Top 10: Formula 1 Performance in wet weather

Driving a Formula 1 car in pristine conditions is hard enough, but it’s a whole different ball game when the weather turns sour.

Rain is often seen as an excellent leveler in Formula 1, a chance for the car’s performance to take a back seat and let the driver’s talent shine through.

And over the years we’ve seen some truly gorgeous rides in the wet.

So here are the top 10 wet weather performances from PlanetF1…

ten. Max Verstappen, Brazil 2016

The only rider on this list who didn’t actually win the race, but that Verstappen wet-weather masterclass just had to be included.

We already knew the Dutchman was special after winning his debut for Red Bull earlier that year in Spain, but that performance in Brazil showed us he was extremely fast in the wet.

Early moves from Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Rosberg showed the teenager was serious, but Red Bull’s failed gamble of placing him on the intermediates as the rain intensified, coupled with the safety car to cover the crash by Felipe Massa, saw Verstappen dropped throughout the drive – surely P2 or the podium in general was now out of reach?

Not exactly. In the final 16 laps, Verstappen tamed the soggy Interlagos circuit, picking up 11 places to finish P3.

Sure, the cooler tires helped, but they fail to top the likes we saw for you that day.

9. Jenson Button, Canada 2011

From lights out to the checkered flag, this race lasted four hours and four minutes, making it the longest in Formula 1 history, and Button took the honor of victory for McLaren in a superb drive in wet weather.

Button qualified P7, but the terrible conditions meant the race started behind the safety car. Shortly after entering the pits, Button was involved in a collision with teammate Lewis Hamilton.

On lap 26 the race was suspended due to heavy rain and would not resume until two hours later. By lap 27 Button was at war again – the Briton dropped to last place while Fernando Alonso was forced to retire.

But it was from here that Button delivered a sensational drive in the wet, going from P21 to P1. On lap 65 he would take Mark Webber and Michael Schumacher to move up to P2, while victory was assured on the final lap after forcing Sebastian Vettel into a mistake.

It was Button’s first win of the season, and what a crazy way to win it.

8. Lewis Hamilton, Great Britain 2008

Hamilton entered McLaren in 2007 and nearly won the world championship on his first attempt, but even up to the 2008 British Grand Prix there remained a pocket of fans who doubted his abilities.

All doubts disappeared after this one though. Hamilton’s team-mate Heikki Kovalainen put the McLaren on pole, but after following closely Hamilton took the lead on lap 5 and from then on he never looked back.

The weather was constantly changing at Silverstone, with drivers turning left, right and center as the showers continued to pass, but Hamilton persevered.

With Raikkonen less than a second behind Hamilton when they both pitted on lap 21, McLaren took a gamble by fitting fresh intermediate tires to Hamilton’s car, while Ferrari opted against a tire change for Raikkonen.

This turned out to be a big mistake as the rain started to fall again and Hamilton won his home race one minute and eight seconds clear of BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld.

7. Ayrton Senna, Europe 1993

Senna was truly the master of rain, and in the catalog of his masterpieces we first choose the 1993 European Grand Prix at Donington.

The Brazilian icon was P5 in his McLaren after the start, but as he completed this ‘Tour of the Gods’ he passed Alain Prost inside the Old Hairpin to take the first lap lead.

From there, the dominance was total as Senna overtook all but Damon Hill to win the wet race by one minute and 23 seconds.

6. Damon Hill, Japan 1994

Senna’s tragic death that year had landed relative newcomer Hill with all the pressure to deliver for Williams, and at Suzuka he did just that.

Hill’s performance at Suzuka became one of the classics as he edged out an advancing Schumacher in pouring rain.

It was all the more impressive considering he was riding on just three new tires after one got stuck with a lug nut problem.

The win saw Hill cut Schumacher’s Championship deficit to just one point ahead of the season finale in Adelaide. It was such a superhuman performance that Hill was somewhat scared of the mental place he was going.

“The last lap, I don’t even remember having control of the car, it was almost like the throttle was wide open and I was just hanging on and I managed to increase the gap to Michael,” he said. he said in an interview with Auto Motor und Sport.

“It actually scared me to be honest. I got out of the car and was shocked because it was almost like I had gone a little crazy in the car to go that fast, and it is quite scary.

5. Michael Schumacher, Spain 1996

There was a time when Schumacher and Ferrari weren’t the fastest pairing in Formula 1. Take most of 1996 for example, but the Spanish Grand Prix at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was quite an exception. gorgeous.

Despite qualifying almost a second slower than the Williams pair of Hill and Jacques Villeneuve, once Schumacher took the lead in this very wet race on lap 13, he never gave it up.

A catalog of fastest laps saw Schumacher claim victory in dominant fashion with a 45-second margin of victory over Jean Alesi in the Benetton.

4. Ayrton Senna, Portugal 1985

Estoril in 1985 was the scene of Senna’s first pole position and victory in Formula 1, and what a victory it was.

The Brazilian won everyone over in his Lotus 97T, slashing a minute and three seconds over the Ferrari of Michele Alboreto who was the only driver he didn’t lap that day.

By lap 10, he had built a 13-second lead!

It was a race contested in truly appalling conditions. At one point, while leading, Senna signaled to the officials along the pit lane to stop the race, but they did nothing and the pace from then on dropped considerably.

3. Sebastian Vettel, Italy 2008

What a wash this weekend at Monza was, but Vettel’s performance was no wet squib.

At this point, just a Toro Rosso driver and Red Bull Academy prospect, this is the day the four-time world champion we know so well really arrived.

The race started behind the safety car and after that Vettel built a solid lead in the pouring rain, but even when the track dried up he didn’t stop, continuing to extend his lead in the Toro Rosso to cross the line 12.5s ahead of him. Kovalainen in the McLaren.

It was a race Vettel didn’t have to win in a Toro Rosso and it remains the team’s only victory in Formula 1, adding even more glory to this remarkable underdog story.

2. Jim Clark, Belgium 1963

The Lotus 25 was class-leading, but that in no way detracts from what Clark achieved at the old Spa in 1963.

Clark started P8, but after a fantastic getaway that saw trackside staff and spectators take evasive action, Clark was on his way to glory.

Clark pulled away in wet conditions, and when he really started throwing him on lap 24, his lead only grew. Calls by Lotus founder Colin Chapman and BRM technical boss Tony Rudd for the race to be stopped at this stage have fallen on deaf ears.

Clark was truly in a league of his own that day, and in the end, the winning margin was 4m 54s.

1. Jackie Stewart, Germany 1968

The old 14.2-mile Nurburgring was a tall order at the best of times, so add to that torrential rain and fog and it only bolstered Stewart’s achievement that day.

Stewart started from the third line but broke into P3 off the line. He would take the concrete pit lane such was the extra grip it offered over the circuit tarmac, and after taking Chris Amon’s Ferrari away from Adenau and then Graham Hill’s Lotus, Stewart built up an eighth lead. seconds at the end of Lap 1.

It was a ride beyond anything you could imagine from Stewart who, on lap eight, set the fastest lap – a 9m 36s. For comparison, it was 15 seconds faster than anyone else.

Stewart in his Matra simply redefined dominance, and in the end his margin of victory was 4m03s! We will never see anything like this again, and it’s true, no one should have raced in this weather.

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