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The top 5 most memorable races of all time

It is no easy task, then to shortlist 5 of the most memorable races in the history of the sport but we have managed to do just that in this article.

Abhranil Roy
Last updated: 20.12.2020
The top 5 most memorable races of all time | Sports Social Blog

There is little competition for Formula One when it comes to thrill and high-intensity action. From Juan Fangio to Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher to modern-day legend Lewis Hamilton, F1 has seen over 1000 races since its inception and many of them have been absolute belters. It is no easy task, then to shortlist 5 of the most incredible races in the history of the sport but we have managed to do just that in this article.


Do let us know if you agree with our picks:


5. Spanish Grand Prix,1981:


Gilles Villeneuve was one of the greatest F1 racers of all time and his last Formula One win before his tragic death less than a year later is also arguably his best, with the Canadian showing all his strengths in raw speed, overtaking ability, driving skill and masterful awareness.

The Ferrari star qualified seventh at Jarama in the relatively uncompetitive 126CK but knew his car would be at its best at the start of the race before fading. By the end of the first lap, he was second and that soon became the lead.

From there it soon became all out defence for Villeneuve, whose only advantage was the speed his Ferrari could develop on straights before rivals closed in at the corners. Despite the best efforts of his rivals, of which there was four, Villeneuve's ability to put his car in the right place at the right time saw him take victory by just 0.22 seconds - with just over a second covering the top five.

4. Monza Grand Prix, 1971:


Monza, Italy will always be a legendary track in the sport and will continue to be one of the crown jewels for as long as it remains on the Formula One calendar as a high-speed circuit.

Yet it used to be even quicker, with the classic 1971 race the last held at the track before safety measures saw the implementation of chicanes seen today to slow down the blistering speeds.

In the 1971 finish, Peter Gethin won his only ever F1 race for Matra by just 0.01 seconds from Ronnie Peterson's March - the closest-ever winning margin in an F1 race.

In fact the top five were covered by just 0.61 seconds with Francois Cevert, Mike Hailwood and Howden Ganley also chasing victory right up to the line.



3. Brazil Grand Prix, 2008:


Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton, back then having yet to win a title went into the race with a seven-point advantage over Felipe Massa as the duo slugged it out trying to win their first title, with the Brit needing just fifth place to become champion.

Given the McLaren's advantage over many of its rivals this looked a simple task but not for the first time in Brazil, rain played its part. 

It started to fall in the latter stages of the race, and Hamilton as well as all of the front runners, barring Timo Glock pitted.

Aside from pit-stops, Massa effectively led the whole race from pole position and was ready to be crowned world champion as he crossed the finishing line. That was because a Hamilton error meant he was passed by Sebastian Vettel for fifth.

But as the rain intensified, Glock's grooved tyres lost all grip and following the final corner Hamilton passed the Toyota to reclaim fifth and snatch the title away from Massa - leaving a previously celebratory Ferrari garage stunned. 


2.Canadian Grand Prix, 2011:


By the seventh race of the 2011 season it was clear the world championship would be falling into the lap of Sebastian Vettel but he took one gut-wrenching punch in Montreal on his way to defending his title.

The race was hit by heavy rain, so much so that it was stopped for two hours just short of midway through, with Vettel, who had started from pole position leading the way.

Shortly after the restart, Jenson Button, who had previously tangled with team-mate Hamilton, had another incident with Alonso putting the latter out the race and the Brit 21st and last.

Then Button's afternoon turned round dramatically, with the McLaren scything through the field before reaching Vettel on the final lap.

The German ran wide under pressure allowing the Brit, who had been in the pits six times, to take one of F1's most famous and incredible victories. 


1. Monaco Grand Prix, 1996:


On the opening lap of Monaco, there was high drama when in the wet, pole sitter Michael Schumacher crashed out shortly after the Station hairpin - with four more drivers failing to get a lap in.

The race had appeared to settle at the halfway mark, only for race leader Damon Hill's Renault engine in his Williams to expire coming out the tunnel.

New leader Jean Alesi was then hit by his usual slice of bad luck when he was forced to retire 15 laps from the end with suspension issues, handing the lead to Olivier Panis.

As cars continued to find ways of retiring around him, the Frenchman held on to claim his only F1 win and the last for the Ligier team in a race where just four cars managed to cross the finish line. The Frenchman’s shock win pleased the locals a lot, as it was also executed in a French car. 


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