Hamilton v Verstappen: Stewards, Penalties, Trash Talk and History!

December 10, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Hamilton v Verstappen: Stewards, Penalties, Trash Talk and History!

As the season comes to an end we have a one race showdown. Will it be a classic or will we see the ugly side of F1. Well I have been thinking about some of the other championship showdowns, some are very different and some are very similar to what we have now. Here are some that stick in my mind, maybe it is a list of goodies and baddies!

1958:You can imagine Lewis or Max marching into the stewards box to complain about the other, but in 1958 Stirling Moss did just the opposite! It was the race before the final round but after Mike Hawthorn was penalised during the race Stirling visited the stewards and stuck up for his rival and had his points reinstated, literally gifting the championship to the Ferrari driver. Moss won the last race in style but lost the championship. Wow we miss you Gentleman Stirling Moss.

1961: After the dodgem race in Saudi Arabia it makes you realise how safe the modern formula is. Sadly the Championship decider in 1961 was very different. Taffy Von Trips and Phil Hill in the Shark nose Ferrari 156 drivers had shared wins and points all season and the decider was not Monza but it turned out that way. The circuit used the incredibly fast but notoriously dangerous banking. The naturally gifted but slightly wild Trips took pole position and in second position was the incredible newcomer Ricardo Rodriguez who fourth on the grid Phil Hill commented “If he lives, I’ll be surprised”. Phil was unfortunately correct as less than a year later he was sadly killed. The championship was virtually decided on lap two when Jim Clark Lotus and Von Trips touched wheels on the Parabolica corner. Both cars were in a slide but Clark ended up safe on the infield but the Ferrari rode up the spectator banking flipping over sending Taffy to an instant death. The car the careered into the crowd killing at least 15 spectators and injuring dozens. Remarkably the race was not stopped and was described in some reports as exciting. How cheap life was! Phil Hill won the race and became World Champion but it did not feel like a victory and remained mentally scarred for life by the circumstances of his win. The first US Champion!

1986: We hear that both drivers this year are unhappy about the way the describe each other. Rather childlike but no worse than Nelson Piquet describing his team mate Nigel Mansell’s Wife as a Blockhead! This really became a lesson in how to lose a championship as the two teammates dominated a 1986 season only to lose out to McLaren’s Alain Prost who steadily picked up the remaining points. In the showdown Australian GP Adelaide Nigel Mansell was on 70 points. Prost on 64 Points and Piquet on 63 Points. Nigel only had to finish 3rd and to cement his dominant position had locked out pole from Nelson in second. Early during the race Nelson Piquet led Ayrton Senna but a spin took the leader out of the race and the championship. Only a few laps later it seems like Alain’s hopes of the championship were now dashed as he suffered a puncture. All Mansell really needed to do now was finish but down the back straight at 180MPH his tyre exploded. It was a dramatic scene as Nigel wrestled the sparking car to safety in the runoff area. Back in the hunt with fresh rubber Alain forced his way back into contention and eventually he took the win to become first second driver to retain their crown since Jack Brabham in 1960

1976: Built up to a similar rivalry to Max v Lewis the Hunt v Lauda showdown was mainly media based! The two drivers were in fact very good friends but the press of the time built it up into something it wasn’t. But an exciting showdown it was! Niki looked like he was going to walk the title until that horrific crash at the Nurburgring. While he was dying in his hospital bed James Hunt clawed back the points until just six weeks later the miracle man Niki was back, burns and all. It just had to go to the wire! Fuji Japan was the showdown race and with pouring rain one of the bravest decisions ever was made but, not by the organisers who started the race in the face of protests but by Niki Lauda who pulled in to the pits saying it was just too dangerous! James came home 3rd with just a single point lead in the championship. The closest finish ever, even James did not know if he had won until well after the finish!

1984: The last one that comes to my mind. Niki was my hero and boy this was a race of emotional ups and downs for me. The season saw Niki out foxing Prost in a tactical battle for championship points. At the last race of the season Niki went into the final GP at Estoril just 3.5 points ahead. After qualifying Niki was looking in trouble back in 11th but as normal he kept his cool in the race and casually eased his way through the field. The Gods were on his side as the last car in his way was the Nigel Mansell Williams who’s brakes were failing. Once into second place Niki cruised to the line and won the closest ever championship by just half a point! Prost was not really bitter but had learnt lessons from the old master tactician!

Motoring-Man

Motoring-Man buys and sells motoring memorabilia. Run by Enthusiasts for Enthusiasts! https://www.ebay.co.uk/str/motoringman

 


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