The Formula One World Championship turns 70 years old today. Like all good sports, F1 would be nothing without its fans, and fans have favorites. Hence our question today: what’s your favorite race of all time?
Even though the 2020 season hasn’t really started due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not like you don’t have a ton of material to choose from here. The idea of a grand prix racing championship started to form in the 1930s but got put on hold during World War II. As Europe started to rebuild, so did the plans for a top-class formula for racing. That spec for racing—the “formula” in Formula One—was finalized in the late forties, with the Turin Grand Prix leading things off in 1946. It wasn’t until 1950 when things finalized into a true world championship, starting off with that year’s Silverstone Grand Prix, which Giuseppe Farina won at the wheel of an Alfa Romeo.
Since then, we’ve seen a wealth of great drivers and personalities, including superstars like James Hunt, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and the OG Juan Manuel Fangio. Present-day fans have seen the rise of Lewis Hamilton, who is only one more world drivers’ championship away from tying Schumacher for the most championships won in F1 history.
Your favorite F1 race doesn’t have to be the most important, most consequential, or most whatever race in history. It’s all subjective. Maybe yours is a story you loved or an important moment for a favorite driver. Or maybe it’s just chaos, like the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix! I won’t blame anyone for picking the extremely soggy 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix solely for letting us all know about Kimi Räikkönen’s fondness for ice cream.
Personally, I love a good redemption story and I’m partial to the races I’ve seen in real-time, as they happened and as I’ve gotten shouty at the TV. For many fans, modern-day Monaco races just aren’t that exciting given the narrow width of the track, but it’s interesting in other ways. Qualifying near the front and having the right strategy is key. It’s not that exciting from a passing standpoint, but the onboards of the cars hustling through that tight, twisty course are incredible.
My dude Daniel Ricciardo got his first pole F1 position ever at Monaco in 2016, but a ruinously long pit stop dropped him out of the lead, forcing him to finish in second place. It was the second disappointing race in a row, so it was especially gut-wrenching to watch one of my favorite drivers try not to say anything bleepable after the race.
That’s what made Monaco in 2018 a favorite for me—not only did Ricciardo get his moment of redemption by winning from pole position, but he did so down on power, with a hybrid system on the fritz that caused him to have about 160 horsepower less than he should have. It was the ultimate game of keep-away with a Renault power unit that wasn’t so reliable. Of course, he celebrated by drinking champagne out of his shoe.
Now it’s your turn to name your favorite race into the comments below. Which one did you enjoy the most, and why?
Got a tip? Send us a note: [email protected]