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Drama just before the checkered flag: the last minute victories

Drama shortly before the checkered flag
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D every race organizer dreams of: a showdown in the very last lap. In 997 Grand Prix it took place a total of 24 times. The decision was made eight times at the last minute through a real overtaking maneuver, twice by the stable management, once by a pit stop, once by an accident. Technology played fate 12 times. Lately less and less. Too many tools and too much money in the game make the sport more and more predictable. It is precisely the late dramas that are remembered for a lifetime. Because they are so unfair.

Jack Brabham suffered the greatest racing bad luck three times in his career, two of them in one season. The Australian lost two sure wins at Monte Carlo and Brands Hatch in 1970. Once it was 300 meters away, then 600 meters. Bruce McLaren, on the other hand, profited twice. 1959 in Sebring gave him Brabham's mishap the late victory. Nine years later, Jackie Stewart cleared the way for the New Zealander in Spa. From modern times, only the GP Azerbaijan from this year has this quality. Valtteri Bottas lost the lead with a flat tire three laps to go. Read the 12 most dramatic final laps in GP history with us.

GP USA 1959 in Sebring

Jack Brabham, Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks are allowed to participate in the World Championship before the final in Sebring -Titles dream. Moss drops out of the title race after just 5 laps with a gearbox damage. At the front, Jack Brabham, shielded by Cooper teammate Bruce McLaren, is heading for a sure win and the title. You think so. 500 meters from the finish, the leader rolls out without petrol. McLaren wants to help his mentor, but he waves him on. McLaren helps him the most when he wins. Otherwise Brooks makes the race and is world champion. Brabham pushes his Cooper-Climax to the finish line on the gently sloping passage and collapses there. 4th place is enough for the title. The reason for the high fuel consumption: the carburettors were set incorrectly.

Belgian GP 1964 in Spa

With three laps to go, Dan Gurney comfortably leads Graham Hill, Jim Clark and Bruce McLaren. Then the American turns to the boxes. His fuel supply is running out. But there is no petrol in stock. So go on. Clark is also briefly at the pits. Lotus needs to top up cooling water. In the last lap on the 14.1-kilometer route, Hill is already mentally preparing for the victory celebration. Gurney is not aProblem more. He finally runs out of fuel 5 kilometers before the finish. Hills B.R.M. suddenly parks one kilometer further. The fuel pump is on strike. So McLaren wins. Not even close. The engine dies in the target curve. The battery is sucked empty. Clark catches the Cooper on the last few meters.

Jim Clark crosses the finish line in his Lotus 25 at Belgian GP 1964. Bruce McLaren crosses the finish line in second.

Italian GP 1967 in Monza

Jim Clark has won 25 Grand Prix, but in his biggest race he will only third. A flat tire forced him into the pits on the 13th of 68 laps. It was then lapped and dropped back to 15th place. But Clark rounds back and then drives two seconds per lap faster than the top. In the 59th lap, Clark caught up with John Surtees and Jack Brabham in second and third place. Two laps later, Clark is over and is heading for a terrific victory, because at the same time front runner Hill has failed. In the last lap the unbelievable happens. The gasoline pump in the Lotus sucks into the void. Before the Lesmo curve, Surtees and Brabham passed the moral winner.

Belgian GP 1968 at Spa

On the penultimate lap, Jackie Stewart had 30 seconds ahead of Bruce McLaren. But then the sensation. At the beginning of the last lap, Stewart turns into the pit lane to refuel. McLaren wins by 12 seconds and doesn't even know. Only a mechanic informs him. McLaren points to himself in disbelief while still on the podium. 'What, supposed to have won?' The New Zealander hadn't noticed Stewart's breakdown. It was the first GP victory for the McLaren team. Appropriate with the boss in the cockpit.

GP England 1970 at Brands Hatch

Jochen Rindt and Jack Brabham duel for 69 laps. Then Brabham uses a switching error by Rindt and pulls the Austrian away by up to 13 seconds. When Brabham tries to accelerate out of Stirlings Bend for the last time, the Cosworth V8 stutters in its Brabham BT33. The Australian just manages to climb up to the clearways curve. Thenhe lets it roll down the sloping home straight. The starting grid markings can already be seen when Rindt shoots past. The solution to the riddle: A mechanic only put seven cans of fuel into the tank instead of eight.

French GP 1977 in Dijon

John Watson and his Brabham-Alfa are clear about halfway through the race before Mario Andretti. In the final, however, the Lotus is the front runner in the transmission. Watson has everything under control, except the spray supply of his Alfa twelve-cylinder. When he stabbed the downhill section on the last lap, the dropouts began. When the two of them fly out of the valley again over the hill, a black car lies in front of a red one. Andretti took advantage of his opponent's indisposition.

GP South Africa 1978 in Kyalami

The front runners say goodbye in rows. Jody Scheckter with an accident. Riccardo Patrese with engine failure. Mario Andretti has to refuel. Team boss Colin Chapman has again calculated too tightly. Only Ronnie Peterson and Patrick Depailler remain for the showdown. At the beginning of the last lap, Depailler is ahead. But his Tyrrell has problems with the fuel supply. An engine misfire brings Peterson alongside. The two drive through three curves in parallel flight. In the fourth, Peterson happens to be on the cheaper inner lane. The Swede wins wafer-thin.

Ronnie Peterson won the 1978 GP in South Africa in a dramatic way .

GP Monaco 1982 in Monte Carlo

For 73 laps, Alain Prost looks like the sure winner. Then the professor crashes in the harbor chicane when it starts to rain. A little later his constant tailor Ricciardo Patrese turns in the Lowes bend. The marshals push him back in the direction of travel, Patrese chokes in second gear and off we go. But now Didier Pironi and Andrea de Cesaris are in charge. Not long. On the last lap, first de Cesaris parks without petrol, then Pironi. Patrese wins without knowing it. “According to my calculations, Rosberg had won. He had overtaken me on my lathe. Only at the finish did I find out that Keke had failed. I had mistaken him for Derek Daly, who had been one roundbehind. “

Canadian GP 1991 in Montreal

304 of 305 kilometers there is no doubt about the winner. Nigel Mansell leads the undisputed 53 seconds ahead of Nelson Piquet. The Englishman waves to the audience in the last lap, only drives half throttle. When he tries to turn into the hairpin, the hydraulic pressure has dropped so far that the circuit is not working properly. The transmission gets stuck in idle. Then the engine dies. Head of Technology Patrick Head curses: 'If Nigel had only been interested in the technology, that would not have happened.' Piquet is thievingly happy about the win.

Hungarian GP 1997 in Budapest

Arrows has never won 360 starts. But this time, in Budapest, the superior Bridgestone tires make Damon Hill the main actor in the Arrows Yamaha. He slows down Michael Schumacher, he drives Jacques Villeneuve away. Two kilometers from the finish, a penny defect robs him of victory. A membrane that separates gas from oil in the expansion tank for the hydraulic fluid is porous. Hill can still shift into third gear. So he sneaks to the goal. Villeneuve overtakes his ex-teammate as one would expect of him: on the grass.

GP Spain 2001 in Barcelona

When Häkkinen crosses the finish line for the penultimate time, a cloud of smoke rises in the rear of the McLaren and there is a loud bang. He is 42.5 seconds ahead of Michael Schumacher. On the last lap the front runner made it to Turn 4. Then the McLaren stopped. The clutch exploded. A sealing ring in the gearbox has vibrated loose. As a result, oil splashes on the clutch, which slips more and more. It explodes 2.5 kilometers from the target. Michael Schumacher says thank you, but admits: 'Mika would have deserved this victory.'

Nürburgring 2005: Kimi Raikkonen takes victory to Fernando Alonso after an accident from.

GP Europe 2005, Nürburgring

At first, the decisive scene of the race hardly receives any attention. Kimi Räikkönen is leading by 13 seconds ahead of Fernando Alonso when, on lap 34, when he lapped Jacques Villeneuve, he squared his right front wheelbrakes. From then on, the Finn drives towards the checkered flag with strong vibrations. McLaren does without a safety stop, where you should only have changed the damaged tire. 'We wanted to win,' says team boss Ron Dennis. Raikkonen reduced the pace and started the last 5.148 kilometers 1.5 seconds ahead of Alonso when the right front suspension broke when braking into the Castrol bend. Worn down from the jogging tour over 25 laps. Alonso dusts off the victory.

auto motor und sport is celebrating the 1,000th. Formula 1 races this season with a large series in 100 parts. In the daily countdown we provide you with an exciting story and interesting video features from the history of the premier class. You can find all previous articles on our >> Overview page for the big anniversary Grand Prix.


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