Making a comeback is an art form in itself, poetry in motion if you will. Extremely difficult to pull off but incredibly satisfying to witness, the act of coming back from being down invokes emotions that are unparalleled to anything in sport. In Formula 1™, every second counts to the highest degree. An illustrious history has seen some incredible comeback drives, here we look at some of the greatest of all-time.
Jenson Button, 2011 Canadian Grand Prix
In a rain-soaked Canadian Grand Prix, the world saw the best of 2009 World Champion Jenson Button. A marathon of a race which lasted over 4 hours saw the Brit make an incredible 6 pit stops as well as enduring a drive-through penalty to win what many onlookers consider one of the greatest races of Formula 1™ history.
Having begun the race from 7th on the grid, Button was demoted to 15th place following a stop-go penalty for making up ground on a safety car. The safety car was initially brought out after Button accidentally ran teammate Lewis Hamilton into the wall on Turn 1.
Further twists ensued when Button was once more involved in a collision, this time with Fernando Alonso. Another safety car ensued while Button miraculously managed to get his punctured car back to the pits. Rejoining the race in last place, Button embarked upon one of the great modern day driving displays ever seen. Sweeping the field with poise and vigour, Button chased down long-time race leader Sebastien Vettel before overtaking the German and his worn out tires on the second corner of the last lap to claim an unthinkable victory.
Kimi Raikkonen, 2005 Japanese Grand Prix
“Ice-man” by nickname, ice cool by nature. At a rain-soaked Suzuka in 2005, Kimi Raikkonen produced the best drive of his career and one of the all-time comebacks to claim a historic win.
Having qualified in 17th position, chances of a podium finish were not in his thinking. A hectic start to the race which saw a collision between Juan Pablo Montoya and Jacques Villeneuve brought out the safety car. By that time, the Finn had begun to slice his way through the field.
Having made a pit stop midway through the race, Raikkonen reappeared ahead of Fernando Alonso in 5thplace before passing Michael Schumacher into 4th. Benefitting from pitting early which saw him carry a heavy fuel load, both Mark Webber and Jenson Button were forced to make a stop to refuel, prompting The Iceman into second position.
What Raikkonen produced next can only be described as sheer magnificence. With 9 laps remaining, he set the fastest lap each time, and despite some brilliant defensive driving from long-time race leader Giancarlo Fisichella, a determined Raikkonen pulled off a brilliant maneuver on the run down to turn 2 on the final lap to complete the greatest comeback Suzuka ever witnessed.
Michael Schumacher, 1995 Belgian Grand Prix
No Formula 1™ greatest ever list would be complete without mention of the best of all-time, Michael Schumacher. Though Schumi’s career was coupled with dominance, his drive in the 1995 Belgian Grand Prix proved his greatness.
The 1995 season revolved around the rivalry of Schumacher and Damon Hill. Having both qualified down the field, Hill in 8th and Schumacher in 17th, and with the ever-changing conditions suggesting a classic was in store, what occurred as timeless.
Off the blocks like a man possessed, Schumacher was up to 6th place by lap 5, just 5 seconds behind race leader David Coulthard. With the rain beginning to fall, Hill stopped for wet tires. Hill soon caught Schumacher and a game of cat and mouse began in earnest. The German’s slick tires were no match for Hill and he was overtaken on lap 26.
Incredibly, the rain stopped almost instantly and Schumacher once more passed Hill, after which the Williams pitted for slicks and began chasing him again. And yet again, the heavens opened three laps later and a heavy downpour followed, forcing all drivers to pit for wet tires.
The extra stop for Hill gave Schumacher a huge lead and the German brought the car home a massive 20 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor, taking the checkered flag displaying incredible driving aggression.
The United States Grand Prix Awaits You!
One thing we have learned from the 2016 Formula 1™ season is nothing is guaranteed. With Nico Rosberg taking 5 of the opening 8 races, teammate and reigning champion Lewis Hamilton roared back with four consecutive victories before Rosberg once more proved his worth with back-to-back victories. Heading to the United States Grand Prix? Make sure to witness the climatic end to this year’s title by making a trip to Austin for the F1™ USGP with one of our exclusive ticket packages available only through Circuit of The Americas™ program. With our Legends Club Access, participate in a Q & A session with racing legend David Coulthard while enjoying an appearance by Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi!
The weekend of a lifetime awaits you, witness the race from a privileged viewing positon, wine and dine with our gourmet fare and open bars. Take the pressure off yourself by adding exclusive ground transportation and hotel accommodations to make this a weekend you and your party will never forget!