The 10 Best F1 Races Of All Time (Plus Lists By Decade)

Formula 1 is an exhilarating sport filled with drama and action. Sometimes there are races that are simply unforgettable for a number of different reasons. Whether you’re new to the sport or an existing fan, it’s worth taking a look at the best F1 races of all time.

The 10 best F1 races of all time are:

  1. 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix
  2. 1986 Australian Grand Prix
  3. 2019 German Grand Prix
  4. 2011 Canadian Grand Prix
  5. 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix
  6. 2011 Chinese Grand Prix
  7. 1994 Australian Grand Prix
  8. 1998 Belgian Grand Prix
  9. 1999 European Grand Prix
  10. 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix

Choosing the top 10 races of all time was incredibly difficult, but we’ll go into more detail about why each of these races are worth watching below. We’ll also be going through the five best races of each decade since the 1950s so that you have even more to choose from!

The 10 Best F1 Races Of All Time

1. 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

Championship Decider | Unpredictable Weather | Drama Everywhere | Mega Comeback | Sheer Excitement

If there’s one race that you need to watch from start to finish, it’s the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix. In the final race of the season, Sebastian Vettel had to defend a 13 point lead over Fernando Alonso to win the championship. This meant that Alonso had to win the race with Vettel finishing fifth or lower for the Spaniard to claim his third Formula 1 title.

Vettel qualified his Red Bull in fourth place while Alonso started in seventh, giving us an iconic Rush-esque scene with the two World Champions staring each other down while sitting on the grid. Rain was on its way, but every driver started on slick tires. Vettel got off to a poor start, dropping down to seventh

At turn four, the German spun his Red Bull and made contact with Bruno Senna, severely damaging the Red Bull and forcing it back into the pits. Meanwhile, Felipe Massa helped his teammate overtake Mark Webber, allowing Alonso to charge away in third place.

Vettel down in last place was the first to pit for intermediates when the rain came down. The German began his charge through the field while Alonso managed to secure second place at the front. By the end of the race, Vettel dragged his limping Red Bull into sixth place, which was enough to secure the title over Alonso who finished second.

2. 1986 Australian Grand Prix

Championship Decider | Drama Everywhere | Crashes Galore | Sheer Excitement

Heading into the final race of the 1986 season, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, and Nelson Piquet were all in the fight to win the World Championship. Mansell took pole position for the race and seemed to be in the best position to win the title.

However, at the start of the race, the Brit was swallowed up by Piquet, Ayrton Senna, and Keke Rosberg. Several laps into the race, Rosberg took the lead from Piquet but suffered a puncture forcing him to retire. Piquet was back in the lead with Mansell being promoted back into third, with Mansell having the advantage in third place.

However, with just 19 laps to go in the race, Mansell’s left rear tire also failed, sending him down the escape road and out of the race. With Piquet in the lead, he now had the advantage and was favorite to win the title. Prost had to finish ahead of Piquet to win the title.

With tire wear clearly high and forcing cars into retirement, the Williams team decided to bring Piquet in for a pit stop, leaving him 15 seconds behind Prost. Piquet charged ahead and closed the gap down to 4.2 seconds on his fresh tires, but it wasn’t enough. The Frenchman took the checkered flag to successfully defend his title.

3. 2019 German Grand Prix

Unpredictable Weather | Crashes Galore | Unexpected Podium | Mega Comeback | Great Racing

The German Grand Prix is known for having unpredictable weather, which makes for exciting racing. Lewis Hamilton started the 2019 race in pole position with Max Verstappen alongside him. The race started under wet conditions, and it soon became clear that drivers were struggling for grip as cars were spinning and sliding off the track.

Hamilton was leading the race until Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari ended up beached in the gravel, bringing out the safety car. Behind the safety car, Hamilton also slid off the track, damaging his front wing in the final sector. Heading into the pits, the Brit had to endure a 50 second pit stop as his team was not ready for him to come into the pits.

Things only went from bad to worse for Mercedes as Hamilton was given a 10 second penalty for entering the pits from the outside of the bollard at the pit entry, and this would rule him out of a race win while Max Verstappen sprinted away at the front of the pack.

More drama ensued as there were more and more crashes and spins all over the track. In the end, Max Verstappen won the race, but home hero Sebastian Vettel took second place after starting in 20th, while Daniil Kvyat took the final spot on the podium after starting in 14th place.

4. 2011 Canadian Grand Prix

Unpredictable Weather | Record Breaker | Drama Everywhere | Unlikely Winner

The 2011 Canadian Grand Prix holds the record for the longest race in Formula 1 history at over four hours. The race started under the safety car in wet conditions while all the drivers struggled for grip. When the race got underway, chaos ensued as several drivers, including Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber, crashed. 

The most notable incident was between McLaren teammates Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton had dropped behind Button but attempted an overtake on the main straight, only for the two to collide, with Hamilton being pinched into the wall. The incident brought out another safety car as Hamilton had to retire from the race.

The incident forced Button down to 15th after he pitted for intermediate tires and was given a drive-through penalty. On lap 19 the rain was back, forcing the drivers back onto full wet tires and eventually causing the race to be red flagged for over two hours. After the restart, Button started his charge through the field and up into second place.

On the final lap of the race, Sebastian Vettel’s lead was brought down to just under a second after he had been leading the entire race. The German made a mistake at turn six, running wide and allowing Button to fly past him. Button won the race with a total of six pit stops and two collisions.

5. 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix

Unpredictable Weather | Championship Decider | Nail-Biting Finish | Great Racing

The final race of the 2008 season was the showdown between Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton for the title. Hamilton was leading the championship by seven points over Massa, which meant the Brazilian had to win the race with Hamilton finishing sixth or lower to claim the title.

Rain started falling minutes before the start of the race, delaying the starting procedure. When the race got underway, Massa sped off from pole position, determined to win the title in front of his home crowd. Hamilton was holding station in fourth place, driving cautiously as it would be enough to help him win the title.

After pitting for dry tires, Hamilton dropped down the order and found himself in sixth place behind Giancarlo Fisichella. Hamilton eventually fought his way past two cars, but after the next round of pit stops, Hamilton found himself under pressure from Sebastian Vettel in the closing stages of the race.

With eight laps to go, rain started to fall once again around Interlagos, forcing drivers to head into the pits for intermediate tires. However, some drivers stayed out on dry tires with the track not being wet enough just yet. With just three laps to go though, Vettel overtook Hamilton in the final corner, sending the Brit down to sixth place and putting the title in Massa’s grasp.

But with just two laps to go, the rain started falling even harder, which meant that Timo Glock would be in trouble as he remained on dry tires. On the final corner of the final lap, Glock lost grip and started slowing down, allowing Hamilton to get through and claim fifth place, sealing the Brit’s first championship.

6. 2011 Chinese Grand Prix

Great Racing | Unlikely Podium | Sheer Excitement | Mega Comeback

The 2011 Chinese Grand Prix was an excellent race in dry conditions. Sebastian Vettel started from pole position, but he had a poor getaway and was overtaken by Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton in the first few corners. Vettel had the pace to fight back, eventually overtaking Hamilton for second place.

Button and Vettel headed into the pits, but Button bizarrely stopped in the Red Bull spot instead of his McLaren box, causing him to lose position to Vettel. Meanwhile, Hamilton’s worn tires caused him to drop behind Felipe Massa. Massa pitted, leaving Nico Rosberg in the lead of the race (the fifth race leader at this point).

The racing continued, particularly between the two McLaren drivers. Vettel took the lead of the race and had to nurse his hard tires to the end, while the McLarens on fresh soft tires started to hunt him down. Hamilton overtook Vettel for the lead and cruised to the finish line.

Vettel drove his Red Bull home to second place, and Mark Webber finished third after starting the race all the way down in 18th. Overall, this race featured excellent overtaking and excitement, with several drivers having the opportunity to win the race.

7. 1994 Australian Grand Prix

Championship Decider | Sheer Excitement | Dramatic Controversy

The 1994 Australian Grand Prix was one of the most dramatic title deciding races in the history of the sport. As the final race of the season, it set the scene for a showdown between Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill, separated by just one point in the championship standings.

Michael Schumacher took the lead from Nigel Mansell at the start of the Grand Prix, and Damon Hill set off after the German after wrestling his car into second place. The two held station until lap 36 when Schumacher made a mistake at the East Terrace corner. After running wide, Hill was right behind Schumacher and making a move down the inside.

Schumacher defended his position, cutting across the Williams driver. Schumacher’s car lifted up onto two wheels as it flew into the barrier, and he was forced into retirement on the spot. Hill headed for the pits but was forced to retire from the race with a broken suspension wishbone, giving Schumacher his first ever World Championship.

8. 1998 Belgian Grand Prix

Unpredictable Weather | Crashes Galore | Drama Everywhere

The 1998 Belgian Grand Prix could barely get underway before the drama started. Just after the first corner, David Coulthard crashed into the barriers, sending his car into the path of the rest of the pack. With severe spray impacting the drivers’ visibility, a total of 13 cars were involved in the crash.

The race was immediately red flagged. When the race restarted, it was Mika Hakkinen in the other McLaren who spun at turn one, damaging his car in the process. Meanwhile, Michael Schumacher sped away in his Ferrari settling down in second place. Shortly after the chaotic start, Schumacher took the lead off Damon Hill.

On lap 24, Schumacher was coming around to lap David Coulthard who was struggling down in eighth place. Hidden by the spray, Coulthard was hit by Schumacher, sending both of the drivers out of the race. Schumacher furiously stormed into the McLaren garage to confront Coulthard and drama ensued in the pitlane.

Moments later, a carbon copy incident occurred with Giancarlo Fisichella crashing into the back of Shinji Nakano. In the end, Damon Hill won the dramatic race, with Ralf Schumacher finishing in second place, and Jean Alesi taking third place.

9. 1999 European Grand Prix 

Crashes Galore | Drama Everywhere | Unpredictable Weather | Great Racing | Crazy Leader Swap | Unlikely Winner

The 1999 European Grand Prix was a thrilling race. There was an unusual start as a malfunction in the lights system caused several cars to false start. Eventually, the race got underway only for there to be a massive crash on the first lap with a Sauber landing upside down.

On lap 17 it started to rain, and the half-slick Nurburgring track made for some intense racing between several cars. Ferrari headed into the pits only for there to be a mishap in the pits where the crew seemed to forget to bring out the right rear tire! Shortly after, championship contender Heinz-Harald Frentzen retired from the race with a mechanical issue.

David Coulthard, another championship contender, then crashed out of the race, leaving Giancarlo Fisichella in the lead. The Italian’s Benneton gave up shortly after, giving the lead to Ralf Schumacher. Disaster then struck for Schumacher as he got a puncture in the closing laps of the race.

In the end, the race was won by Johnny Herbert in the Stewart, a team that was competing in its final season in the sport before becoming Jaguar. Jarno Trulli finished in second place and Rubens Barichello took third.

10. 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix

Unpredictable Weather | Unlikely Winner | Great Racing | Drama Everywhere

Before 2006, there had never been a wet race at the Hungaroring. By the time the 2006 race was ready to start, it was still slightly damp from a morning shower of rain. Kimi Raikkonen got off to an excellent start from pole position and sprinted ahead of the pack.

Michael Schumacher struggled with his Bridgestone tires and was fighting with Renault’s Giancarlo Fisichella for the entire race, but he was well off the pace, at one point lapping four seconds slower than Raikkonen. Schumacher and Fernando Alonso were locked in a titanic battle for the championship, so every point was crucial.

However, an unlikely contender in Jenson Button was showing excellent pace and carving his way through the pack in weather conditions that he loved. Raikkonen collided with a Toro Rosso while he was coming around to lap him, forcing him to retire from the race. As the track dried, Alonso pitted for slicks, but a loose wheel nut sent him into the barriers and out of the race.

The advantage was now in Schumacher’s hands, but a charging Button overtook him in the first corner. Shortly after, a mechanical failure also forced Schumacher into retirement, leaving both title contenders with no points at the Hungaroring.

Button cruised to the finish line in his Honda, a team that was not competitive and at that time considering an exit from the sport. It was Button’s first victory in Formula 1, and he was joined on the podium by Pedro De La Rosa and Nick Heidfeld.

The 5 Best F1 Races Of The 1950s

1. 1958 Argentine Grand Prix

New Rules | Unlikely Winner

In 1958, new rules were introduced that would drastically influence how the sport played out. The Argentinian Grand Prix was a last-minute addition to the calendar, but it wasn’t one of the usual suspects who won the race. Stirling Moss outsmarted Ferrari and won the season opener in his Cooper Climax.

2. 1950 Indianapolis Grand Prix

Record Breaker | Sheer Excitement

The 1950 Grand Prix of Indianapolis was unique for several reasons, but the standout factor was the sheer number of drivers involved in this event. A total of 81 drivers entered the Grand Prix, which is the most ever recorded in Formula 1. Of course, they weren’t all on track at the same time, but for the top tier of racing, that’s a huge number!

3. 1957 German Grand Prix

Record Breaker | Championship Decider

It was the 1957 German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring that was the scene of Juan Manuel Fangio’s very last race win. The Argentine was a legend of the sport, claiming his fifth World Championship in Germany with his 24th race win. It’s a record that would not be beaten for 46 years until 2003, when Michael Schumacher won his 6th title.

4.1951 German Grand Prix

New Winner | Drama Everywhere

The Nurburgring is featured once again as it became the first race win for Italian legend Alberto Ascari. The Italian driver gave Ferrari their second-ever win at this race where he dominated the pack. However, the rest of the field was filled with mechanical failures and crashes, meaning just 11 out of 23 cars finished the race.

5. 1954 Italian Grand Prix

Sheer Excitement | Great Racing | Drama Everywhere

The 1954 Italian Grand Prix could have been the scene of Stirling Moss’s first-ever win. For several laps, he was fighting with Fangio, swapping places every single lap. After pitting, Moss was 22 seconds behind Fangio. He pushed hard to claw his way back, but his engine died on the final lap, causing him to jump out and push his car over the line into 10th place.

The 5 Best F1 Races Of The 1960s

1. 1965 British Grand Prix

Nail-Biting Finish | Sheer Excitement

The 1965 British Grand Prix was a thriller. Just after the halfway mark of the race with 30 laps to go, Jim Clark had a massive 30 second lead over second place Graham Hill. However, his Lotus-Climax had an oil issue, which meant he had to slow down to preserve his engine in order to finish the race.

Slowly but surely, Hill started reeling in his compatriot at the front of the pack despite having brake issues. On the final lap, the gap was down to five seconds, which was still a reasonable lead for Clark. Hill pushed hard and managed to finish just 100 yards (90 meters) behind Clark, nearly stealing the win at the last second.

2. 1964 Mexican Grand Prix

Championship Decider | Sheer Excitement | Record Breaker

Three British drivers went into the final race of the 1964 season with a chance of winning the World Championship. Graham Hill was leading the standings on 39 points, John Surtees was in second on 34 points, and Jim Clark was in third on 30 points. Jim Clark looked like the favorite after qualifying in pole position.

After the start, Hill took third place with Surtees down in fifth as his title chances slipped away. However, Hill and Lorenzo Bandini made contact, causing severe damage to Hill’s BRM, which meant that it lost power. Clark was in prime position to win the title, but as his Lotus crossed the line to start the final lap, the engine died.

This left John Surtees in third place, with his teammate Bandini in front of him. Bandini slowed down to let Surtees pass and finish second, allowing him to win the World Championship. He became the first and so far only driver to win world titles on both two wheels and four, after he made the switch from motorcycles to F1.

3. 1969 British Grand Prix

Great Racing | Sheer Excitement

The 1969 British Grand Prix was held at Silverstone, with Jochen Rindt starting in pole position. Jackie Stewart lined up alongside him, with the Brit eager to win his home race. For several laps, the two leaders put on an incredible spectacle as they overtook one another around the amazing circuit.

Eventually, Rindt had an issue where his rear wing was damaging his right rear tire, forcing him into the pits to have it fixed. Unfortunately, his team under-fueled his car, forcing him into yet another unscheduled pit stop. Despite their close racing and matched pace, Rindt finished in fourth place, an entire lap behind Stewart.

4. 1967 Belgian Grand Prix

Unlikely Winner | Sheer Excitement

Jim Clark was in pole position for the 1967 Belgian Grand Prix and it seemed like it would be a straightforward victory for the Brit. Within just 11 laps he built up a 20 second lead, but he was then forced into a two minute pit stop as he needed a spark plug to be changed. Inheriting the lead, Jackie Stewart built up a comfortable cushion over Dan Gurney who has fuel pressure issues.

However, Stewart then suffered gearbox problems, giving Gurney a golden opportunity. Gurney set a new lap record as he chased after the Brit and overtook him with just eight laps to go. Gurney took victory in his Eagle, their first and only win. Gurney became the only driver to claim maiden wins with three different constructors: Porsche, Brabham, and Anglo American Racers.

5. 1961 Monaco Grand Prix

Sheer Excitement | Unlikely Winner | Great Racing

The 1961 Monaco Grand Prix was the season opener. Amazingly, Stirling Moss took pole position in the Lotus-Climax, a car that was 156 horsepower down on the Ferraris. 156 horsepower makes a huge difference when the car weighs next to nothing, so qualifying on pole was a huge achievement on its own.

Richie Ginther and Jim Clark got the better starts, overtaking Moss into the first corner. But Clark soon suffered issues with a faulty fuel pump, and Moss was then back in the lead after overtaking Ginther. Eventually, Moss had built up a 10 second lead, but the Ferraris of Ginther and Phil Hill picked up the pace and started to close the gap.

By lap 60, Moss’s lead was cut down to just three seconds. The Ferraris switched places as both drivers attempted to reel in Moss’s Lotus, but neither of them could close the gap lower than three seconds as Moss drove the wheels off his car. Moss, who was still under pressure from Ferrari, was setting laps three seconds faster than he did in qualifying, earning him the nickname “Mr. Motor Racing.”

The 5 Best F1 Races Of The 1970s

1. 1971 Italian Grand Prix

Nail-Biting Finish | Great Racing | Sheer Excitement | Record Breaker

Monza is known as the Temple of Speed, but back in the day it looked very different from its modern layout. 1971 was the last race at Monza when the circuit did not have the chicanes that it has today. The steep banked corner would launch cars onto the main straights, allowing them to hit unprecedented (at the time) speeds.

This particular race held the record for the highest ever recorded speed in Formula 1 for more than 30 years. The speed achieved was 150 miles per hour (241 kilometers per hour). Nothing too impressive these days, but in 1971, it was seriously rapid.

The standout part of the race was the finish, which is believed to be the closest ever finish in Formula 1 history with a gap of just 1 hundredth of a second. We’ll never know if this was actually the closest finish because the times were only measured to 2 decimal places back then, and the other closest finish was 0.011 seconds at the 2002 US Grand Prix.

Nevertheless, the top five cars were all separated by 0.61 seconds, which is the closest that the top five has ever been at the finish line. The photo finish was one of the most incredible moments in Formula 1 history, as five different drivers were in with a shot at winning the race when exiting the final corner.

2. 1979 French Grand Prix

Great Racing | Sheer Excitement

The 1979 French Grand Prix was held at Dijon, and it was the scene of one of the greatest battles in the history of the sport. While the race itself was nothing special, the battle between Gilles Villeneuve in the Ferrari and Rene Arnoux in the Renault was spectacular.

The two were fighting over second place, swapping positions and overtaking one another at every single opportunity. The pair battled all the way until the final lap, even banging wheels multiple times. Eventually, it was Villeneuve who took second place, finishing just 0.024 seconds ahead of Arnoux.

3. 1977 US Grand Prix

Great Racing | Championship Decider | Sheer Excitement

Niki Lauda and James Hunt had a titanic rivalry going on in 1977, which often overshadowed everything else that happened out on track. James Hunt had to win the race with Lauda finishing no lower than fourth in order for the Brit to clinch the title. Hunt qualified on pole, with Lauda in seventh. 

The Austrian knew he had work to do in the race, but there was no catching Hunt as he sped off into the lead of the race. Needing fourth place to win the title, Lauda ended up in an incredible battle with Jody Scheckter. The two battled away, with Lauda desperate to claim fourth place in the Grand Prix.

Eventually, Lauda’s luck turned as Hans-Joachim Stuck’s gearbox failed while he was battling with James Hunt for the lead of the race. This meant that Lauda no longer had to risk his race by fighting with Scheckter, and he cruised to a fourth place finish, sealing his second World Championship.

4. 1972 German Grand Prix

Great Racing | Nail-Biting Finish

The Nurburgring, also known as the Green Hell, hosted the German Grand Prix in 1972. Belgian driver Jacky Ickx took pole position and led every lap, taking the victory. However, the real action unfolded behind the Ferrari, and the main fight on track was between his teammate Clay Regazzoni and Jackie Stewart.

The pair of them fought over second place for several laps, overtaking one another in what was a breathtaking battle. However, on the final lap the two collided, with Stewart being forced to retire from the race. Clay Regazzoni managed to recover and finish the race in second place to seal a Ferrari 1-2.

5. 1975 Dutch Grand Prix

Unpredictable Weather | Unlikely Winner | Great Racing

The 1975 Dutch Grand Prix started off in damp conditions with Ferrari teammates Niki Lauda and Clay Regazzoni starting on the front row of the grid. James Hunt, in his Hesketh with no sponsors, was the first driver to pit for slick tires as the track started to dry out.

Niki Lauda launched attack after attack against the British driver in his Hesketh, but eventually it was Hunt who won his first ever Grand Prix. It was the first and only win for the small team from Easton Neston, and it was the start of Hunt’s incredible Formula 1 legacy.

The 5 Best F1 Races Of The 1980s

1. 1986 Australian Grand Prix

Championship Decider | Drama Everywhere | Crashes Galore | Sheer Excitement

The 1986 Australian Grand Prix was the Championship Decider that gave Alain Prost the World Championship. High tire wear was a serious concern as championship contender Nigel Mansell suffered a puncture. His Williams teammate headed into the pits to change his tires for the final laps, which is what gave Prost the lead that would help him win the 1986 World Championship.

2. 1989 Japanese Grand Prix

Dramatic Controversy | Championship Decider | Sheer Excitement | Great Racing

Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost were not good teammates. The pair of them had several battles throughout their time together on track, but the most controversial one was at the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix. It was the race that would ultimately decide who would be crowned champion of the 1989 Formula 1 season.

Senna qualified his McLaren on pole position, with his teammate Prost lining up alongside him. Prost took the lead at the first corner and set off to build a six second gap over Senna. Following a quick pitstop for fresh tires and a setup change, Senna had the upper hand in pace. He set off after Prost as both Ferraris retired from the race. 

With the scarlet red cars out, McLaren had no competition other than themselves, and they were cruising to a 1-2 finish. On lap 47, Senna had closed the gap through 130R and was lining up a lunge into the slow chicane. Senna made the move, but neither driver was willing to give up the fight, and the two collided.

The cars’ wheels locked, and their engines stalled, causing Prost to get out of his car and retire from the race. However, Senna got the marshals to push his car, allowing him to restart the engine and head into the pits for repairs. Senna won the race but was later disqualified for cutting the chicane following his collision, giving the title to Prost.

3. 1982 Monaco Grand Prix

Unpredictable Weather | Unlikely Winner | Mega Comeback | Nail-Biting Finish

Rene Arnoux qualified his Renault in pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix. He led the race for 15 laps until he spun off at the Swimming Pool chicane, giving the lead to teammate Alain Prost. Prost held the lead comfortably for the majority of the race, but in the closing stages the rain began to fall.

On lap 74, with just two laps to go, Prost crashed into the barriers. Ricardo Patrese took the lead in what seemed to be a sure victory, until he spun and stalled his Brabham at the hairpin on lap 75 of 76. Didier Pironi took the lead, only for his engine to die out on the final lap and he stopped in the tunnel.

Andrea De Cesaris was next in line to inherit the lead, but he too had issues with his engine, retiring on the final lap. The next runner, Derek Daly, had crashed and damaged his gearbox, which forced him into retirement before he could even start the final lap of the race.

Among all the chaos, Ricardo Patrese had managed to bump-start his car and drive it across the finish line. It was his first ever win in Formula 1 with Pironi being classified in second place, and Derek Daly in third.

4. 1987 British Grand Prix

Great Racing | Sheer Excitement | Home Hero

Nigel Mansell put his Williams on pole for his home race at Silverstone. But at the start of the race, it was Alain Prost who launched his car from fourth into the lead of the race. It didn’t last long though as Nelson Piquet overtook him at Maggots, and Mansell followed his teammate through soon after.

With both Williams at the front of the pack, the fight was on for the British Grand Prix. Mansell was desperate to win his home race, making an unscheduled pit stop with 28 laps to go. The Brit found himself 29 seconds behind Piquet, but on fresh rubber, and he was about to drive the most memorable race of his career.

Mansell charged ahead, breaking the lap record eight times in the last 20 laps trying to catch his teammate at the front of the pack. By lap 62, Mansell was right behind his teammate, and he flew past him on lap 63 of 65.

After crossing the finish line, Mansell’s car slowed down on the circuit. It was later revealed that he had put the engine under so much stress that it failed entirely

5. 1984 Monaco Grand Prix

Unpredictable Weather | Unlikely Podium | Drama Everywhere | Sheer Excitement | Crashes Galore

The start of the 1984 Monaco race was delayed by 45 minutes due to heavy rain. Alain Prost led the race from pole position, but almost immediately there were crashes as Rene Arnoux, Derek Warwick, and Patrick Tambay were all involved in an incident.

On lap nine, Nigel Mansell overtook Prost to snatch the lead of the race. Mansell was two seconds per lap faster than Prost, but six laps later the Brit went off at Casino Square, forcing him into retirement due to severe damage to his car.

More crashes followed as Prost waved at the marshals to red flag the race. But one driver in particular was shining in the rain. Rookie Ayrton Senna started the race in 13th in an uncompetitive Toleman but was running in second place in his first ever Formula 1 street race.

On lap 32, the red flag was shown, and the race was stopped with just nine out of 20 cars finishing the race, and one being disqualified for being under the weight limit. Ayrton Senna had proven himself in what would become one of his most famous races in Formula 1.

The 5 Best F1 Races Of The 1990s

1. 1994 Australian Grand Prix

Championship Decider | Sheer Excitement | Dramatic Controversy

The Australian Grand Prix was the title deciding race between Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill for the 1994 season. Schumacher was leading the race until the 36th lap when he made a mistake and ran wide. Hill tried to overtake him at the next corner, but the pair collided, ending both of their races and allowing Schumacher to win his first title.

2. 1998 Belgian Grand Prix

Unpredictable Weather | Crashes Galore | Drama Everywhere

The 1998 Belgian Grand Prix saw the biggest crash in Formula 1 history, with a total of 13 cars being taken out just after the first corner. The drama didn’t end there though, as Michael Schumacher crashed into David Coulthard, forcing him to retire from the lead of the race. In the pits, Schumacher furiously stormed over to the McLaren garage to confront Coulthard.

3. 1999 European Grand Prix

Crashes Galore | Drama Everywhere | Unpredictable Weather | Great Racing | Crazy Leader Swap | Unlikely Winner

The 1998 European Grand Prix was a thriller from start to finish. From crashes at the start of the race to rain falling half way through, we saw both title contenders retire from the Grand Prix. The fight for the race win was also interesting as several cars retired from the lead of the race with mechanical failures, leaving Johnny Herbert to take victory for Stewart.

4. 1993 European Grand Prix

Unpredictable Weather | Great Racing | Sheer Excitement

The 1993 European Grand Prix at Donington Park started in wet conditions. Senna showed his class by overtaking four cars to go from fifth place into the lead of the race in half a lap. From there, the Brazilian simply dominated the competition and showed the world why he’s a legend of the sport.

The race went from wet to dry, causing mass confusion and strategic intrigue all across the field. Shortly after everyone had pitted for dry tires, it began to rain yet again, but Senna stayed out on his dry tires. It proved to be the correct decision as the track slowly dried once more and Senna was miles ahead of the pack

As the entire pack of cars struggled for grip in the changing weather conditions, Senna was flying, winning the race and lapping all but one car on his way to victory. Damon Hill finished in second place, 1 minute and 23 seconds behind Senna (the full lap was 1:24.467 in qualifying). Alain Prost finished in third, one lap down from the race winner.

5. 1996 Monaco Grand Prix

Unpredictable Weather | Crashes Galore | Unlikely Winner

While the drivers were participating in their warm up, heavy rain hit the Monaco circuit. Additional time was given so that the drivers could get used to the conditions. However, several drivers ended up crashing during the warm up, leaving one driver, Andrea Montermini unable to participate in the race.

Michael Schumacher started the race from pole position but was quickly overtaken by Damon Hill. Jos Verstappen started the race on slick tires but slid into the wall. Next, the two Minardis came together at the first corner, and Schumacher crashed into the wall at Mirabeau. Rubens Barichello also spun going into Rascasse, leaving just 13 cars remaining after five laps.

Gerhard Berger then retired with a gearbox failure, and on lap 31 Martin Brundle spun off too. As the track began to dry out, Hill pitted for slick tires, and he managed to regain the lead a lap later which showed how much faster the dry tires were. However, Hill suffered an engine failure shortly after.

Jean Alesi led the Grand Prix for 20 laps before a suspension failure forced him into retirement as well, leaving Olivier Panis in the lead. Two more cars collided and retired from the race, leaving just seven remaining. The race was cut short as it had run the full two hour time limit following all of the chaos out on track, leaving Panis with his one and only Formula 1 victory.

The 5 Best F1 Races Of The 2000s

1. 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix

Unpredictable Weather | Championship Decider | Nail-Biting Finish | Great Racing

The 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix was the championship decider between Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa. The race featured changing weather conditions, leaving some cars out on the wrong tires and much slower than others. Hamilton overtook Glock in the final corner of the final lap to win his first World Championship.

2. 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix

Unpredictable Weather | Unlikely Winner | Great Racing | Drama Everywhere

Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso were locked in a titanic fight for the title, but the wet Hungaroring had other ideas as both of them retired. Jenson Button thrived in the changing weather conditions while other drivers were caught out. Button powered his Honda to his first ever Formula 1 victory.

3. 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix

Unpredictable Weather | Great Racing | Crashes Galore | Unpredictable Winner

The 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix started off behind the safety car as the flooded track proved to be too dangerous for the race to get started. When the track dried out and the race restarted on lap eight, Rubens Barrichello was overtaken by David Coulthard for the lead of the race going into the first corner.

Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya overtook the home hero on lap 10. Just a lap later, the pair overtook Coulthard, and Raikkonen sped away in the lead of the race. Rubens Barrichello continued to drop down the order as he was overtaken by Mark Webber and his teammate Michael Schumacher. The rest of the field was fighting away with great overtaking maneuvers happening all over the track.

Raikkonen increased his lead to 14 seconds before Montoya suffered a loss of rear tire pressure, and he started dropping down the order. The entire circuit was drying, except for a river flowing across turn three. Coulthard was reeling in his teammate at the front before a crash at turn one brought the safety car out again.

The stream of water caught out several drivers, causing crashes for multiple cars. More rain came down, causing further chaos around the track. Webber crashed on the main straight, collecting Fernando Alonso along the way, which triggered the red flag and the end of the race. Raikkonen stood on the top step of the podium, but Giancarlo Fisichella was declared the winner due to a timekeeping error.

4. 2005 Japanese Grand Prix

Great Racing | Sheer Excitement | Mega Comeback

Ralf Schumacher started the 2005 Japanese race from pole position, but the main focus was on the championship battle between Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, starting 16th and 17th respectively. It was a damage control race for both of them, as scoring any points would be crucial in their fight for the title.

Alonso got a mega start and managed to get his car through some chaos at turn one and up into seventh by the end of the first lap. Juan Pablo Montoya crashed on the pit straight, bringing the safety car out. When the race resumed, Ralf Schumacher came into the pits for his first of three stops, which ruled him out of challenging Giancarlo Fisichella for the win.

Alonso, Schumacher, and Raikkonen were fighting away for several laps with some incredible action around Suzuka. Raikkonen got ahead of the pair and sped off before making his final pit stop on lap 45. Emerging from the pits, Raikkonen was about to enjoy the best drive of his life.

Alonso took third place off Mark Webber, but Raikkonen in second place was hunting down his teammate Fisichella. On the final lap, Raikkonen lunged past the Italian at the first corner, and went on to claim his seventh race win of the season with an incredible comeback from 17th on the grid.

5. 2008 Belgian Grand Prix

Unpredictable Weather | Great Racing | Dramatic Controversy

The Spa-Francorchamps track surface was still damp from morning rain, but every driver started the race on dry tires. On the second lap, pole sitter Lewis Hamilton spun at La Source, giving the race led to Kimi Raikkonen. Both headed into the pits just after lap 10 of the race, with Raikkonen managing to hold onto his lead.

Following another round of pit stops half way through the race, Raikkonen had extended his lead, but Hamilton was slowly closing the gap. On lap 41 of 44, heavy rain began to fall around Spa. With it being such a long lap, it’s difficult to get back to the pits for wet tires without beaching your car or ending up in the barriers, and both leaders stubbornly refused to pit.

Hamilton and Raikkonen were locked in a fight for the lead, both overtaking each other and making the most of opportunities when the other made a mistake. Nico Rosberg spun but rejoined right in front of the leaders, causing Hamilton to take avoiding action onto the grass. Raikkonen eventually lost control of his car and crashed it into the barriers at Blanchimont.

Hamilton was the first to cross the line, but there was some drama after the race concluded. Hamilton was given a 25 second penalty for cutting the Bus Stop chicane and gaining an advantage, leaving Felipe Massa as the winner of the 2008 Belgian Grand Prix.

The 5 Best F1 Races Of The 2010s

1. 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

Championship Decider | Unpredictable Weather | Drama Everywhere | Mega Comeback | Sheer Excitement

The 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix was the final race of the season and the championship decider between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. The rain came down and Vettel got caught up on a spin and a crash at the start. With a damaged car, Vettel drove an excellent recovery race to finish in sixth place, which was enough for him to defend his title.

2. 2019 German Grand Prix

Unpredictable Weather | Crashes Galore | Unexpected Podium | Mega Comeback | Great Racing

The 2019 German Grand Prix was exciting from start to finish. The changing weather conditions caught several drivers off guard, including the dominant Mercedes team. Eventually, it was Max Verstappen who won the race, with Sebastian Vettel finishing in second place after starting in 20th, and Daniil Kvyat taking third after starting in 14th place.

3. 2011 Canadian Grand Prix

Unpredictable Weather | Record Breaker | Drama Everywhere | Unlikely Winner

Officially recorded as the longest race in history, the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix saw several hours of delays due to bad weather conditions.  After six pit stops and two collisions, Jenson Button took a brilliant victory by overtaking Sebastian Vettel on the final lap. The entire race lasted just over four hours.

4. 2011 Chinese Grand Prix

Great Racing | Unlikely Podium | Sheer Excitement

The 2011 Chinese Grand Prix provided some of the best racing that we have seen in modern Formula 1. There were five different race leaders locked in a strategic battle to make it to the finish line first. It was Lewis Hamilton that won the race, with Sebastian Vettel finishing second and Mark Webber finishing third after starting in 18th place.

5. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2016

Championship Decider | Strategic Intrigue | Sheer Excitement

Nico Rosberg was one of the strongest teammates that Hamilton ever had, and he gave the Brit a run for his money in 2016. Going into the final race of the season, either Mercedes driver could have won the championship. Rosberg had fought hard all season, with several incidents and collisions taking place between the teammates.

There wasn’t much overtaking at this race, but the psychological battle between these two great drivers is what makes this race memorable. Hamilton was in the lead, trying to slow Rosberg down and force the rest of the pack to catch up and overtake him. The only way that he could seal the title was if Rosberg finished fourth or lower.

Despite orders from his team, Hamilton kept his pace in cruise control. The layout of the circuit made it difficult for Rosberg to overtake Hamilton, so the Brit could carry on safely dropping his pace to allow the rest of the pack, specifically Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen, to catch up to them.

By the end of the race, Vettel and Verstappen were right behind Rosberg. Rosberg successfully defended their attacks and managed to hold on to second place and secure his title. Just a week later, he announced his retirement from the sport and opened up about how mentally draining it was to fight with Hamilton over the course of a season.

The 5 Best F1 Races Of The 2020s (So Far)

1. 2021 Russian Grand Prix

Unpredictable Weather | Strategic Intrigue | Sheer Excitement

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen were locked in a battle for the championship, and every point counted. Verstappen was given a grid penalty for the Russian Grand Prix, so Hamilton knew he had to make the most of it. For the first time in nine years, McLaren managed to get pole position through Lando Norris.

Carlos Sainz stole the lead away from Norris at the start of the race, and the rest of the pack fought for position. Hamilton and Verstappen started to charge their way through the pack, with both of them suffering in the unpredictable conditions from qualifying. Norris eventually got his lead back, and along with Hamilton, built a 50 second gap over the rest of the field.

However, on lap 48 it started to drizzle. At first the rain was light, and with five laps to go, the front runners were opposed to heading into the pits for intermediates. Eventually, Mercedes managed to bring Hamilton in just as the rain started coming down more heavily.

Hamilton came out of the pits 25 seconds behind Norris, but by lap 51 he was just two seconds behind as Norris struggled on his slick tires. Norris aquaplaned off the track at turn five, leaving Hamilton unchallenged as he claimed his 100th career win.

2. 2020 Turkish Grand Prix

Unpredictable Weather | Sheer Excitement | Championship Decider | Record Breaking | Great Racing

Heading into the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix, only Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas remained in contention for the World Championship. Hamilton had an 85 point lead over his teammate in the standings, which meant that if Bottas finished lower than sixth, the championship would go to Hamilton.

In an unexpected qualifying, Lance Stroll took pole position for Racing Point. Stroll remained in the lead as other drivers struggled to keep their cars on the wet track. Several drivers were overtaking one another and fighting for position, making for exciting racing all around the circuit.

Hamilton also had a moment where he slid off the track, but he managed to keep going. Stroll led the race until lap 36 when he pitted for new intermediate tires, allowing Sergio Perez to get into the lead of the race, but he was soon overtaken by Hamilton.

From there, Hamilton cruised off into the distance. He carefully managed his tire wear but had worn most of the tread off of his intermediate tires by the end of the race. He won the race to secure his seventh World Championship, which matched Michael Schumacher for the record of most world titles in the history of the sport.

3. 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix

Unpredictable Winner | Great Racing | Sheer Excitement | Mega Comeback | Unexpected Podium 

George Russell was given a once in a lifetime opportunity to replace Lewis Hamilton in the most dominant Mercedes car ever, as the Brit was sitting out with COVID-19. Russell was keen to make an impression on his future team, and he qualified in second place, just behind Valtteri Bottas. 

Russell took his opportunity at the start and sprinted into the lead of the race at turn one. The battle for third was heating up until Charles Leclerc collided with Sergio Perez, triggering the safety car and causing Leclerc and Max Verstappen to retire from the race. Perez rejoined the field at the back of the pack.

Several other incidents took place that brought out virtual safety cars, but on lap 63 Mercedes brought in both drivers for a change of tires. The crew illegally fitted Bottas’ tires to Russell’s car, which meant that he had to make another pit stop to correct the mistake. He also suffered a puncture on lap 78, forcing him to pit again. This ended up costing him the win at the Sakhir Grand Prix.

In the end, it was Sergio Perez who won the Grand Prix after being down in 20th place at the start of the race. Esteban Ocon finished in second place, and Lance Stroll secured the final podium spot in what was an unexpected end to the Grand Prix.

4. 2022 British Grand Prix

Great Racing | Sheer Excitement | Strategic Intrigue

Carlos Sainz took his first ever pole position at the 2022 British Grand Prix. It was short lived though as Max Verstappen snatched the lead from him right after the start of the race. The race was red flagged almost immediately due to Zhou Guanyu’s massive crash on the pit straight right at the start of the race.

The race restarted based on the grid order, and this time Sainz remained in the lead. However, Verstappen overtook him after a couple of laps. Verstappen ran over debris later on, which damaged the floor of his car and caused a massive loss in pace.

On lap 39, the safety car came out, allowing everyone to pit, with Charles Leclerc being one of the few choosing not to head into the pits. Leclerc led at the restart, but he was quickly swallowed up by the drivers behind him who were much faster on fresh tires.

The fresh tires at the end of the race caused a frantic sprint to the finish line. Sainz won his first ever Grand Prix in the end and became only the second Spaniard to win a Formula 1 race. Sergio Perez finished in second, with Lewis Hamilton in third.

5. 2021 Italian Grand Prix

Unexpected Winner | Strategic Intrigue | Dramatic Controversy

The 2021 Italian Grand Prix at Monza was a Sprint race weekend, which meant the grid was set by the results of the Sprint race that took place on Saturday. Daniel Ricciardo seized the opportunity at the start to take the lead off Max Verstappen after starting in third place. Lewis Hamilton overtook Lando Norris for third place.

For 21 laps, Ricciardo managed to keep Verstappen at bay before heading into the pits. Verstappen pitted the following lap, but a long 11 second pit stop meant that he lost a lot of time and was exiting the pits right alongside his title rival Lewis Hamilton. The pair collided in turn one, with Verstappen’s Red Bull ending up on top of the Mercedes.

Lando Norris was then promoted to second place, and the safety car came out allowing several drivers to pit or fresh tires. Riccardo held off the rest of the pack and charged his way to victory. It was the Australian’s first win since Monaco in 2018, and it was McLaren’s first win since the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Final Thoughts

There have been more than 70 years of F1 races for fans to enjoy, and there have been a few that truly stand out above the rest. It’s difficult to narrow down the best ever Formula 1 races, because there have been so many excellent battles over the years. There’s no doubt that there will also be many more incredible races to come!