Few will forget Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen’s epic duel for the race victory in the closing stages of the 2008 Belgian Grand Prix. The lead changed several times as the two drivers battled to stay on track due to rain showers at Spa-Francorchamps. The battle for first saw Hamilton cut the chicane, which he was later penalised for. Raikkonen eventually crashed at the exit of Blanchimont.
9. Maldonado’s surprise win
We may all rip into Pastor Maldonado for his multiple crashes, but he is in fact a fast driver with lots of potential. Unfortunately the only real glimpse of his potential was at the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix, when he held off Fernando Alonso to score his maiden F1 win. It was also the Williams team’s first triumph since the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix.
8. Emotional title victory
Seb Vettel headed to the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix very much the underdog for the drivers’ title. Alonso and his teammate Mark Webber led the way, with the German 15 points behind the leader.
However, both Alonso and Webber got caught in traffic during the race and couldn’t find a way through, taking the chequered flag in seventh and eighth. Vettel meanwhile put in a stunning drive to snatch the championship from under their noses. It proved to be the first of four, and clearly meant a lot to the German.
We witnessed a stunning scrap over the race lead at last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix. Hamilton and his teammate Nico Rosberg fought tooth and nail for victory – it is hard to imagine just how tense the atmosphere was in the Mercedes garage. What made it even better was the fact that it was close but fair racing, with Hamilton eventually emerging as the race winner.
The eventual 2008 world champion’s first victory on home soil at Silverstone is undoubtedly one of the most dominant displays in the sport’s long history. In wet conditions, Hamilton was in a league of his own, finishing over one minute clear of the chasing pack.
Up until the 2008 season, Jenson Button’s career had been a rollercoaster ride, with good cars, bad cars, poor luck and a few scares. However, in 2009 he was finally able to fight for the title, and took his first (and so far only) F1 championship in style at the Brazilian Grand Prix. While his rendition of “we are the champions” on the slow-down lap wasn’t easy on the ears, it was an unforgettable moment for many F1 fans.
4. The underdog triumphs
Few expected Toro Rosso to challenge for podiums in 2008, let alone race wins. Vettel – competing in his first full F1 season – put in a faultless display at the Monza circuit to score an emotional and surprising maiden victory, at the Faenza-based outfit’s home event.
Again, here is a race that was so full of excitement that one specific moment couldn’t be narrowed down. It was officially the longest ever race, with a lengthy red flag period boosting the time to four hours and four minutes. It started in wet conditions and the rain quickly intensified, before stopping and allowing the track to dry out.
Button took victory, despite at one point running in last place. He pitted six times, collided with a few drivers but recovered to move up the order and snatch the win from Vettel on the last lap, after pressuring him into a mistake at Turn 6.
This was easily the best race of the last 10 years. Rain on Saturday saw top drivers qualify down the order, meaning that we saw some spectacular recovery drives through the field. Kimi Raikkonen took victory after an incredible overtake around the outside of Giancarlo Fisichella on the final lap at Turn 1.
The Renault driver’s teammate Alonso also completed one of the best overtakes in recent F1 history, passing seven-time champion Michael Schumacher around the outside at the incredibly quick 130R.
As Felipe Massa crossed the line to win the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, he thought the world championship was his. He had done all that he could. However, Hamilton passed Timo Glock’s slow Toyota at the last moment to snatch the title. It doesn’t get much more dramatic than that.
What are your favourite moments? Let us know in the comments!