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F1 Legends: Gerhard Berger

Submitted by on August 4, 2015

Berger at Imola in 1997

Gerhard Berger at Imola in 1997. Image thanks to the Cahier Archive

The sport of Formula 1 has been graced by a great many drivers of superlative talent. Too many, and in too tumultuous of circumstances, for numbers like World Drivers’ Championship victories to be a completely accurate reflection of talent.

Gerhard Berger is one of the sport’s greats, and this episode of F1 Legends catches up with him to talk life, Formula 1 and the incredible stories of his career.

“I remember well in Hockenheim when I figured out that on the straight you can overtake well with two wheels on the grass.. I said, let’s try four wheels on the grass, and you go over three hundred there, and of course, it doesn’t work.”

Across his career Berger raced as teammate to drivers like Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna and he is well known for his fun loving nature and prodigious pranking, forming a particularly special bond with his driven and serious McLaren teammate. That fun-loving nature didn’t affect his serious potential on the track, and he more than kept his world champion teammates, and everyone else, honest.

He picked up the first of his 10 Grand Prix victories driving for Benetton in the 1986 Mexican Grand Prix. This would be Benetton’s first win as well, and he brought things full circle when he returned to Benetton at the end of his career and claimed both his and Benetton’s last Grand Prix victory in the 1997 German Grand Prix. He did it ahead of Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari and Mika Häkkinen’s McLaren – both team’s he’d raced for during his career.

His career was not all silly pranks, pole positions and victories, however. He raced through some of the sport’s darkest and most formative moments.

This chat with Steve Rider touches on all of it, and is made all the more entertaining by Berger’s engaging nature.

F1 Legends – Gerhard Berger by F1Legends

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