9 brightest breakthroughs from Formula 1 drivers – including victory after the start of the 22nd
Max Verstappen can be safely called one of the main characters of the last race in Sochi. After starting from the last position, he managed to achieve almost the maximum result – finishing in second place. Of course, the rain that hit the Sochi autodrome in the last minutes of the race helped Max a lot. Nevertheless, winning back eighteen positions on not the most overtaking track cannot but impress. In honor of the recent performance by Verstappen, we propose to recall other pilots for whom the start from the depths of the peloton did not become an obstacle to the finish in high positions.
- US Grand Prix – 1972. Ronnie Peterson: start – 26th, finish – 4th
- South African Grand Prix – 1973. Jackie Stewart: start – 16th, finish – 1st
- US Grand Prix West – 1980. Emerson Fittipaldi: Start 24th, Finish 3rd
- US Grand Prix – 1983. John Watson: start – 22nd, finish – 1st
- Belgian Grand Prix – 1995. Michael Schumacher: start – 16th, finish – 1st
- German Grand Prix – 2000. Rubens Barrichello: start – 18th, finish – 1st
- Гран-при Германии – 2005. Хуан Пабло Монтойя: старт – 20-й, финиш – 2-й
- Japanese Grand Prix – 2005. Kimi Raikkonen: start – 17th, finish – 1st
- Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – 2012. Sebastian Vettel: start – pit lane, finish – 3rd
US Grand Prix – 1972. Ronnie Peterson: start – 26th, finish – 4th
Ronnie Peterson became one of the main characters of the 1971 season: driving not the fastest March, he managed to become vice-champion. By 1972, the British team’s cars became even less competitive compared to the previous season, which quite logically affected the results of the Swedish pilot. However, Peterson still managed to hold at least one bright race in the 1972 season.
The final stage of the season at Watkins Glen did not start well for Ronnie. During qualification, the Swedish pilot crashed his car and naturally had to start from the tail of the peloton – from 26th place. After an unsuccessful Saturday, Peterson was able to rehabilitate himself on Sunday: in the race, the Swede was one of the fastest on the track.
Not without the help of rivals, closer to the middle of the distance, the Swedish pilot burst into the points zone. A separate decoration of that race was the fight between Peterson and Ferrari pilot Jacqui Ickx. For several laps, the riders fought with each other for the fifth position, and after the departure of Jody Scheckter for the fourth. In the end, engine problems prevented Jacqui from continuing to fight Peterson. So, having played as many as twenty-two positions, the legendary pilot managed to bring his modest “March” to the high 4th place.
South African Grand Prix – 1973. Jackie Stewart: start – 16th, finish – 1st
Like the previous hero of our collection, Jackie Stewart also began his triumphant stage with a car crashed during qualification. Only now, unlike Peterson, the Scotsman did not put up with this state of affairs and borrowed the car from his partner François Sever. On someone else’s car, Stewart was able to show only the sixteenth time. However, the low starting position did not become a problem for the Scottish pilot. According to the results of the first seven laps, Jackie took the lead in the race, having played fifteen positions.
Such a quick breakthrough from the depths of the peloton to the representatives of “Lotus” and “McLaren” seemed somewhat suspicious. They believed that Stewart had outstripped their pilots under the influence of yellow flags. The teams even filed protests against Stewart’s actions that were illegal from their point of view. However, the judges saw nothing criminal in overtaking the Scotsman.
As a result, Jackie quietly advanced the remaining seventy-two laps and finished the race with a twenty-second lead over his closest rival.
US Grand Prix West – 1980. Emerson Fittipaldi: Start 24th, Finish 3rd
In 1980, the two-time F1 champion spent his fifth season in the camp of his brother Wilson’s team. As in previous years, the team, which bore the proud name “Fittipaldi”, did not shine with results. The bitter truth was that to finish in high positions, the pilots of the Brazilian team, first of all, had to rely not on their own speed, but on the problems faced by their rivals. In one of these races, Emerson Fittipaldi managed to climb to the high third position.
The race, which took place on the streets of Long Beach, the Brazilian champion, quite as usual for that season, started from the tail of the peloton. Having avoided two massive accidents at the beginning of the race, he managed to win back a lot of positions. In the future, Emerson continued to break through to the top thanks to the numerous problems faced by his rivals. Gradually, the Brazilian got closer and closer to the coveted podium. And on lap 63, after a puncture at Rene Arnoux, Fittipaldi burst into the top three. While in third position, Emerson came under attack from John Watson. However, problems with the gearbox did not allow the McLaren pilot to take the third place from the famous Brazilian.
As a result, having survived in an extremely difficult race, Fittipaldi still managed to finish in the top three. By the way, this podium was the last for both Emerson himself and his brother’s team.
US Grand Prix – 1983. John Watson: start – 22nd, finish – 1st
Breakthroughs from the end of the peloton are John Watson’s most distinctive racing talents. During his formulaic career, the native of Belfast has repeatedly proved to the public that a low starting position is far from a sentence. In 1982, he won the race in Detroit, starting from 17th place. And the next year he repeated his feat on American soil.
The McLaren pilots Watson and Lauda started the race on the Long Beach city circuit in the distant 22nd and 23rd places, respectively. For the time being, the race went quite calmly, but at the end of the first third of the distance events rained down like a cornucopia. First, in the battle for leadership, Keke Rosbergs and Patrick Tambe clashed. And then a few more riders experienced all sorts of problems. Against this background, the McLaren pilots managed to climb very high, and by the 28th lap of the race they were already in 3rd and 4th positions.
Then Watson and Lauda calmly dealt with Patrese and Laffitte, who had serious problems with rubber wear. And at the end of the race, the Northern Irishman noticeably broke away from his partner and confidently completed the triumphant race. To this day, no F-1 driver has managed to win from 22nd or lower. Thus, Watson inscribed his name in the history of Royal Racing. Today John’s achievement looks unattainable, because it is impossible to win the race from 22nd place if the peloton has only twenty cars.
Belgian Grand Prix – 1995. Michael Schumacher: start – 16th, finish – 1st
It would be a real crime not to include Michael’s Belgian performance in such a selection. The race, held at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in 1995, is considered one of the best in the Red Baron’s career. Starting the race from a distant 16th position, Schumacher, from the first laps, began his heroic breakthrough from the depths of the peloton. Already by the sixth lap, Michael managed to win back eleven positions and broke into 5th place. Just over nine seconds remained before the leading Coulthard.
Further, Schumacher was somewhat stuck behind the desperately defending Eddie Irvine. In the fight against the Briton, Michael lost precious time, and the gap to the leader of the race had already increased to twenty seconds. However, Coulthard was not destined to compete with Schumacher that day: on the 13th lap, David retired due to problems with the gearbox. So Michael won back one more position, and after the first wave of pit stops, he even went to the second line.
Closer to the middle of the distance, it began to rain, which became one of the main characters of that day. Race leader Damon Hill decided to go into the pits for rain tires. While Schumacher continued to race on slicks. After a couple of laps, Hill caught up with Michael, who was not shod for the weather. Having restrained several attacks of Damon, the then one-time world champion still missed the Williams pilot. However, the rain soon subsides, and the track begins to dry up quickly: Schumacher passes Hill without a fight and rushes forward.
Towards the end of the race, the Briton managed to get close to Michael after leaving the safety car. However, Hill quickly dropped out of the fight for the victory: it turned out that Damon exceeded the speed in the pit lane, for which he received a stop-and-go penalty. Schumacher confidently led the rest of the distance and celebrated a well-deserved triumph at the end of the race.
German Grand Prix – 2000. Rubens Barrichello: start – 18th, finish – 1st
On the eve of the race at the Hockenheimring, Rubens Barrichello was certainly not the favorite. Back on Saturday, Rubens had problems with the electrical system, because of which he was able to qualify only in 18th position. One of the main contenders for the victory was seen as the partner of the Brazilian – Michael Schumacher. However, in the race itself, the Red Baron was unable to overcome even the first turn: Giancarlo Fisichella carried Michael right at the start.
Remaining the only Ferrari representative, Barrichello began his heroic break from the end of the peloton. By the fourteenth lap of the race, he managed to break into third position. Ahead of the Brazilian was only the seemingly unattainable tandem of “silver arrows” – Hakkinen – Coulthard. It is likely that the McLaren would have continued to lead confidently, if not for one of the most outrageous events. The fact is that on the 25th lap of the distance, an employee of the Mercedes plant appeared on the track. The race management immediately decided to release the safety car on the track. Thus, the safety car destroyed the gap between the McLaren and the rest of the peloton, and Rubens managed to get closer to the leaders.
But towards the end of the race, it started raining over the Hockenheimring. Barrichello became the only pilot from the group of leaders who refused to switch to rain tires. The calculation of the Ferrari’s captain’s bridge was made for the sections of the track not touched by the rain (in particular, long forest straight lines), on which Rubens won back what he lost in the wet sectors. As a result, impeccable aerobatics in difficult weather conditions brought Barrichello his first victory in the Royal Races.
Гран-при Германии – 2005. Хуан Пабло Монтойя: старт – 20-й, финиш – 2-й
К гонке в Германии Хуан Пабло Монтойя подходил в приподнятом настроении: две недели назад колумбийцу удалось одержать первую викторию за рулём «Макларена». Монтойя был полон решимости продолжить свою победную поступь на немецкой трассе. Однако ошибка в последнем повороте единственного квалификационного круга поставила колумбийца в достаточно затруднительное положение – старт с последней позиции.
Стратеги «Макларена» приняли решение отправить Монтойю в гонку на заправленном под завязку болиде – главная ставка была сделана, прежде всего, на вторую часть гонки. Однако Хуан Пабло даже на тяжёлой машине не стеснялся атаковать и за первый круг отыграл целых девять позиций!
С началом первой волны пит-стопов соперники один за другим заезжали на дозаправку, в то время Монтойя оставался на трассе, штампуя круги в чистом воздухе. Тактика капитанского мостика «Макларена» сработала на ура, и после своего пит-стопа Хуан Пабло оказался уже на 5-й позиции. Далее колумбийца ожидала борьба за второе место с Михаэлем Шумахером и Дженсоном Баттоном. После того как Шумахер и Баттон свернули на вторую дозаправку, Монтойя вновь остался в гордом одиночестве. Атакуя на пустых баках, колумбиец создал себе необходимый задел, который позволил ему сохранить вторую строчку после своего пит-стопа. Так Монтойя провёл свою самую яркую гонку в составе «Макларена».
Japanese Grand Prix – 2005. Kimi Raikkonen: start – 17th, finish – 1st
Again “McLaren” – and again in 2005. Only this time the main character was another pilot of the team from Woking – Kimi Raikkonen. The rain that started right during qualifying at Suzuka gave the fans a very unusual starting grid. Ralf Schumacher and Jenson Button started from the first row, while the main characters of the season – Alonso and Raikkonen took only 16th and 17th places in qualification, respectively. From the very beginning of the race, the leaders of the season rushed forward. Alonso had a brilliant start, having played eight positions in the first round. Kimi also kept close to the Spaniard.
The McLaren strategists decided not to reinvent the wheel and, just like in Germany, chose the tactics of a late pit stop. After the first refueling, made closer to the equator of the race, Kimi managed to reach 6th position and ahead of Alonso. The second pit stop Raikkonen also held much later than his main rivals – eight laps before the finish.
After leaving the pits, Iceman ended up in 2nd position – only Giancarlo Fisichella remained ahead. With each lap Raikkonen got closer and closer to the Italian, closing the gap at a frantic pace. In the end, on entering the first corner of the last lap of the race, Kimi made an incredibly beautiful overtake, ahead of Fisichella in the outer radius. This maneuver can be safely called one of the brightest moments in Iceman’s career.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – 2012. Sebastian Vettel: start – pit lane, finish – 3rd
For Sebastian Vettel, the stage in Abu Dhabi was incredibly important in terms of the fight for the title with Fernando Alonso. In qualifying, the Red Bull pilot managed to show the third time. However, Sebastian was not destined to go into the race from the second row of the starting field. The fact is that at the end of the qualification, it was not possible to collect the liter of fuel necessary for the control sample from the tank of Vettel’s car. And such a violation, as you know, is punishable by a link to the very end of the peloton on the starting grid. In addition, in the camp of the “bulls” they decided to break the regime of the closed park, which is why Vettel was forced to start from the pit lane.
Already in the first laps of the race, Sebastian managed to win back a lot of positions. However, during his heroic breakout from the end of the peloton, he somewhat damaged the front spoiler. So Vettel lost a few precious seconds during the first pit stop. After changing the wing, the German pilot rolled back to the very end of the peloton. Then Sebastian began to methodically “destroy” one opponent after another.
Squeezing all the juices out of his “software”, Vettel went to the second pit stop, after which he was already in 4th position. Further, the German pilot was helped by a safety car, which appeared on the track after a collision between Webber and Grosjean. After the restart, Sebastian began to actively put pressure on Button. In the end, three laps before the finish, Vettel pushed the Briton and moved to 3rd place. So, Sebastian, having played twenty-one positions, climbed onto the podium in the race, which he started from the pit lane.