Top ten… Brazilian Grands Prix (Video)

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What better place to finish the season than Brazil?

The country’s drivers have won more championships than any other nation bar Britain. And the South American atmosphere and punishing track is guaranteed to produce a great race.

Here’s ten of the best Brazilian Grands Prix.

1973, Interlagos

It may not have been the most scintillating race, but it gave the home crowd the result they craved in the first ever world championship Brazilian Grand Prix.

Reigning champion Emerson Fittipaldi, who had already won the season opener at Buenos Aires in his Lotus, won from pole position, with the chasing Jackie Stewart unable to do anything about it.

1975, Interlagos

Two years later the story was much the same – Fittipaldi arrived at his home race as the champion and having won the first race of the year.

But it was Carlos Reutemann who led at the start until Jean-Pierre Jarier passed him four laps in. Jarier’s engine failed eight laps from home, and with Reutemann having stopped for tyres it put home racer Carlos Pace in the lead.

Pace won, with Fittipaldi following him home for a memorable Brazilian one-two. But two years later Pace died in a place crash, and today the Interlagos circuit where he scored his only win is named after him.

1981, Jacarepagua

Heavy rain made the 1981 race exciting enough – and that was before a bitter row broke out between the Williams drivers.

Reigning champion Alan Jones was supposed to have number one status over team mate Carlos Reutemann. But the Argentine refused to yield the lead even when the Williams team ordered him to.

Reutemann won, but relations between the two collapsed and in little over a year the pair had both left the team.

1982, Jacarepagua

A brutally tough race run in maddening heat. This was the final year of ‘ground effect’ F1 cars, with virtually no suspension, and enormous cornering speeds.

Drivers were shaken to pieces by the bumpy Jacarepagua track. “It’s just crazy,” said Renault’s Rene Arnoux, “In places your vision goes blurred with the vibration abd you can hardly see the road. After a few laps it seems impossible to carry on.”

Not everyone did. Several drivers crashed and Riccardo Patrese pulled into the pits and collapsed with exhaustion on lap 34 of 63, having spun and struggled to get his car pointing in the right direction afterwards.

Winner Nelson Piquet collapsed on the podium – and that was before they told him he was disqualified. So was second placed Keke Rosberg – for the same reason. Both were found to be running underweight by using water tanks that wereemptied early in the race.

That left Alain Prost the winner, although unusually John Watson and Nigel Mansell were allowed to keep their second and third places, despite their teams using the same water tank scam…

1989, Jacarepagua

Nigel Mansell moved to Ferrari at the start of 1989 but the car’s new semi-automatic gearbox proved highly fragile. After a string of failures in testing Mansell was so convinced he wouldn’t complete the first race he booked himself an early flight home.

But it was his rivals that ran into trouble instead. Ayrton Senna was eliminated in a collision with Gerhard Berger and Riccardo Patrese on the first lap. Then Alain Prost ran into clutch trouble.

It wasn’t straightforward for Mansell either, who had to replace his steering wheel on one visit to the pits, but he clung on to win his first race for Ferrari.

1991, Interlagos

Ayrton Senna had two titles under his belt before he finally won at home. He’d come heartbreakingly close the year before, only to collide with Satoru Nakajima while he was lapping the Tyrrell driver.

This time he made no mistake but faced a drama late in the race. With his McLaren stuck in sixth gear Riccardo Patrese’s Williams was catching. A late rain shower made the conditions even worse, but Senna clung on to take his maiden home triumph.

1993, Interlagos

The Williams-Renaults were vastly quicker than the McLarens in 1993 but when Alain Prost spun off in a heavy rain shower it handed Senna a vital opportunity.

He made an early switch to dry-weather tyres and quickly caught and passed Damon Hill to take his final win at home.

2003, Interlagos

Heavy rain produced a chaotic race, and a river at turn three claimed driver after driver – not least of which Michael Schumacher.

The race was stopped early after Fernando Alonso crashed heavily having run into debris from Mark Webber’s Jaguar. Alonso was stretchered away, meaning the third place finisher wasn’t on the podium.

And it was later discovered the first and second drivers on the podium was in the wrong order. Giancarlo Fisichella, the true winner, was originally classified second, meaning Kimi Raikkonen lost what would have been his second victory.

2006, Interlagos

Last year’s race saw Fernando Alonso crowned champion, Michael Schumacher sign off his career with a stunning drive, and a delirious home victory for Felipe Massa.

Schumacher ran into trouble in qualifying and started the race tenth. He quickly moved through the field before a puncture dropped him back down the order.

Once again he ripped through the pack to take fourth by the chequered flag, with Massa taking a crowd-pleasing win and Alonso’s third place giving him the title.

Photo: Ferrari Media

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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11 comments on “Top ten… Brazilian Grands Prix (Video)”

  1. The 2006 race was very emotional for me, seeing Michael leave F1 racing.

    One of the great moments on the race for Michael (there were so many for him) was when he was to overtake Barrichello and we heard over the radio “Michael behind you, Michael behind you and you are racing him”.

    Great racing indeed.

  2. I hate embedded videos – they take ages to load, they stall, jerk and sometimes refuse to do anything at all. How about putting the links underneath so that we can choose to see them directly on YouTube instead?

  3. Anyone else having problems? I might look at changing this for next time.

  4. Well I think it is a good idea and a good run up to the final – thanks

  5. Great collection of videos, and they seem to be loading fine for me.

    But why on earth do people insist on adding music to these videos? Seriously, knock it off whoever you are!

  6. I agree – where possible I try to use ones with the original commentary.

  7. The 2003 one was a classic, here’s another video of it which has Webber’s 720 degree spin in it, at around 2:40

    And about the embedded stuff, if I click anywhere on the video except for the big play button it opens youtube in a new window instead. Doesn’t help if the embedded component doesn’t load at all though.

  8. The 2001 race was also quite a classic.

  9. The 1981 shows a carlos reutteman
    not listening to team orders telling him to let jones by.He thought, if i let him win, i better leave the sport, because it is against my nature. Same thing did arnoux in the 1982 french gp. I think barrichello, should learn a little bit about those two brave men, and never listen to that little french guy.

  10. East Londoner
    17th July 2010, 12:14

    Ah, the 2003 race, where the incompetance of the FIA gave us a crazy race, possibly even more than the legendary 1998 Belgian GP. I like Brundle’s comment about the silly rule change after Button’s crash. ‘Well, if moving to one wet tyre was to save money, they’ve blown that here’.

  11. I’d say this list needs an update after 2007 and 2008!

Comments are closed.