Incredible outsider performances that will forever go down in Formula 1 history
One of the heroes of the last race at the Hungaroring was a pair of Williams pilots. The points scored by Latifi and Russell were the first for the Grove team in two years. Also, for the first time since 2018, Williams managed to finish with two cars in the top 10. In the current reality, such results are a real treat for the British team. Let’s remember other incredible cases when outsider teams unexpectedly achieved success for everyone.
- Marc Genet and Luca Badoer (Minardi) – 1999 European Grand Prix
- Mark Webber (“Minardi”) – Australian Grand Prix 2002
- Tiago Monteiro (Jordan) – 2005 Belgian Grand Prix
- Takuma Sato (“Super Aguri”) – 2007 Canadian Grand Prix
- Jules Bianchi (Maroussia) – Monaco Grand Prix 2014
- Pascal Wehrlein (Manor) – 2016 Austrian Grand Prix
Marc Genet and Luca Badoer (Minardi) – 1999 European Grand Prix
The race, which took place at the Nürburgring in 1999, became one of the brightest and most exciting of the decade. Having started from the penultimate row of the starting field, Genet and Badoer were unlikely to count on a successful performance in the race at the Nurburgring. However, the insane nature of that Grand Prix gave the pilots of “Minardi” certain chances.
Numerous retirements of rivals (without which the success of outsiders is almost impossible) seriously helped Badoer and Zhenya. In addition, during the race, it periodically rained over the track, which made its own adjustments to the course of events. By the second half of the distance, the pilots of “Minardi” were already on the edge of the spectacle zone.
The key decision in the camp of the Italian team was Badoer’s transition to “pseudo-slick” in the conditions of a drying track. After changing the rubber, Luca turned on God mode and gave almost the best performance of his career, reaching the fourth place. Badoer claimed serious points, but, unfortunately, 13 laps before the finish line, the gearbox on his Minardi car failed. This is how offensively Luca ended the fight, who had been running the race of his entire life. After leaving the Italian, out of annoyance, he could not even hold back his tears.
As for his partner Zhenet, this race was much more successful for Mark. Mark was in fifth place before being overtaken by the failed leaders of the season – Hakkinen and Irvine. And if the Finn managed to get past the outsider at Minardi, then the Ferrari pilot had problems with that. Having heroically defended the saving sixth line, Zhenya brought his modest team the first points in four years.
Mark Webber (“Minardi”) – Australian Grand Prix 2002
After Mark’s feat, Genet had to wait for the next finish in glasses for almost three whole years. The new hero for the Italian team was to be F1 rookie Mark Webber. The opening race of the 2002 season in Australia was supposed to be the first for the Minardi rookie in the Royal Races. Since Webber played for the outside team, responsibility for the result did not put pressure on him – the Australian could fully enjoy his debut on the home track and just try to finish.
Mark, in fact, made the main contribution to the final success at the very beginning of the race, when he managed to survive in a terrible meat grinder at the start. As a result of starting collisions, eight pilots dropped out of the race at once. Thus, Webber automatically moved to the top 10: after the first round, he was already in 8th place.
Further more. Leaving the race ahead of the rivals allowed the Australian to reach fifth position in the second half of the race. Yes, we can say that the main factor in Webber’s success that day was the problems with other riders. However, we must not forget that Mark in his debut race flawlessly performed everything that was required of him.
For 58 laps of the distance, he did not make a single serious mistake. In addition, the Australian in the last laps of the race very worthily fought off the attacks of the more experienced Mika Salo. The Finnish pilot pressed Webber so hard that in the end he even made a mistake and made a U-turn. Calmly driving the remaining two laps, the Australian finished in a triumphant 5th place.
Tiago Monteiro (Jordan) – 2005 Belgian Grand Prix
Thiago Monteiro entered the history of F1, first of all, thanks to the scandalous stage in the USA, when only six cars started the race. His third place at the end of that Grand Prix was almost the best illustration of the absurdity of what is happening. However, in addition to the not entirely deserved podium in the Portuguese formula career, there was a truly outstanding race.
At first, the Belgian Grand Prix did not hint at an unexpected success for Monteiro. The Portuguese entered the race from the penultimate position and on the first lap was ahead of only two Minardi drivers. During the first wave of pit stops, Tiago was able to play a couple more positions and moved to 14th place.
The pit stop tactics were ultimately the main success factor. Precisely thanks to the fact that Monteiro entered the pits for the second time already closer to the last quarter of the race, he managed to get ahead of Felipe Massa and Christian Wedge. As the race drew to a close, Tiago had to finish in a modest 10th place. However, Antonio Pizzonia helped Jordan a lot by taking out Montoya.
Thus, the Portuguese moved to the 8th line, which allowed him to add one point to the team’s piggy bank. The points won by Monteiro at the Spa-Francorchamps are the last in the history of the Jordan team.
Takuma Sato (“Super Aguri”) – 2007 Canadian Grand Prix
In 2007 “Super Aguri” spent its second season in the Royal Races. During the first year of its stay in F1, the Japanese team managed to be remembered, perhaps, only for its interesting concept and history with the participation of Yuji Ide. In terms of sports, “Super Aguri” began to somehow show itself as early as the next year.
The first part of the 2007 season can generally be called the best segment in the team’s short history. At the beginning of the season, Super Aguri managed to achieve its first local successes. In Australia, Sato managed to break into the third qualifying segment, at the Spanish stage, the Japanese brought the team the first points in history, and the race in Montreal for Super Aguri became the best in two and a half years of its existence.
Takuma Sato started the race in Canada from a very high eleventh position. At the start, I even managed to pass Jarno Trulli and break into the top ten. For most of the distance, the Japanese kept on the border of the points zone – even a hitch at the pit stop did not prevent.
Towards the end of the race, Sato still moved to the coveted eighth line, but Takuma did not even think to stop there. Five laps before the finish line, the Japanese put pressure on Ralf Schumacher, whom he actively pressed for several laps. Then he began to attack Fernando Alonso and after two laps, to the rejoicing of the few Super Aguri fans, Takuma beat the Spaniard!
Having safely finished the race in 6th place, Sato brought his team three points – the best result in the history of the Japanese stable. If there had been a pilot of the day vote in 2007, Takuma would have had every chance of becoming the fan’s favorite – despite Hamilton’s debut victory that day.
Jules Bianchi (Maroussia) – Monaco Grand Prix 2014
As you know, on the city track in Monte Carlo it is almost impossible to overestimate the importance of qualifications, because overtaking on the narrow streets of Monte Carlo is incredibly difficult and the starting position often becomes a determining factor in Sunday’s success. However, Jules Bianchi in 2014 completely refuted this dogma.
Starting the race from the last row of the starting field, the French pilot hardly suspected how much joy the results of this Grand Prix would bring to the Marusya team. While half of the peloton was wrong and experiencing all sorts of problems (including mechanical), Bianchi had an almost flawless race.
Why almost? And because Jules made two non-pilot mistakes. At the very beginning, he took the wrong position at the start. And already during the race, the Frenchman served his sentence at a time when a safety car was present on the track. For this offense, he received a 5-second penalty to the final race time.
As a result, brilliant aerobatics on one of the most difficult tracks of the calendar allowed Jules Bianchi to finish in 8th place, which, due to a penalty, immediately transformed into 9th position. For the weakest team in the peloton, this result was akin to a victory. The finish of the French pilot in the points zone was the first and the last in the history of the Russian team.
Pascal Wehrlein (Manor) – 2016 Austrian Grand Prix
Since the moment of Bianchi’s enchanting race at Marus, a lot has changed: from the management to the name. The team spent the 2016 season with the new name “Manor”. However, this name did not bring luck to the racing team: at the beginning of the next year, the team ceased to exist. However, “Manoru” still managed to give out one bright race in the end.
The stage in Austria began incredibly optimistic for the modest team: for the first time this season, Pascal Wehrlein managed to break into the second segment and qualified in 12th place. At the start of the race for Wehrlein, the main task was not to give up too many positions. And we must admit that he coped with it excellently: Pascal managed to maintain the status quo.
In that race, “Manor” was not like itself at all – in a good sense of the word. On the Austrian track, Wehrlein did not feel at all like a representative of an outsider team: Pascal fought wheel after wheel with his rivals and did not hesitate to quickly counterattack if he lost position.
By the end of the race, Wehrlein was in the same 12th place from which he started. It already seemed that the German pilot would end this battle race like that. However, the retirements from the distance of Alonso and Perez moved Pascal to the coveted 10th place. This race became the most successful in the entire short history of the team called “Manor”.
Of course, not all examples of outstanding performances by outsiders were included in this collection, but only the most recent ones. What was the most memorable performance of the pilot from the outsider team? Write in the comments!