The German’s mastery of car control, and unbelievable luck probably saved his race where others (we’re looking at you, Sergio Perez) had theirs ended.
Formula One has a rich a tapestry of history that must have other examples of such heroics, right? Buckle up, ladies and gentlemen, we’ve blown the dust of the Badgerometer to investigate!
Everyone’s favourite Japanese driver had a particular affinity to spinning. And when we say spinning, of course we mean crashing. But in 2004 Sato managed the impossible and managed to turn a full 360 in Montreal and not only miss any other car around him, but also the Wall of Champions. That piece of armco has collected many the famous name throughout the years, but not the name Takuma Sato, oh no.
When Nigel Mansell left Williams for Ferrari in 1989, the British team replaced him with mild-mannered Belgian Thierry Boutsen. Now, he wasn’t exactly the star name everyone was expecting, but he had put in some solid podium finishes for Benetton in 1988 so he was a clever choice. It paid off in Canada when he scored his first victory in torrential rain, a race that included this 360 spin that could quite have easily ended his afternoon there and then.
No, it’s not that vertical near-360 he pulled off at Valencia 2010, but it’s a horizontal one from his days wrestling an early Red Bull (ie, Jaguar) around Brazil in 2003. Considering just how bad these cars were to drive, Mark had plenty of experience in rescuing himself from some mid-corner snap oversteer, mass understeer, or any other handling problems thrown his way. But, as with all the bad luck that dogged the Aussie, he would end up in a tyre wall just a few laps later.
Chain smoking. Moutache wearing. Completely fearless. Six words that could sum up Keke Rosberg, but as the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. We can only use video to back up the last two, and there is no better example than the start of the 1983 Long Beach Grand Prix.
Challenging for the lead in the opening laps, the Finn tried to overtake the Ferrari of Patrick Tambay and lost it under braking. But, cool as you like, Keke knocks the car into first gear and carries on in the right direction, only dropping one place to Williams teammate Jacques Laffite. Incredible car control.
Some tracks hold some mystique about them, and Imola is one of them. It was a place that was narrow as narrow could be, and seemed even narrower by the time the regulations brought us Formula One cars from the late 1980s. Every overtake would happen with the fans looking through their fingers, and it seemed many driver would be conquered by it’s intimidation.
Enter Our Nige. Not only did Mansell have the testicular fortitude to try and pass a car on these narrow straights at nearly 200mph, but he also got blocked by Gerhard Berger and had to take avoiding action and end up on the grass. One 360 later he was off on his way again, probably with a damp race suit for his troubles.
Think all F1 drivers are masters of car control? Think again.