F1’s 79th Grand Prix winner was the man who would go on to win more races than anyone in the history of the sport: Michael Schumacher.
With the likes of Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell doing so much winning in the late eighties there were only three new winners between 1985 and 1992.
71. Elio de Angelis
First win: 1982 Austrian Grand Prix, Osterreichring
Total wins: 2
Two cars side-by-side, racing towards the flag. The black-and-gold machine passed the chequered flag before the white-green car, and Elio de Angelis scored his first career win for Lotus.
It would also be the last Grand Prix win for the team under the leadership of Colin Chapman. De Angelis stuck with the team as Peter Warr took over but he was unsettled by the arrival of Ayrton Senna in 1985, around whom the team quickly began to concentrate their efforts.
He left for Brabham in 1986 but Gordon Murray’s latest revolutionary design proved just too cutting edge for its own good and was well off the pace. De Angelis was testing at Paul Ricard when he crashed and was killed.
72. Keke Rosberg
First win: 1982 Swiss Grand Prix, Dijon-Prenois
Total wins: 5
After driving for several back-of-the grid teams Rosberg got a lucky break when Alan Jones left Williams at the end of 1981. The Finnish driver picked up consistent points throughout 1982 in his normally-aspirated Cosworth-powered Williams while the turbo cars either retired too often (Renault) or maimed or killed their drivers (Ferrari). Late in the year he scored his first win at Dijon which put him in a strong position to win the title, which he claimed with fifth place at Las Vegas.
His title defence year was made especially difficult by the continued absence of a turbo engine – but he scored a fine win at Monte-Carlo having started on slick tyres on a damp surface. In 1984, now with a Honda turbo, he won the race that best defined his gutsy, tough character by shrugging off searing heat and a disintegrating track surface to win at Dallas.
Rosberg left Williams at the end of 1985 in a poorly-timed move as the Honda engine was coming on song. Joining McLaren, Rosberg struggled with a car that had been developed to Alain Prost’s liking and retired at the end of the year. His son Nico now races for Williams.
Read more about Keke Rosberg: Keke Rosberg biography
73. Michele Alboreto
First win: 1982 United States Grand Prix, Las Vegas
Total wins: 5
Alboreto scored a surprise win for Tyrrell at the season finale at Las Vegas in 1982, and gave the team its final victory the following year in Detroit.
In 1985 he fulfilled every Italian racer’s dream by joining Ferrari, and challenged Alain Prost for the championship. But Ferrari struggled with poor reliability and a spectacular engine fire at Brands Hatch signalled the end of his title bid.
Ferrari declined badly in 1986 and Alboreto found himself out-classed by new team mate Gerhard Berger the following year. He returned to Tyrrell in 1989 but left half way through the season because the team’s new sponsor Camel clashed with his Marlboro backing.
He spent his final seasons with Lola, Arrows and Minardi before leaving Formula 1. Alboreto was killed testing Audi’s R8 sports car at the Lausitzring in 2001.
Read more about Michele Alboreto: Michele Alboreto biography
74. Ayrton Senna
First win: 1985 Portuguese Grand Prix, Estoril
Total wins: 41
Ayrton Senna made his F1 debut with Toleman and nearly scored a shock win in dire conditions at Monaco in 1984. In similar weather at Estoril the following year, now with Lotus, he simply annihilated the field.
More wins in 1986 kept him in the championship hunt until late in the season but the car simply wasn’t up to competing with the McLarens and Williams. This fact was not lost on Senna so he joined McLaren for 1988.
He and team mate Alain Prost won 15 of the 16 races between them, Senna’s extra win over Prost giving him the title in a year when drivers only counted their ten best results. But there were clear signs of a growing tension between the two – especially when Senna pushed Prost’s car alongside the pit wall at Estoril.
It got worse in 1989: Prost accused Senna of reneging on an agreement over the first corner at the San Marino Grand Prix. Then at Suzuka as Senna tried to pass Prost the French driver swung into the side of Senna’s car. The Brazilian regained the track and won the race on the road, but was disqualified, handing the title to Prost.
The perceived injustice rankled with Senna in the most bitter and deep way. Twelve months later the pair faced each other down at Suzuka once more, Prost this time in a Ferrari and trailing Senna in the championship. Senna wasted no time at all, wiping Prost out at the first corner and claiming his second championship.
He won his third title at Suzuka as well, though this was somewhat less controversial – his title rival Nigel Mansell spun off trying to pass him. But Senna could do nothing about Mansell and his crushingly dominant Williams FW14B the following year – and was enraged when he found his efforts to join the team being blocked by Prost.
Senna stayed at McLaren, on a race-by-race deal at first. He won wet races at Interlagos at Donington Park, and took his now-traditional Monaco Grand Prix win to head Prost in the standings. But it couldn’t last, and Prost overhauled him by the end of the season.
In 1994 it was all change. Prost was gone and Senna finally had his seat at Williams – albeit with a car stripped of its various electronic advantages via a change in the rules. Plus, now there was the burgeoning talent of a young Michael Schumacher at Benetton to contend with. Senna inexplicably spun in the season opener having been passed by Schumacher via the refuelling stops – another innovation. Another non-score at Aida while Schumacher won again piled the pressure on Senna.
The cause of his fatal crash at Imola in 1994 – whether psychological, mechanical or something else – have provoked endless speculation. But the sudden loss of such a gifted driver and gigantic personality shook the sport to its core.
Read more about Ayrton Senna: Ayrton Senna biography
75. Nigel Mansell
First win: 1985 European Grand Prix, Brands Hatch
Total wins: 31
Mansell left Lotus in 1984 after almost five years with the team. On his departure team boss Peter Warr, who had never seen eye-to-eye with Mansell, declared the British driver would never win a race as long as he had a hole in his backside.
Mansell had a knack for rubbing people up the wrong way but he also developed a talent for winning Grands Prix. After scoring his first at his 75th attempt he would go on to win another 30.
He was championship runner-up for Williams in 1986 and 1987, losing the title at the final round in ’86 when his tyre famously exploded. The following year he suffered a string of retirements and his title hopes ended when he crashed and injured his back at Suzuka.
Williams lost their Honda engines for 1988 so Mansell moved to Ferrari the following year, capturing Italian hearts by scoring an improbable win on his debut. A second win came at the Hungaroring, snatched from Senna in flamboyant style after Mansell had fought his way up from 12th on the grid.
But Mansell fell out with new team mate Prost in 1990 and, after theatrically announcing his retirement from F1 after the British Grand Prix, instead chose to join Williams. He was runner-up in the title race for a third year in 1991
In 1992 he was unstoppable – the combination of Renault’s potent V10, Adrian Newey’s aerodynamically svelte car and sophisticated electronic aids such as traction control and active suspension made the FW14B whole seconds per lap quicker than its rivals. Mansell won nine times and claimed the title in July.
Then came the infamous falling-out with Frank Williams which led to Mansell quitting the sport to go Indy Car racing, where he won the championship at his first attempt. He was tempted back in 1994 and scored his final win in the season finale at Adelaide. His two appearances for McLaren the following year were best forgotten, however.
Mansell has made occasional appearances in sports cars and touring cars since and looks set to make a return to the former in the near future.
Read more about Nigel Mansell: Nigel Mansell biography
76. Gerhard Berger
First win: 1986 Mexican Grand Prix, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
Total wins: 10
Berger arrived in F1 with ATS in 1984, spent 1985 with Arrows and then joined Benetton. He gave the team its first win in the 1986 Mexican Grand Prix and was snapped up by Ferrari.
At the end of 1987 it looked as though Ferrari were returning to championship-winning form as Berger won the last two races of the season. But they were pole-axed by McLaren in 1988, though Berger was perfectly placed to lead an emotional Ferrari one-two at Monza mere weeks after team founder Enzo Ferrari had died.
He suffered awful unreliability throughout 1989 and his poor luck were compounded by a gigantic, fiery crash at Imola from which he was fortunate to escape. He switched to McLaren for 1990, taking up the formidable challenge of partnering Senna.
Berger rarely had the beating of Senna, though it didn’t help that the team took so long to adequately prepare a car for his tall frame. He scored three wins in three years for the team before returning to Ferrari.
At the Hockenheimring in 1994 he gave the team its first win in four years but at the end of 1995 was moved aside in favour Michael Schumacher. He returned to another former team – Benetton – and had a miserable 1996, finishing sixth in the championship.
The following year went little better with a sinus infection keeping him out of the car for several races. On his return to the cockpit at the Hockenheimring, still grieving the loss of his father. Berger scored his final victory before retiring at the end of the year.
He is now a 50% owner of Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Read more about Gerhard Berger: Gerhard Berger biography
77. Thierry Boutsen
First win: 1989 Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal
Total wins: 3
Boutsen, like Berger, drove for Arrows and then moved to Benetton. In 1989 he took Mansell’s place at Williams and scored two wins, both in wet races.
The following year he won at the Hungaroring but was dropped by the team as Mansell returned. A switch to Ligier did nothing for his career and he retired after a partial season at Jordan in 1993 which ended with his home round at Spa-Francorchamps.
Read more about Thierry Boutsen: Thierry Boutsen biography
78. Alessandro Nannini
First win: 1989 Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka
Total wins: 1
Promising Italian driver Nannini would surely have added to his single victory, scored in controversial circumstances, but for a helicopter crash in which he lost an arm.
He had made his debut for Minardi before joining Benetton and inherited the lead of the Japanese Grand Prix in 1989 when the two McLarens took each other out. Senna later re-passed Nannini but was disqualified, handing victory to the Italian driver.
The following year Nannini put his Benetton among the leaders by trying to make the most of his durable Pirellis and change tyres as little as possible. But then came the helicopter crash that cost him his arm.
Shortly afterwards former team mate Nelson Piquet won the two last races of the year, leaving Nannini to rue what might have been. Despite his impairment, he went on to race touring cars competitively.
Read more about Alessandro Nannini: Alessandro Nannini biography
79. Michael Schumacher
First win: 1992 Belgian Grand Prix
Total wins: 91
Schumacher ruthlessly seized every advantage on and off the track and pushed achievement in F1 to extraordinary new heights.
A moment’s off-track excursion at Spa in 1992 was the catalyst for a tactical gamble – switching to dry-weather tyres – that won him the race. He picked up another win in 1993 but the following year the sudden rise of his Benetton team and the death of Senna turned him into the sport’s leading driver almost overnight.
Recriminations dogged Schumacher at every turn throughout 1994 – disqualifications, penalties, rumours about the legality of his car. He won the title after a notorious clash with Damon Hill, ramming his rival in the final race at Adelaide.
But in 1995 the extent of his domination of Hill was hard to fault and he matched Mansell’s record for most race wins in a single season. Seeking a fresh challenge he joined Ferrari in 1996 and began the process of moulding the team around himself and fashioning it into an irresistible winning machine.
There were stumbles along the way. After driving a fine season the 1997 title slipped through his fingers as he made a rash attempt to take out Jacques Villeneuve. The following year his challenge to Mika Hakkinen also faltered at the finale.
But he had scored some wins of utter brilliance along the way: thrashing the field in the wet at Barcelona in 1996 and hammering in ultra-fast laps with robotic perfection to win at Hungary in 1998.
His 1999 season was written off when he broke his leg at Silverstone. But in 2000 he finally scored his third title after a season-long battle with Hakkinen. Now the floodgates opened for Ferrari.
He won the 2001 title against little opposition as Hakkinen faded, and in 2002 Ferrari’s advantage was so great it was ridiculous. But still they operated with a siege mentality and clumsy attempts at race manipulation at the A1-Ring and Indianapolis brought howls of condemnation – to which Schumacher and Ferrari reacted with incomprehension.
The 2003 season was a much closer affair until a late change in the tyre rules swung matter decisively in Bridgestone’s – and Ferrari’s – favour. They continued that momentum in 2004 where Schumacher won 12 of the first 13 races and cruised to his seventh title.
In 2005 another change in the tyre rules worked precisely against Ferrari’s favour and, except for a hollow win in the farcical 2005 United States Grand Prix, Schumacher had nothing to celebrate.
The 2006 season would be his last and the duel with Fernando Alonso’s Renault was fittingly epic. A late surge – including a masterful final win at Shanghai – put Schumacher level with Alonso. Rare car trouble in the last two rounds put an eighth title out of his reach, but his sizzling recovery drive to fourth in his final race was a fitting way to remember the better side of Schumacher.
Read more about Michael Schumacher: Michael Schumacher biography
80. Damon Hill
First win: 1993 Hungarian Grand Prix
Total wins: 22
Damon Hill not only had father Graham’s reputation to live up to, but when he got his big break with Williams in 1993 it was in the place of Nigel Mansell.
By the mid-point of his first full season he was winning races regularly. In 1994 Hill found himself the new team leader after Senna was killed in the third round. Hill capitalised on Schumacher’s various disqualifications in the second half of the season to take the title fight to the final round.
After Schumacher hit him at Adelaide Hill rued that, had he known Schumacher had already damaged his Benetton by hitting a wall, he would never have put his car in a position where his rival could have gone into it.
The following year began well for Hill with wins at Argentina and San Marino. But once Schumacher got into his stride Hill could do nothing to resist his charge.
In 1996, with Schumacher in an uncompetitive Ferrari, and new team mate Jacques Villeneuve learning the ropes, Hill took what many perceived as an inevitable title. But the quality of some of his drives that season were under-rated and he didn’t buckle under the psychological pressure late in the year after learning the team were going to drop him whether he won the title or not.
The following season with Arrows was pretty much a write-off, but Hill came within half a lap of scoring what would have been the team’s maiden win at Hungary, before his hydraulics failed.
He switched to Jordan for 1998 but professed his dislike for the new generation of narrow cars and grooved tyres. A final win came in the rain at Belgium, but the following year Hill nearly threw in the towel mid-season before quitting. He has since become president of the British Racing Drivers’ Club.
Read more about Damon Hill: Damon Hill biography