As China gets set to host 1,000th Formula One race, a look back at 10 of the best

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Alain Prost (l) and Ayrton Senna endured a frosty and feisty rivalry.

The 1,000th Formula One race takes place at the Shanghai International Circuit in China on Sunday.

Here, Press Association Sport looks back at 10 of the best.

1958 Portuguese Grand Prix

Stirling Moss became a household name in the 50s and 60s. Despite never winning a world championship, Moss will be remembered not only as one of the greatest, but the most sporting racer.

This was on display in Portugal where he won ahead of title rival Mike Hawthorn. Hawthorn was facing disqualification, but Moss protested his innocence in front of the stewards.

Hawthorn held on to second, and the six points, and ended up winning the championship, the first Briton to do so, by just one point from Moss.

1969 Italian Grand Prix

Jackie Stewart took his first world title with one of the hardest-fought victories of his career, and the closest one-two-three-four finishes ever. The Scot beat Jochen Rindt by just eight hundredths of a second at Monza’s Temple of Speed.

Less than a fifth of a second separated the top four after 100 minutes of spellbinding racing.

1976 Japanese Grand Prix

Niki Lauda.

Niki Lauda.

Such was the theatre of the 1976 season, Hollywood released Rush, a film which depicted the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda, four decades on.

In an incident-packed year, Lauda almost died in a fireball inferno at the Nurburgring, but a few weeks later remarkably returned at Monza. The title went to the wire at a rain-hit Fuji.

Lauda, who led Hunt by three points, retired from the race blaming the awful conditions. Hunt raced on, and despite dropping down the field after a dramatic late tyre problem, crossed the line in third to take the title.

1986 Australian Grand Prix

Millions in the UK set their alarms in the hope of waking up to watch Nigel Mansell become the first Briton since Hunt to win the title. The plucky Englishman was on course to do just that before a tyre blow-out derailed his chances in Adelaide.

“And colossally that’s Mansell,” said Murray Walker as Mansell’s Williams came to a dramatic halt. Mansell had to wait another six years before winning his maiden championship.

1989 Japanese Grand Prix

Ayrton Senna’s rivalry with Alain Prost is probably the biggest the sport has ever known. The enigmatic Brazilian pitched against the diminutive Frenchman they called the professor.

Their relationship as team-mates at the dominant McLaren team had reached fever pitch by the penultimate race of the season in Suzuka, and boiled over when they collided. Senna dived underneath Prost at the chicane in a bid to keep his title hopes alive.

Prost knew he would be crowned champion if Senna did not finish and the pair crashed. Prost retired but Senna recovered to win, only to be controversially disqualified after he was adjudged to have re-joined the track illegally.

1993 European Grand Prix

Senna’s opening lap at a rain-soaked Donington Park is regarded as the finest in the sport’s history. The Brazilian, driving a McLaren not in the same league as Williams that year, started fourth but assumed the lead from Prost within a handful of corners.

In the changeable conditions, Senna put on a masterful display to win by a minute and a half.

1998 Belgian Grand Prix

The race in Spa was unforgettable for two reasons; firstly, an incredible first-lap crash which wiped out virtually the entire field. Then, with Michael Schumacher on course for a routine victory, the Ferrari driver smashed into the back of David Coulthard’s McLaren.

Schumacher retired from the race and then charged down the pit lane to confront the Scot.

2008 Brazilian Grand Prix

Hamilton Vettel

Lewis Hamilton wrote his name in Formula One folklore by taking his first world championship on the last corner of the last lap of the last race. Needing to finish fifth, he passed the Toyota of Timo Glock in pouring rain at Interlagos, denying local favourite Felipe Massa of the title he thought he had won.

2011 Canadian Grand Prix

Jenson Button won the longest race in history, a four-hour marathon that was red-flagged following torrential rain in Montreal. At one stage, Button was last but the Englishman delivered a memorable display to carve his way back through the field, from 21st to first, passing Sebastian Vettel, who spun, on the final lap.

2014 Bahrain Grand Prix

Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were embroiled in a battle so enthralling in Bahrain, one national newspaper proclaimed it as the Race of the Century.

The Mercedes team-mates slugged it out over 57 thrilling laps for first place with Hamilton ultimately prevailing. The Briton later beat Rosberg to the championship at the final race in Abu Dhabi.

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Lewis Hamilton says 1000th F1 race just a stat and his focus is on winning

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Lewis Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton is not getting caught up in the excitement of Formula One‘s 1,000th race as he insisted in China: “I’m here to do one job, and that’s to win.”

The scene was being set for the sport’s landmark race on Thursday, with wall-to-wall branding of the number 1,000, while cars of yesteryear were rolled into the Shanghai paddock.

But Hamilton, who will start the 232nd race of his career as he bids for a sixth world championship, said: “I’m not one for birthdays, anniversaries, and special days.

“It’s no different to any race weekend for me. I’m here to do one job, and one job only, and that’s to win.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s the 1,000th, the 2,000th or the 10,000th grand prix. It is an irrelevant figure for me.”

Hamilton, who trails his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas by one point in the championship standings, knows he will face another stern test from Ferrari after the Italian team dominated in Bahrain.

The Mercedes star took advantage of Charles Leclerc’s late engine failure to take an unlikely win, but he is expecting Ferrari to hold the upper hand again this weekend.

Over at the Prancing Horse, Leclerc has emerged as a serious championship contender after upstaging his established team-mate Sebastian Vettel at the last round.

Vettel was not only slower than Leclerc, but he spun, while fighting for second place with Hamilton.

Hamilton later pointed towards Vettel’s career resume which boasts 52 wins and four championships in support of the under-fire German.

“Maybe he’s the only one that doesn’t lack a short-term memory,” said Vettel. “We have been around a long time and as much as I want to beat Lewis, he wants to beat me, too. But sometimes you never know what is going on with other drivers at other teams.

“Sometimes things might not go your way, but I also know and understand that nowadays people’s judgement doesn’t go beyond a week. It’s part of life.”

Provided by Press Association

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Lewis Hamilton encourages young rival Charles Leclerc after Bahrain heartbreak

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Hamilton won the Bahrain Grand Prix after Leclerc's engine failure.

Lewis Hamilton says Charles Leclerc will come back stronger from the late engine failure which cruelly denied him a maiden win in Bahrain.

Leclerc, 21, was on course to become Formula One‘s third-youngest winner following a brilliant drive for Ferrari.

But with 11 laps remaining of a dramatic race – one which also saw Sebastian Vettel spin out of contention – a mechanical failure struck Leclerc’s car, costing him a crucial 30mph in straight-line speed.

The young Monegasque was a sitting duck as Hamilton sailed by to go on to claim his 74th career win and the first of his championship defence.

Valterri Bottas also made his way past Leclerc to seal an unlikely Mercedes one-two and ensure he remains ahead of Hamilton in the standings by just one point.

“I’m sure this is a devastating result for Charles as he had done the job to win the race,” said Hamilton.

“He has been incredibly rapid and was quickest in all sessions, and truly deserved the win. He’s got a beautiful, bright future ahead of him, so this will only make him stronger.

“I’ve been in a position like that where we’ve been in the lead many times when the car has stopped and I know how it feels.

“But it’s always good to look at the glass half full because today he still got some great points even though he had that problem. He was an outlier all weekend and faster than his team-mate.”

Vettel endured a troubling weekend in the Gulf Kingdom. Three tenths of a second slower than Leclerc in qualifying, the German was unable to match his inexperienced team-mate in the race, too.

The four-time world champion took the lead off the start line, but Leclerc fought his way back past on lap six. Then, on lap 38, while duelling for second position with Hamilton, Vettel lost control of his Ferrari and spun.

His front wing also dramatically fell off his car and by the time he had stopped for repairs, he emerged in ninth. Vettel recovered to finish fifth, but the German left Bahrain under pressure following what was his fourth spin from his last 10 appearances.

“I am happy for the team but it was a disappointing race,” said Vettel.

“Starting at the front and not finishing there is not what we wanted. I didn’t have the pace I wanted, and on top of that I made the mistake with the spin so it was not a good evening.”

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