Formula 1

Formula 1: Top five most iconic moments at Spanish GP

Hisan KidwaiHisan Kidwai

June 4 2023
Spanish GP Formula 1
(Courtesy : Red Bull Racing)

One of the oldest tracks in the F1 calendar, the Spanish Grand Prix has been home to many memorable moments over the years.

Ever since its introduction in 1991, the Spanish GP has held a cherished and enduring presence on the Formula 1 calendar. As one of F1’s long-standing fixtures, the iconic Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has witnessed numerous memorable moments that have left fans on the edge of their seats. Now, let’s look at some of the most memorable moments of the Spanish GP.

Mika Hakkinen’s heartbreak at Spanish GP 2001

Mike Hakkinen Spanish GP 2001
Mike Hakkinen was leading Spanish GP 2001 before an engine failure in the last lap (Courtesy: Formula 1)

For anyone who has followed the sport for a long time, Mika Hakkinen is a familiar name. Having won the driver’s championships in both 1998 and 1999, the Finnish driver faced a challenging start to the 2001 season, and by the time the F1 circus arrived in Spain, he had a significant points deficit.

However, the weekend in Barcelona was the exact opposite of what he had hoped for. As although it seemed that Hakkinen was poised for his fourth consecutive triumph in Barcelona, having established a commanding lead over Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari, his engine abruptly failed on the last lap, leaving him stranded at turn seven. As a result, Michael Schumacher went on to win the Spanish GP, but he acknowledged that the win rightfully belonged to Hakkinen.

Nigel Mansell vs Ayrton Senna at Spanish GP 1991

Nigel Mansell vs Ayrton Senna Spanish GP 1991
Mansell beat rival Ayrton Senna to win the Spanish GP 1991 (Courtesy: Motor Sport Magazine)

Although fans of the sport generally regard Ayrton Senna as one of the finest to have ever graced the circuit, Nigel Mansell was one of the very few drivers who challenged Senna for the driver’s championship. At the rainy 1991 Spanish GP, Mansell showcased his driving abilities by finally closing in on Senna’s McLaren in the final sector and using the slipstream to pass the rain master.

Schumacher’s Benetton stuck in 5th gear at Spanish GP 1994

Michael Schumacher Spanish GP 1994
Schumacher finished second despite issues with his car (Courtesy: Sky Sports)

It’s no secret that Michael Schumacher had an illustrious career in Formula 1, but one of the defining moments in his early career came in 1994. Despite being stuck in fifth gear for the majority of the race, Schumacher modified his driving style and even made two successful pit stops without stalling the car. Consequently, he finished second in the race behind Damon Hill, serving as a testament to his tenacity and marking the beginning of his enduring connection with the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona.

Just two years later, Schumacher achieved his first victory for Ferrari on this very track, further solidifying its significance in his career.

Pastor Maldonado’s triumphant win over Alonso at Spanish GP 2012

Pastor Maldonado Spanish GP 2012
Moldanado clinched his only podium with Williams at Spanish GP 2012 (Courtesy: Motorsport)

During his racing days with Williams, Pastor Maldonado’s career was defined by his raw pace and unpredictable style. In the 2012 Spanish GP, the Venezuelan driver showcased his talent when he inherited the pole position from Lewis Hamilton and was going to start alongside Fernando Alonso, who was competing in his home race.

However, after initially losing the lead to Alonso during the opening lap, Maldonado executed a perfectly timed undercut on Alonso, reclaiming the lead with the help of the Williams pit crew, who admirably also handled a fire incident during the race. He bravely fended off intense pressure from the Ferrari driver and ultimately secured his first and only podium finish and victory in Formula 1.

Max Verstappen’s first win at Spanish GP 2016

Max Verstappen Spanish GP 2016
Max Verstappen won for the first time in Spain in 2016 (Courtesy: Sky Sports)

The 2016 Spanish GP is considered one of the most exciting races in years, not only witnessing a clash between title contenders Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg but also witnessing the rise of a young prodigy. Max Verstappen is no secret today, but in 2016, when a young talented driver from Toro Rosso was given the Red Bull seat, experts and fans were sceptical.

However, Red Bull’s decision to replace Daniil Kvyat turned out to be the best decision for the team, as what followed at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was nothing short of extraordinary. Despite having no prior experience in the Red Bull car, the teenage driver triumphed in his very first race, overcoming the likes of Sebastian Vettel, a four-time champion, and Kimi Raikkonen, a former champion.

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