Formula 1 typifies an exhilarating blend of speed, precision, and skill.
Since its inception in 1950, the world’s fastest racing drivers have pushed themselves and their machinery to the absolute limit. Cars have gotten bigger, faster and more sophisticated since the turn of the millennium but the relentless pursuit of the seemingly impossible among the drivers remains the same.
Here’s a look at five times since the year 2000 these speed demons left audiences in awe with performances on race day that earned them their very own slice of immortality in the realm of motorsports.
5. Jenson Button – Canadian Grand Prix 2011
Starting from seventh on the grid, Jenson Button’s drive at the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix in 2011 was a masterclass in skill and strategy. He made his way up to second before heavy rain forced the race to be suspended.
After a two-hour delay, Button resumed the race in sixth place but pulled off several stunning overtakes, including a memorable pass on Sebastian Vettel, to take the lead and win the race.
4. Max Verstappen – Brazilian Grand Prix 2019
Max Verstappen began third on the grid at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix and took the lead early on before a collision with Lewis Hamilton dropped him to the back of the field.
The Dutchman however put on an unforgettable show of skill and determination to slice his way through the field, eventually passing Hamilton on his way to the chequered flag. It was perhaps the performance that elevated the status of Verstappen’s championship claim from ‘potential’ to ‘inevitable’.
3. Fernando Alonso – European Grand Prix 2012
Fernando Alonso’s genius was evident from the very start of his career and this race at the 2012 European Grand Prix confirmed it quite emphatically. Starting from 11th on the grid, Alonso moved up the field with calculated precision and made the most of a safety car to move into second.
A series of stunning laps at the end eventually saw him win by over six seconds, leaving the audience and his peers speechless.
2. Lewis Hamilton – British Grand Prix 2008
They say that the truly elite drivers come to the fore in the wet and Lewis Hamilton certainly enlisted himself in that category at the 2008 British Grand Prix. Starting from fourth, he swiftly leapt into second place before rain fell over the Silverstone circuit. In fiercely challenging conditions, Hamilton’s superior handling and skill behind the wheel was palatable.
A phenomenal drive saw him lap the entire field up to third place and he crossed the finish line over a minute ahead of his nearest rival. It was a jaw-dropping display that saw Hamilton make the step up to F1 greatness.
1. Michael Schumacher – Hungarian Grand Prix 2004
Michael Schumacher’s performance at the 2004 Hungarian Grand Prix was a show of complete and utter dominance. Starting from pole position, the legendary German led every lap, and lapped all but the top three cars. He finished over 15 seconds ahead of his second place.
It was the perfect driver during a dominant season in which he secured his seventh and final World Championship.