practice human sacrifice. The ghost of those people long dead all these years were awakened yesterday as Red Bull F1’s Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz fired up their RB7 demo cars at Zocalo Square with a bout of rubber burning that excited the crowd no end. Here’s what went on in pictures:

Red Bull Mexico City-1
Red Bull Mexico City-2
Red Bull Mexico City-3
Red Bull Mexico City-4
Red Bull Mexico City-5
Red Bull Mexico City-6
Red Bull Mexico City-7
Red Bull Mexico City-8
Red Bull Mexico City-9
Red Bull Mexico City-10
Red Bull Mexico City-11
Red Bull Mexico City-12
Red Bull Mexico City-13
Red Bull Mexico City-14
Red Bull Mexico City-15

Daniel Ricciardo: “It was a good day. We had a lot of fun. The fans were awesome, and that’s what these show runs are all about – getting the fans close to the cars, getting them excited about Formula 1. I’m really happy they all had a good time. I think Mexicans are fanatics of sports in general and embraced Formula 1. I think the race at the end of the year is going to be a big success. I’m looking forward to it. It’s been 23 years since the last race in Mexico, and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The post Gallery: Red Bull F1 Live Demo in Mexico City appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon Lewis Hamilton Extends Mercedes Contract till 2018


Looks like Lewis Hamilton is awfully happy at Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team since he decided to extend his existing contract for the 2016 to 2018 Formula One seasons. Why wouldn’t he be happy? Not only they are winning races, Mercedes allows Lewis to basically do whatever he wants, including buying cars from his former team and current rival.

Lewis Hamilton joined Mercedes AMG Petronas from McLaren in 2013 and it didn’t take very long for him to settle in and start winning races. He won the 2014 Formula One World Championship by finishing first in a staggering 11 Grand Prix races, and this season too he is already leading the 2015 ranking with 20 points advantage over the second place, occupied by his teammate Nico Rosberg.

Lewis Hamilton commented: “Mercedes is my home and I couldn’t be happier to be staying here for another three years. This is a company filled with real passionate racers, from the board room to the factory floor, and an incredible hunger to win. Even after the success of last year, that hunger is greater than ever – and it’s the same for me, too. The Mercedes car I am driving right now is the best I have ever had in my career; it’s just so much fun to be out there every weekend, on the limit and fighting to win at every track. Mercedes-Benz began supporting me in 1998 so I am very proud that this contract means I will mark 20 years with Mercedes in 2018.”

Mercedes is happy with their driver, too. Hamilton seems to be the man with whom they can relive the good old days of the original Silver Arrows. Lewis is indeed the modern-day Stirling Moss, only a bit darker and with more tattoos.

Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Toto Wolff continued: “Continuity is one of the key factors for delivering success in Formula One and we now have that in place. Lewis enjoyed an historic World Championship season with Mercedes-Benz last year and it was a priority for this season to renew his contract for the next term. We have taken the right amount of time with the process and not rushed ourselves. The result is a strong agreement that will enhance Lewis’ association with the Mercedes-Benz brand, and that recognises and respects the market value of Lewis and of Mercedes in Formula One. Lewis’ sporting track record speaks for itself and he is a great personality for the company. Personally, I am looking forward to continuing to race with the strongest driver pairing in Formula One and to more historic achievements together.”

The post Lewis Hamilton Extends Mercedes Contract till 2018 appeared first on Motorward.

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