Crashes, victories and disqualifications: The very best British Grand Prix races
1976 – James Hunt won, but was disqualified…twice!
Although this race took place over 4 decades ago, the story still stands as one of the most unbelievable turn of events in Formula 1. At Brands Hatch, James Hunt, racing for McLaren-Ford, crashed into Clay Ragazzoni, racing for Ferrari, on the first corner of the first lap. Hunt was able to make it to the pit, but he used a service road to get there. Leading to disqualification due to cutting a corner of the track. Meaning he failed to complete a full lap.
However, the fans began to roar in anger and protest. The protest continued to build up, so much so that the stewards decided to wave their previous decision out of pure fear of rioting.
Hunt then proceeded to race and 76 gruelling laps later, he crossed the finish line in first place. Just when you think the dust had settled, Ferrari appealed and then re-appealed the disqualification and eventually won, resulting in Niki Lauda (racing for Ferrari, of course) taking first place. This decision was made 2 months after the actual race.
2008 – Hamilton mastered the conditions like no other
In Hamilton’s early career, he showed us why he’s one to remember. Following a strong debut season, Hamilton was raring to give it his all and that’s exactly what he did on this fateful day.
It was a memorably wet day for racing. With the track lubricated with rain, drivers were spinning out left right and centre like it was a ballet rehearsal. Lewis Hamilton (on the other hand) mastered the harsh conditions. He put all the other drivers to shame – elegantly gliding around corners and dancing around his opponents. Hamilton made it look easy while the rest of the competition watched from the gravel.
In the end, Hamilton finished first with a lead of over 1 minute and had lapped every driver but 2. On this day, there was no competition for the young Briton as he utterly dominated the race and the difficult conditions. The amazing display of racing finesse and talent will surely be reminisced for years to come.
1995 – An unexpected plot twist
(Image sourced from www.rachf1.com)
Formula 1 can have more drama than a soap opera at times and Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill’s feud is a great example of that. Following the 1994 incident in Australia, the opposing pair found themselves colliding once again. With Schumi being responsible (as popular opinions go) for the crash in ‘94, Hill saw his chance for payback and took it in the ‘95 British Grand Prix.
As Schumacher begins to take a corner, Hill comes zooming in from behind like a spaceship exiting warp-speed and takes Schumacher out on the inside. They both spin out and away from each other, floating onto the gravel. Although this put them both out of the race, it was a grand stroke of luck for Johnny Herbert who was just behind the two testosterone-filled, horn-locking rivals.
(Image sourced from www.deviantart.com)
Johnny Herbert and David Coulthard took first and second, but with Coulthard having to take a stop-go penalty, Herbert was able to cross the finish line first. His impeccable driving was finally rewarded. Following an immense accident in 1988 and 6 years of F1 racing, Herbert had finally achieved his first win.