For the select few who compete in F1, to win a race takes serious skill and talent. However, to win your home race is the stuff of legend. Here are the ten greatest Formula 1 home wins
1. Jody Scheckter – Kyalami, 1975
Sue us, we’re a patriotic bunch, okay, but South Africa’s only ever F1 world champion gets the first mention. He only managed second in 1979 in his title-winning season driving the Ferrari T4, repeating his 1977 result driving for Wolf. However, back on March 3rd, 1975, Scheckter took a historic home victory at Kyalami driving a Tyrrell 007 Ford Cosworth, his third of ten career Grand Prix victories.
2. Gilles Villeneuve – Montreal, 1978
Four years before his tragic death in 1982 – and the naming of the Montreal circuit after him – the Canadian driver pulled off the impossible and won his first Grand Prix at home in a Ferrari. Gilles had a reputation as a talented if impetuous young driver and his flamboyance proved the perfect foil for Ferrari teammate, Jody Scheckter, when he ascended to the world championship in 1979. Villenueve’s driving grabbed the headlines but Scheckter grabbed the points. A future world champion gone too soon.
3. Felipe Massa – Interlagos, 2008
The dramatic culmination to a hard-fought 2008 world championship came down to the final race. Lewis Hamilton passed Timo Glock for fifth on the final corner to secure the world title by one point; however, up front, Massa drove commandingly to win from lights to flag for the second time in Sao Paulo. A crushing disappointment for the Brazilian. He’s never won another F1 race again.
4. Alain Prost – Dijon, 1981
It was that crazy time of ground effect in F1 and crazier still, a time before Alain Prost had won any of his 51 Grands Prix. His maiden victory came in a Michelin-shod, turbocharged Renault, in front of his home crowd while fighting to keep his damaged car on track in changeable conditions. No wonder he went on to become a legend of the sport.
5. Mario Andretti – US Grand Prix West, 1977
The only American to ever win his home race, his performance in 1977 at the wheel of his epic ground effect John Player Special Lotus, was a dogged affair; as he battled hard with our old pal Jody Scheckter in the Wolf. However, after many attempts, Andretti finally produced a fine overtake just 3 laps from the end.
6. Michael Schumacher – Nurburgring, 1995
Racing in a Renault-powered Benetton in the European Grand Prix, the home fans went wild when Schumacher pulled off one of his legendary late charges through the field, lapping nearly 2.0 sec faster than the next fastest competitor, Jean Alesi. His speed secured a memorable first home win for Schuey and the 17th of his career. Keep fighting, champ!
7. Niki Lauda – Osterriechring, 1984
Legendary Austrian driver, Niki Lauda, had famously never won his home race beneath the daunting Spielberg mountains. That is until his F1 career was drawing to a close in ’84 and he did so in a potent Tag-powered McLaren. It was an against-all-odds victory because his car was losing gears 15 laps before the end. Niki went on to win the championship by half a point that year.
8. Lewis Hamilton – Silverstone, 2008
We’re back in 2008 with F1 golden boy, Lewis Hamilton, challenging for what would be his first world title. Racing in tricky, changeable conditions, as rivals crashed out all over the place, Lewis displayed his mastery of wet-weather driving to claim his first ever home win. Something which would certainly become a familiar occurrence over the next two decades.
9. Nigel Mansell – Silverstone, 1987
There’s nothing the great Nigel Mansell loved more than winning in front of British fans. It all started in 1986 at Brands Hatch when he claimed his first ever Grand Prix win, and it would occur regularly until his final win in 1992. But for sheer spectacle, the 1987 race and his epic battle with teammate Nelson Piquet must go down as the best of the lot. Nigel broke the lap record 11 times to chase Piquet down in the closing laps and pass him with one of F1’s all-time great manoeuvres.
10. Ayrton Senna – Interlagos, 1991
We saved the best for last. A home victory had eluded the great Ayrton Senna his entire career, until in his eighth season; and up against stuff opposition from a Williams Renault team that was in the ascendency, he clung onto a dramatic victory, nursing his car home that only had sixth gear. The outpouring of emotion after the race is legendary.