x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Top five: F1 title deciders

Tomorrow will be the first time in Formula One history that four drivers will battle for the title in the last race of the season. Here are five final races that have not only been thrilling but have also offered up a few surprises.

Alain Prost (FRA) took the win and the Championship in his McLaren MP4/2C   Australian Grand Prix, Adelaide, 26 October 1986
Alain Prost (FRA) took the win and the Championship in his McLaren MP4/2C Australian Grand Prix, Adelaide, 26 October 1986

1956 Italian Grand Prix

The 1956 season witnessed one of the sports' most generous acts. Juan Manuel Fangio went into the final race, at Monza, with an eight-point lead and was on track for his third consecutive championship. During the race Fangio retired with a broken steering arm, and his Ferrari teammate Luigi Musso refused to hand his car over to the Argentine. British driver Peter Collins, who still had the opportunity to win the title himself, handed his car over. Fangio finished second and won the title.


1976 Japanese Grand Prix

The season had already seen Niki Lauda's near-fatal crash at the Nürburgring, subsequent missed races and his remarkable recovery and return. The Ferrari driver went into the season's final race, at the Mount Fuji circuit, three points ahead of McLaren's James Hunt. On race day, the event was nearly abandoned because of the torrential rains. The race went ahead, but Lauda pulled into the pit lane on the third lap and retired. Hunt finished third, taking the championship by a point.



1986 Australian Grand Prix

The last of 16 races in the 1986 Formula One season was a three-way battle for the title; between Williams-Honda teammates Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet and McLaren's Alain Prost. On lap 64, Mansell was third, behind Piquet and Prost - enough to secure the championship - when a tyre on his car exploded. Fearing the same could happen to the other Williams car, Piquet was called into the pits. This allowed Prost to take a lead he did not relinquish, and thus win his second of four titles.


1994 Australian Grand Prix

The 1994 season will be remembered for the deaths of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger at the San Marino Grand Prix. The climatic race, at the Adelaide Street Circuit, is remembered for a controversial incident involving the two title contenders. Michael Schumacher was leading Damon Hill when he hit a wall and pulled back onto the circuit. When Hill attempted to pass, the cars collided. This ended the race for both, thus scoring no points, and the title went to the German.


1997 European Grand Prix

Another controversial finale and another incident involving Michael Schumacher - although this time it did not go his way. Going into the race, Schumacher, driving for Ferrari, led the championship by a single point ahead of the Williams-Renault driver Jacques Villeneuve. During the race, the two collided, forcing Schumacher's retirement. The sport's governing body, the FIA, blamed the Ferrari driver for the incident and he was stripped of his second-place finish in the championship.