Formula One: Five of the greatest British Grand Prix
The chequered flag may have only just fallen in Austria, but there’s no rest for the Formula One fraternity who head to historic Silverstone this weekend for the British Grand Prix.
With Lewis Hamilton just 11 points behind Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in the title race, we could be in for a thrilling encounter around the former World War II Airfield.
Along with the Italian Grand Prix, the British event has held a round of the World Championship every year since its inauguration in 1950, and indeed held the first ever Formula One race 66 years ago.
Since then, British crowds have seen it all, from classic title duels, to surprise winners and even a track-invader.
So ahead of Sunday’s race, we’ve taken a trip down memory lane for five of the best British Grand Prix…
2008 – Winner – Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton is bidding for a fourth win on home soil this weekend, but any victory on Sunday will pale in comparison to his first back in 2008.
Under classic British summertime conditions – it was soaking wet – Hamilton was in a class of one, waltzing into the distance as most drivers spun and spun again.
Driving for McLaren, Hamilton lapped everyone up to third place to underline his supreme talent, en route to his first championship.
2003 – Winner – Rubens Barrichello
One of Formula One’s craziest races, but it was arguably Rubens Barrichello’s finest drive.
A race laden with Safety Cars, plus the scary sight of infamous invader Niel Horan running down the Hangar Straight mid-race, 2003’s event was anything but routine.
None of this disturbed Ferrari’s Barrichello however, who produced a string of stunning overtakes to claim a deserved victory on his day of days.
1987 – Winner – Nigel Mansell
Few sportsmen have ever been as adored by their home crowd as Nigel Mansell was at the British Grand Prix.
The mustachioed racer said the home support handed him an extra half a second per lap, and ‘Our Nige’ would win five times on home soil.
His victory in 1987 was arguably the pick of the bunch however, tracking down Williams team-mate and title rival Nelson Piquet from 30 seconds behind, to produce one of the sport’s most famous overtaking moves in the final laps.
1976 – Winner – Niki Lauda
Every race in the famous James Hunt/Niki Lauda battle of 1976 could fill a book, but few could match that year’s British event for sporting drama.
After a first-lap shunt, rumours circulated that Hunt wouldn’t be allowed to take the start in his McLaren. The British crowd, under the heatwave that was the summer of ’76, reacted in a rare act of fury, throwing beer cans among other things onto the track.
Eventually Hunt was allowed to start, lest there be riots in the stands, and a stunning battle with Ferrari’s Lauda summed up the season. The Brit took the chequered flag, and the crowd went home happy.
But nothing ran smoothly forty years ago, and months later Hunt was disqualified for a misdemeanour following that first-lap smash. But nobody who was there will forget that day.
1969 – Winner – Jackie Stewart
Long before the sport became all about turbos, power units, track limits and penalties, it was simply about the racing.
This was at its very finest at Silverstone in 1969, when Jackie Stewart and Jochen Rindt went toe-to-toe for lap after lap.
Barely a lap went by when the leading duo wouldn’t swap places in the mad dash to victory, and though Rindt’s Lotus eventually failed him late on, the titanic battle between two of sport’s greatest racers is deserving of a place on this list.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.