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British Grand Prix 2016: Top 10 All Time Performances

Take a look back through the years as RealSport picks the top 10 British Grand Prix performances of all time.

2008 – Lewis Hamilton

Ok, so maybe I’m biased. I like Lewis, I like McLaren and I can remember watching this race absolutely gripped. It was tipping it down, textbook English Silverstone weather and conditions were horrific, only 13 cars finished the race. Hamilton produced not only the best drive in British GP history, at Silverstone or anywhere else, it was one of the best drives ever. 

Such was Hamilton’s dominance on the day that only two other drivers finished on the lead lap, Nick Heidfeld in the Sauber BMW and Rubens Barrichello in the Honda, and both were over a minute behind. Hamilton’s championship rival, Felipe Massa, finished two laps down.   

1987 – Nigel Mansell

There’s several Mansell performances to choose from at Silverstone, he seemed to produce his best in his home GP. The formidable Williams Honda with its reactive suspension was unbeatable, and Mansell along with teammate and rival Nelson Piquet enjoyed dominance not too dissimilar to the modern day Mercedes.

They overlapped every other driver in the race and at one point Mansell was 28 seconds behind, he broke the lap record multiple times to close the gap and with two laps to go, he got alongside Piquet on Hanger straight and mugged him going into Stowe to take the win.

1965 – Jim Clarke, Graham Hill and John Surtees

By 1965 all three men had World Championships under their belts, Clark in the Lotus, Hill in the BRM and Surtees in the Ferrari brought home an all British podium. Clarke and the Lotus were too good for the field, he was on pole and shot away from the field, but an engine misfire on lap 50 slowed him down. Hill, who himself had brake issues, broke the lap record to haul Clarke in but it wasn’t enough as Clarke won the race by 3.2 seconds.

Clarke, who in winning made it four straight British Grand Prix wins, said that he would rather have blown his engine up than let Hill beat him.

1948 – Luigi Villoresi and Alberto Ascari

Two years before Nino Farina won the first official FIA World Championship of Drivers race at Silverstone, the Royal Automobile Club took a one year lease on the Silverstone airfield site set about building a race track. A 65 lap race was held under the new Formula 1 regulations, with ten corners there were some elements of the modern circuit, Hander straight led into Stowe, Club, Abbey, Woodcote and Copse corners were all on show.

32 cars entered, the two Ferrari’s didn’t turn up and five failed to qualify. There were 12 Maserati’s on the grid, the two Italians of Ascari and Villoresi didn’t arrive at the track on time to qualify but were allowed to start the race from the back. It didn’t matter as they came through the field to win by over two minutes (the lap took 2:56:00). 

1988 – Nigel Mansell

Mansell’s second appearance on the list, the win in 1992 is remembered by many due to the track invasion and the World Championship that followed, but in truth it was a precession. The 1988 Williams has lost its Honda engine to McLaren, and Ayton Senna duly won the race after his teammate/rival Alain Prost retired.

Mansell, in the now Williams Judd, qualified in 11th but in wet race conditions found himself up in third. 50 seconds behind Gerhard Berger in second, he stayed on wet tyres using the damp parts of the track to keep them cool and hauled the German in, eventually passing him to finish second.

On a side note, in sixth place was Derek Warwick who was driving an Arrows Megatron. Yes that’s Megatron.

1955 – Stirling Moss

The first British driver to win the British Grand Prix and it was Moss’ first win of his career. He led home a Mercedes 1-2-3 and 4 with the Silver Arrows in the height of their dominance.

Juan Fangio led the race until the final lap when Moss made ‘a daring move under braking’ to take the lead. Moss said that he thought Fangio let him win on home soil but the Argentine always maintained that Moss was better than him on the day.

2010 – Mark Webber

Mark Webber was being a big old grumpy pants in 2010. Red Bull had two lovely brand new front wings on their cars and were looking rather quick. Sebastian Vettel suffered a mechanical failure and his new front wing fell off the Red Bull, damaging it in the process. Red Bull then detached the one from Webber’s car and gave it to Vettel, leaving Webber to run the old spec. With tensions still high following their coming together in Istanbul, Webber launched a very public tirade at Christian Horner and Red Bull claiming they favoured Vettel.

Vettel took pole in a controversial race where a stewarding decision on a pass made by Fernando Alonso on Robert Kubica cost the Spaniard crucial points, and ultimately the world championship. A safety car put Vettel at the back and Webber came through to take the win, “Not bad for a number two driver” he snorted on the radio.

1995 – Johnny Herbert

In the 1980’s Johnny Herbert was considered one of the golden boys, a shoe-in for a world championship until a nasty crash broke his legs and set him back. He took a role as Michael Schumacher’s number two driver at Benetton while the German was at height of his battle with Damon Hill.

With Schumacher leading, Hill stuck one up the inside and got it all wrong, ending the race for both drivers. This put Herbert, in the second Benetton, and David Coulthard, in the second Williams, in first and second place. Coulthard passed Herbert after nearly causing an identical crash to the one that finished Hill and Schumacher’s’ day, but a ten second penalty put him back in third. Jean Alesi in the Ferrari made a charge but Herbert held on to take his first win in his 74th grand prix.

1977 – James Hunt   

James Hunt had won the British Grand Prix in 1976 only for him to be disqualified two months later, and the race win given to Niki Lauda after Ferrari protested. Hunt went on to win the title after Lauda missed part of the season following a huge crash…. Go and watch the film Speed! 

Hunt would only win one race in 1977 as he failed to defend his title.  A whopping 37 cars entered that led to Pre-Qualifying ahead of the main qualifying, which led to 7 seven cars being classified as DNPQ!

Hunt was on pole with John Watson in the Brabham in second, and Lauda in his Ferrari in third. Watson would retire on lap 60 and Hunt took a convincing win by 18 seconds from Lauda in what would be a hugely popular home victory.

1981 – John Watson

“The British Grand Prix, won by a British driver in a British car” beamed Murrary Walker as Watson took victory in 1981. It was also the first time a carbon fibre car won a grand prix. 

Rene Arnoux and Alain Prost were first and second on the grid in the much fancied Renault’s and they got away well, along with the two Ferrari’s of Gilles Villeneuve and Didier Pironi. 

An early crash took out three cars, including reigning champion Alan Jones and Villeneuve. Watson, who was well down at this point, managed to swerve the accident and come through the field, both Renaults would eventually retire leaving Watson to take the win.

British Grand Prix 2016: Top 10 All Time Performances

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