Highlights of the British GP over the last 50 years
This year Silverstone is celebrating it's 50th Grand Prix so we thought we'd take you through some highlights of the British Grand Prix over the years.
In 1946 the racing circuit at Brooklands, the birthplace of British motor-sports, was deemed to be beyond repair and was sold off to Vickers-Armstrong, in its wake there was no clear heir to the title of being the major racetrack of Britain. Silverstone was nothing more than one of many new tracks built on one of the many abandoned airfields around the country following the end of Wold War II. Back then it was a basic site with bales of hay and ropes set out to protect the farmers crops in the middle of the circuit but by October 1948 nearly 100,000 people came to watch a Maserati, raced by Luigi Villoresi, fly around the track to a famous victory.
The first Formula One Championship emerged shortly after in 1950 and Silverstone became the nation’s leading racing circuit. The first F1 event at Silverstone was also the first F1 race ever held and starts our list of British Grand Prix highlights.
Winning Car: Alfa Romeo Tipo 158
Winning Driver: Giuseppe Farina
The first ever F1 Championship race was also the first and only time that a reigning British King or Queen has ever attended a British motor-race. The winner was Giuseppe Farina in a Alfa Romeo Tipo 158 but Alfa Romeo didn’t just win the race; they dominated the podium with Giuseppe’s teammates Luigi Fagioli in second and Derby's Reg Parnell coming third.
Winning Car: Ferrari 375
Winning Driver: Frolián Gonzalez
This race is historic for being the first time that Ferrari registered a Grand Prix victory and also for the fact that it was the first F1 race to date that had not been won by the dominant Alpha Romeo team. Argentinian Jose Gonzalez won the race in a Ferrari 375.
Winning Car: McLaren-Ford M23
Winning Driver: Peter Revson
The 1973 Silverstone Grand Prix is perhaps remembered for the wrong reasons as the race had to be restarted following probably the biggest crash that F1 has ever witnessed. During the first lap, fourth placed Jody Scheckter lost control on the final corner and spun into several cars. When the race restarted 9 drivers had been forced to retire and Andrea de Adamich was not only forced to retire from the race but from the sport entirely after suffering career ending injuries.
Winning Car: Renault RE40
Winning Driver: Alain Prost
1983 the first turbo cars were introduced and legend Alain Prost burst onto the F1 scene by breaking the Silverstone top-speed record, reaching 140mph and winning the race in the process.
Winning Car: McLaren-TAG MP4/2B
Winning Driver: Alain Prost
A race featuring F1 legends Prost, Mansell, Piquet and Senna saw Proust break the lap record again registering 151mph. In fact Prost was so fast that the chequered flag was brought out a whole lap early by mistake as Prost had lapped the entire field.
Winning Car: Williams-Honda FW11B
Winning Driver: Nigel Mansel
In 1987 Mansell-mania hits fever pitch in Britain but his rivalry with Nelson Piquet does the same after Piquet insults Mansell’s wife’s looks and calls him "an uneducated blockhead”. Mansell gets his own back on home turf at Silverstone though. After being behind Mansell fought back with some blisteringly fast laps before manoeuvring a famous feign and dummy to pass Piquet and seal victory.
Winning Car: Williams-Renault FW16
Winning Driver: Damon Hill
Schumacher became the UK’s number one villain in 1994 through his controversial tactics and rivalry with Damon Hill. Hill fell behind in the title race and there seemed no coming back until a famous win at Silverstone turned the season in Hill’s favour. Ever the villain, Schumacher overtook Hill on the formation lap, to the outrage of the British supporters but as a result he lost his second place finish and was banned for two races allowing Hill back into the title race. HRH Diana, Princess of Wales presented the winner’s trophy to a delighted Hill.
Winning Car: Williams-Renault FW19
Winning Driver: Jacques Villeneuve
Jacques Villeneuve wins a 2nd British Grand Prix in a row in a Williams-Renault FW19 making it 100 F1 victories for Williams at the exact location where they won their very first.
Winning Car: Ferrari F300
Winning Driver: Michael Schumacher
A Silverstone Grand Prix that McLaren would love to forget. The ever controversial Schumacher receives a stop and go penalty after very cheekily overtaking when the safety car was out but goes on to cross the finish line before he could get to his pit to see out his penalty.
Winning Car: Ferrari F2003-GA
Winning Driver: Rubens Barrichello
Mark Webber only just misses crazy defrocked Irish priest Neil Horan after he runs on to the track. Luckily he was rugby tackled to the ground by a brave steward and no one was hurt. Michael Schumacher pushes a young and exciting Fernando Alonso off of the track and Rubens Barrichello goes on to win the race.
Winning Car: McLaren MP4-23
Winning Driver: Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton wows the British crowd by dominating the race from start to finish. Torrential rain hits the circuit ahead of the start which makes for uncomfortable driving conditions. Hamilton however looks unfazed and goes on to lap the entire field bar second placed Nick Heidfeld and third placed Rubens Barrichello.
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