The top 10 British Grand Prix moments at Silverstone

Motorsport Tuesday December 12, 2023 By: Harry Howes

Following another incredible Formula One season, attention has already turned to next year’s campaign, which gets underway in March. The British Grand Prix returns to Silverstone in July and if history is anything to go by, we’re set for another iconic race. While the F1 drivers enjoy a well-earned break, we’ve taken a look at 10 of our favourite Silverstone moments.

First ever Formula One Grand Prix – 1950

While 1950 was the fourth Formula One season, it was the first ever Drivers’ Championship and saw six Grands Prix take place, as well as the Indy 500.

The first race was held at Silverstone and 26 drivers took part. Alfa Romeo dominated the event as they made up the top four positions.

The race was won by Argentinian Juan Manuel Fangio, who went on to win five F1 titles in his career. However he wasn’t the first champion, with Giuseppe Farina eventually winning the inaugural season.

Hamilton and Verstappen collide – 2021

Following one of the most intense championship battles in F1 history, Max Verstappen edged Lewis Hamilton to claim his first title back in 2021. The pair were neck and neck throughout the season and were level going into the final race, with Verstappen eventually coming out on top.

At the British Grand Prix, Hamilton collided with Verstappen going into Copse Corner, causing the Red Bull driver’s rear right tyre to come off, leading to his retirement from the race.

Hamilton was given a 10-second time penalty and while Charles Leclerc briefly overtook him, the Mercedes star fought back and eventually won the race.

Mansell’s iconic overtake of Piquet – 1987

Williams-Honda teammates Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet went toe-to-toe during the 1987 season. And while Piquet eventually won the championship, Mansell got the better of him at Silverstone.

As Mansell stopped to change his tyres with 29 laps to go, he looked to have sacrificed the race as the gap between the pair hit 28 seconds. But the moustached maestro clawed his way back to catch up.

With two laps to go, Mansell faked overtaking on the outside before cutting in to get ahead of Piquet and eventually win the race in extraordinary circumstances.

Hamilton’s first British Grand Prix win – 2008

After finishing second in his debut season, Hamilton claimed his maiden title the following year. Racing for McLaren, he announced himself to the Silverstone crowd by winning the British Grand Prix for the first time.

After an incredibly rainy day, he started fourth in wet conditions but quickly took the lead on the first corner. Kimi Räikkönen battled well against Hamilton but following a tyre change mid-race, there was only going to be one winner.

The rookie raced ahead and eventually won by more than 68 seconds. Hamilton eventually won five races that season as he claimed the first of his seven Formula One championships.

Formula 1 racing at the 2023 British Grand Prix in Silverstone

2024 British Grand Prix Hospitality

Senna hitches a ride from Mansell – 1991

Ayrton Senna claimed his third F1 title in 1991 and by the time the British Grand Prix rolled around, he had already won four races. But Mansell, who finished second that year, ran him close and claimed his second victory of the season at Silverstone.

Senna did his best to keep up with Mansell that day but eventually finished fourth. And in his efforts to keep up with the leader, he ran out of fuel on the finish line.

Not wanting to leave his rival stranded, Mansell offered the Brazilian a lift back and enjoyed a victory lap with Senna sitting on the back of his car.

Ferrari claim first Grand Prix win – 1951

During the maiden Drivers’ Championship, the now iconic Ferrari team failed to win a single race. But in the fifth race of the following year, they claimed their first ever victory at Silverstone.

Jose Froilan Gonzalez won by 51 seconds, finishing ahead of Fangio. Meanwhile, Ferrari teammate Luigi Villoresi joined him on the podium in third.

Silverstone ended up being a happy hunting ground for Gonzalez. He won just two races in his career, with the second one also coming on British soil in 1954.

Schumacher wins from the pit lane – 1998

Seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher won the 1998 British Grand Prix – but the victory came in controversial circumstances. Mika Hakkinen raced into an early lead but the adverse weather conditions forced the safety car out, cutting his lead.

Schumacher overtook to go ahead with 10 laps to go before later being given a 10-second stop-go penalty. He chose to wait until the final lap where he served his penalty from the pits.

The German then won the race from the pit lane and despite Ferrari arguing, the stewards deemed Schumacher’s win to be legitimate.

Mansell becomes most successful British driver – 1992

Despite being 39 years old, Mansell claimed his first and only Drivers’ Championship in 1992, winning nine races in a phenomenal season.

One of those victories came at Silverstone as he finished more than 39 seconds ahead of Williams-Renault teammate Riccardo Patrese.

As well as being a key contribution to his success that season, that was also Mansell’s 28th Grand Prix win, making him the most successful British driver of all time (until Hamilton surpassed him) as he broke Jackie Stewart’s record.

British fans witness Verstappen dominance – 2023

It’s fair to say Verstappen absolutely dominated Formula One in 2023. The Red Bull driver won 19 of the 22 races on the way to his third consecutive title.

One of those wins was at Silverstone back in July during a weekend that saw a record 480,000 people attend. The victory was Verstappen’s sixth win in a row and he’d go on to claim the following four races as well.

It wasn’t a complete walk in the park as he won by just under four seconds. And it was a strong weekend for British drivers as well, with Lando Norris and Hamilton joining Verstappen on the podium.

Schumacher and Hill crash in fierce title battle – 1995

Schumacher and Damon Hill were both vying for the title as they locked horns at Silverstone in 1995. Schumacher eventually won the championship but both drivers were forced to retire after a collision in the British Grand Prix.

After 46 laps, Schumacher was ahead, having taken one pit stop fewer than his opponent. As Hill went to overtake, Schumacher turned inside and the pair collided, both spinning off the track.

Schumacher came back strongly and went on to win his second consecutive title. But Hill had his revenge the following year as he claimed his only ever championship in 1996.

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