The oldest winners of Formula 1

At 39 years and 6 months, Lewis Hamilton achieved his 104th career victory in the premier class at his home race in Great Britain on Sunday. The record world champion was bubbling over with emotion, as after two winless Formula 1 seasons he no longer believed he would be at the top of the podium again. The triumph also brought the Briton another historic top 10 finish: He is now one of the ten oldest winners in Formula 1 history.

Curious victory: Luigi Fagioli wins at the age of 53 without even sitting in the car

The oldest list is headed by Luigi Fagioli, who won his first and last World Championship victory in France in 1951 at the age of 53. Formula 1. Curiously, the Italian was not even the sole winner of this race, because on orders from the Alfa Romeo team, Fagioli handed the car over to the future world champion Juan Manuel Fangio in the middle of the race. The two racing drivers shared the points. Luigi Fagioli, who had already performed less well in the previous year than his teammates Giuseppe Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio, quit his job with the Italians following Alfa Romeo’s decision. The success of being the oldest Formula 1 driver to ever win a race remains.

The winning car with Luigi Fagioli at the 1951 French Grand Prix
The winning car of Luigi Fagioli and Juan Manuel Fangio at the 1951 French Grand Prix, photo: LAT Images

In the 1950s, the average age of F1 drivers was significantly higher than it is today. This is also reflected in the list of the ten oldest winners. Since both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso – the two old masters of the current field of drivers – are still far from 53 years old, Fagioli’s record will probably remain unbroken.

These are the 10 oldest Formula 1 winners

position driver Old Last Grand Prix victory
1. Luigi Fagioli 53 y. 0 m. 22 d. French GP 1951
2. Nino Farina 46 years, 9 months, 3 days German GP 1953
3. Juan Manuel Fangio 46 years 1 month 11 days German GP 1957
4. Piero Taruffi 45 years 7 months 6 days Swiss GP 1952
5. Jack Brabham 43 years 11 months 5 days South African GP 1970
6. Nigel Mansell 41 years 3 months 5 days Australian GP 1994
7. Maurice Trintignant 40 y. 6 m. 18 d. Monaco GP 1958
8th. Graham Hill 40 y. 3 m. 3 d. Monaco GP 1969
9. Clay Regazzoni 39 y. 10 m. 9 d. Great Britain GP 1979
10. Lewis Hamilton 39 y. 6 m. 0 d. Great Britain GP 2024

Formula 1 time travel: Who was the oldest winner in each decade?

Although modern Formula 1 is certainly no longer a sport for old men, there have been a few outliers in subsequent generations who have achieved Formula 1 victory at a more mature age. Hamilton left one of them just behind in the rankings with his Silverstone victory: his long-time colleague and rival Kimi Räikkönen.

Kimi Räikkönen at the 2018 US Grand Prix

“It’s nice to prove to all the people that we can still win,” said Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen after winning the race in Austin in 2018, not knowing that it would be his last victory. His previous victory was already five years in the past at that point and some critics had already written the Finn off.

At the 2018 US Grand Prix, Kimi Räikkönen left world champion Lewis Hamilton behind, photo: Sutton
At the 2018 US Grand Prix, Kimi Räikkönen left world champion Lewis Hamilton behind, photo: Sutton

But on October 21, 2018, the then 39-year-old laid the foundation for his 21st and final Grand Prix victory right at the start. He was the only driver to start on the ultra-soft tire compound and snatched the lead right at the start – from Hamilton of all people. From then on, the Ferrari driver pushed, led the race confidently and brought home the victory with one pit stop less than Hamilton. Thanks to his qualities as a tire whisperer.

Michael Schumacher at the 2006 Chinese Grand Prix

It has been twelve years since the last victory of the man with whom Hamilton shares his status as record world champion. Michael Schumacher won a Formula 1 race for the last time in Shanghai in 2006 – in the middle of the world championship battle against Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard had built up a considerable lead in the world championship in the first half of the season, but Schumacher really caught up in the second half. The victory raised hopes that the German, who had already announced his retirement at the time, could still retire as reigning world champion. In the end, as we know, that didn’t happen.

And at the 2006 Chinese Grand Prix, things initially looked anything but like Schumacher’s 91st victory. He started in the rain from sixth position behind Alonso, Fisichella, Barrichello, Button and Räikkönen. At that time, there were still several tire manufacturers in Formula 1 and Schumacher was at a disadvantage with the Bridgestone tires. However, that did not stop the seven-time world champion from starting a real comeback after switching to dry tires. Thanks to a tactical error on the part of his fiercest rival Alonso, Schumacher was even able to take the lead. Another rain shower, however, turned the race into a real nail-biter for Schumacher, which he was ultimately able to decide in his favor.

Michael Schumacher celebrated his last victory in Formula 1 in 2006, Photo: Sutton
Michael Schumacher celebrated his last victory in Formula 1 in 2006, Photo: Sutton

Michael Schumacher was 37 years and 9 months old when he took his last F1 victory, for which, as the German himself said, he went to the utmost limit. In 2006, he was considered the title favorite after this race. But the title never came. Nor did he win again. Neither in his last two races with Ferrari nor during his comeback years at Mercedes could he cross the finish line first again.

Nigel Mansell at the 1994 Australian Grand Prix

Let’s turn the clock back another 12 years to the 1994 Australian Grand Prix. The then 41-year-old and 3-month-old Williams driver Nigel Mansell was not supposed to and did not want to win the race in Adelaide – even though he was on pole position. The reason? Mansell only drove the last three races of the season for Williams because he was replacing Ayrton Senna, who had a fatal accident in Imola. Mansell’s team-mate Damon Hill, on the other hand, was in a battle for the World Championship with Michael Schumacher. The score was 92:91 for the German. Everything was to be decided in Adelaide.

“I was told all sorts of things by those in charge: ‘You’re not going to be part of this race. Don’t make a good start. Watch the race, don’t intervene…’ So I deliberately didn’t make a very good start and just sat there and watched,” Mansell said at the time, describing his assignment for the final race of the tragic 1994 season.

No sooner said than done: Mansell held back at the start and left the field to the world championship hopefuls. Schumacher led ahead of Hill. But the Brit caught up about halfway through the race because the German made a small driving error. On lap 36, Hill took his chance and tried to overtake Schumacher. Both collided and were eliminated.

“I was just angry. I wanted Damon to be world champion. I also wanted Williams to win the championship. And I needed a few laps to collect my thoughts,” Mansell recalled how he experienced the incident. He was the laughing third, took the lead and drove towards his 31st Grand Prix victory in his last race with Williams. In Adelaide, the then 41-year-old stood on the Formula 1 podium for the last time. With his Silverstone victory, Hamilton is the oldest Grand Prix winner in the last 30 years – since Nigel Mansell.

Winner Nigel Mansell with Gerhard Berger and Martin Brundle on the podium at the 1994 Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide
In his last victory, Nigel Mansell shared the podium with Gerhard Berger (Ferrari) and Martin Brundle (McLaren), Photo: LAT Images

Carlos Reutemann at the 1981 Belgian Grand Prix

The Mercedes driver narrowly overtook one person on Sunday in the list of oldest winners: Carlos Reutemann was five months younger than Hamilton when he won his last Formula 1 race in Belgium on May 17, 1981. Although the Argentinian had pole position for the Grand Prix, he later described the victory as a stroke of luck. In the first few laps of the race, the Williams driver fell back to fourth place. Only the accident involving Nelson Piquet and Alan Jones in front of him and a technical problem with Didier Pironi’s Ferrari allowed Reutemann to win this race and extend his lead in the World Championship at this point.

His last triumph was one of a total of 12 victories that Reutemann celebrated in the premier class. In the 1981 season, he finally became vice world champion behind Piquet. The following year, he ended his Formula 1 career after the first two races.

Graham Hill at the 1969 Monaco Grand Prix

Reutemann only made his Grand Prix debut with Brabham at the age of 30, alongside Graham Hill, who was already 43 at the time. This shows how much older Formula 1 was in previous generations, and the two-time Formula 1 world champion naturally cannot be left out of the list of the oldest winners. He experienced his last major triumph in the premier class at the Monaco Grand Prix in 1969. He won Formula 1 fourteen times in total – five of them on the street circuit through Monte Carlo, which was the Briton’s favorite track. There could have been no better place than the principality for the last Grand Prix victory of the then 40-year-old and three-month-old racing driver.

Graham Hill is also the only racing driver to have been awarded the honorary title of the Triple Crown. He not only won the Monaco Grand Prix, but also the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1972 and the Indy 500 in 1966. Hamilton has not yet started chasing the Triple Crown. But racing is far from over for the seven-time world champion. A new era of his career in red will begin in 2025.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *