Eight unforgettable Spanish Formula 1 Grands Prix
The ups and the downs – these are the moments in which time stood still at Spanish Grands Prix throughout the years.
An incredible display of raw driving talent by Gilles Villeneuve, who held off a train of four fierce race cars in what should have been a much slower Ferrari.
During qualifying at Jerez in 1990 Martin Donnelly is involved in one of the most horrific non-fatal accidents Formula 1 has ever seen. His team mate Derek Warwick said the next day “That accident could happen another five million times, and in every one of them he would be dead”. In terms of survival it remains one of the great escapes of the sport – although Donnelly was seriously injured. Read more about it here - The Luckiest Man Alive.
Jarama 1968 saw a heroic drive from Graham Hill, who took the still in mourning Lotus team to victory just a few short days after Mike Spence had tragically lost his life whilst racing at Indianapolis. Spence’s death had come in the wake of Jim Clark’s own fatal crash at Hockenheim – the weight that Hill must have felt as he strapped himself into his car that day must have been enormous. (Image: The Cahier Archive)
An emotional win for Damon Hill less than one month after the death of Ayrton Senna. Captured perfectly in this powerful photograph by The Cahier Archive.
Michael Schumacher’s first win for Ferrari was a huge moment – particularly in hindsight given the sheer volume of additional victories that were to come. Shocking weather conditions saw Michael triumph over the rest of the pack in a car that should have been much slower than the Williams, leading second place Jean Alesi by more than 45 seconds over the finish line.
The 1975 Spanish Grand Prix was one of those events where right from the start, things just weren’t right. There was a huge amount of anger amongst the drivers from the lead up to the race, directed at the danger they felt the disjointed barriers presented. A strike was called, with many big names refusing to drive. Event staff eventually overcame the incident by repairing the barriers overnight, however the race was later marred by the death of a fireman, a photographer, and two spectators when Rolf Stommelen’s Embassy Racing Hill-Lola speared into one of the barieers. Read more about it here.
An absolute heart-breaker for Mika Hakkinen, who looked set to win the Spanish Grand Prix in 2001 as he entered the final lap of the race well ahead of second place Michael Schumacher before a terminal engine failure forced him to retire. A strong reminder of how quickly one’s luck can turn in motor racing. It’s not over until it’s over!
Pastor Maldonado’s first ever Formula 1 Grand Prix victory was a cracker – holding off Fernando Alonso long enough to claim William’s first outright win in more than seven years. It was an upset victory and a reminder of just how unpredictable the Spanish GP can be. What will this weekend bring?