Racing Point driver Sergio Perez once claimed there are no coincidences in Formula One.
I call BULLCRAP, because Murray Walker said it best – Anything can happen in Formula One… And it usually does!
Australians getting screwed by Red Bull
Mark Webber joins Red Bull in 2007, and within a few years he’s playing second fiddle to his young ace of a teammate, and eventually leaves.
Daniel Ricciardo replaces Webber at Red Bull for 2014, and then a few years later, he’s playing second fiddle to his young ace of a teammate, and eventually leaves.
Apparently the Austrians don’t like Australians.
The sons of World Champions winning 34 years apart
Graham Hill won his first World Championship in 1962.
Damon Hill won the World Championship in 1996.
Keke Rosberg won the World Championship in 1982.
Nico Rosberg won the World Championship in 2016.
Deciding the 2008 & 09 Drivers’ Championships
It was at the Brazilian Grand Prix, with a British/English driver in a British car with a Mercedes engine, bearing the number 22, finishing in 5th place.
In 2008, it was Lewis Hamilton.
In 2009, it was Jenson Button.
Funnily enough, it was also the first time in F1 history that British drivers had won consecutive championships…. Furthermore, Hamilton and Button became McLaren teammates in 2010.
World Champions winning each other’s First and Last Races
Alain Prost won Ayrton Senna’s first race, the 1984 Brazilian Grand Prix, and Senna won Prost’s last race, the 1993 Australian Grand Prix – Which also turned out to be Senna’s last win.
Michael Schumacher won Jenson Button’s first race, the 2000 Australian Grand Prix, and Button won Schumacher’s final race, the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Funnily enough, Brazil 2012 is still McLaren’s most recent Grand Prix victory.
Michael Schumacher’s Retirement Podiums
In both of Michael Schumacher’s final races before his retirements – The 2006 & 2012 Brazilian Grands Prix – The podium was compromised of Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, and Felipe Massa.
2006 – Massa 1st, Alonso 2nd, Button 3rd.
2012 – Button 1st, Alonso 2nd, Massa 3rd.
Massa was the only driver with the same team (Ferrari) for both races.
Gerhard Berger recorded Benetton’s first and last wins
The 1986 Mexican Grand Prix, and the 1997 German Grand Prix, which also happened to be Berger’s only wins for Benetton.
Funnily enough, they were also Berger’s first and last wins, bookending a career featuring 10 wins and 48 podiums in his time with Benetton, several prank-filled years alongside Senna at McLaren, and in two stints at Ferrari.
1997 Title Rivals
Despite dominating the 1997 World Championship by combining to win 12 of the 17 races, Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve never appeared on the podium together that year.
The closest they came was 1st and 4th-placed finishes in Spain (Villenuve won), France (Schumacher won) and Hungary (Villeneuve won).
Eventually, Villeneuve won his only world title by finishing 3rd in the season-ending European Grand Prix at Jerez, despite Schumacher attempting a repeat of Adelaide 1994 by slamming into the Williams, which led to his exclusion from the official standings.
Still, that wasn’t the craziest coincidence of 1997.
The Three-Way Tie For Pole
In a sport where times are measured to within 1/1000 of a second, 2 drivers setting the exact same lap time is remarkably rare – An example being Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel in Baku 2016.
But, 3 drivers setting the same time is almost impossible – So much so that it’s only happened once in the 70 year history of the World Championship.
In qualifying for the aforementioned 1997 European Grand Prix, Jacques Villeneuve set the early benchmark with a 1.21.072.
14 minutes later, Michael Schumacher looked on track to beat the time, but he lost 3-tenths in the final sector, and amazingly, also set a 1.21.072, which put him 2nd, as Villeneuve had set the original time.
14 minutes after Schumacher, the other Williams of Heinz-Harald Frentzen was also up on Villeneuve’s time ahead of the final sector, but he came flying in and set…. a 1.21.072.
What is forgotten is Damon Hill (In the pitiful Arrows) was on course to beat the trio, but he had to slow down in the final sector due to yellow flags, and missed out by 0.058 seconds to start 4th.
ITV later gave us a behind the scenes view of Murray Walker being Murray Walker when it happened.
Renault bookend the Engine eras
The first race of the 3.0L V10 era – The 1995 Brazilian Grand Prix – Was won by a car with a Renault engine (Michael Schumacher for Benetton).
The last race of the 3.0L V10 era – The 2005 Shanghai Grand Prix – Was won by a car with a Renault engine (Fernando Alonso for the factory Renault team).
The first race of the 2.4L V8 era – The 2006 Bahrain Grand Prix – Was won by a car with a Renault engine (Fernando Alonso for the factory Renault team)
The last race of the 2.4L V8 era – The 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix – Was won by a car with a Renault engine (Sebastian Vettel for Red Bull).
Stewart, Jaguar and Red Bull all recorded their first podiums at Monaco
The team that we now know as Red Bull Racing began life as Jackie Stewart’s Ford-backed Stewart Grand Prix, and they would score their first podium when Rubens Barrichello finished 2nd in the 1997 Monaco Grand Prix.
Ford then bought the team and ran it under the Jaguar name from 2000-04, scoring their first podium at the 2001 Monaco Grand Prix when Eddie Irvine finished 3rd.
Red Bull then bought Jaguar after 2004, and the current team recorded their first podium in the 2006 edition of the race, when David Coulthard finished 3rd.
The funnier part was that team boss Christian Horner made a promise that if the team did finish on the podium, he would jump into Monte Carlo’s famous Swimming Pool in the nude.
Horner did the deed, wearing only a Superman cape, since the team were promoting the really shitty film Superman Returns.
Stopping at the same corner a year apart
In qualifying for the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher intentionally stopped at La Rascasse in Q3, to force a yellow flag and destroy Fernando Alonso’s flying lap and hold on to pole- It didn’t quite work, and he would be sent to the rear of the grid.
Kimi Raikkonen succeeded Schumacher at the Scuderia the next year, and during Qualifying for the 2007 edition, the Iceman hit the guard rail at the Swimming Pool, damaged his suspension, and was unable to turn hard right, leading to him stopping at a near identical spot to Schumacher.
The other involves Renault in Singapore.
During the first edition of the race in 2008, Nelson Piquet Jr spun and slammed into the Turn 17 wall… which we now know was orchestrated by the wankers to get Fernando Alonso back up the field by bringing out a conveniently timed Safety Car – Which created a butterfly effect that decided the 2008 Championship.
After Piquet was sacked for poor performance in 2009 and ratted the team out, Romain Grosjean replaced the Brazilian, and when they got to Singapore, Grosjean crashed in Practice… at the exact same spot.
Americans winning the Drivers’ Championship
The only two American drivers to win the World Championship are Phil Hill in 1961, and Mario Andretti in 1978.
They both secured the championhip in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, and in both races, their teammate (And main rival for the championship) died as a result of a crash in the race.
Hill’s Ferrari teammate Wolfgang von Trips died after a horror crash with Jim Clark at the Parabolica on Lap 2 of the 1961 race, also killing 14 spectators in the worst accident in the sport’s history, leading to the end of the 10km banked Monza circuit.
Andretti’s Lotus teammate Ronnie Peterson, aka The Super Swede, was inadvertently clipped by James Hunt after the officials botched the start, causing a huge accident that sent Peterson into the barriers and igniting the car.
Peterson suffered severe leg injuries and was taken to hospital, where he was diagnosed with fat embolism, which led to full kidney failure, and he died the next morning (11th September, 1978).
Ferrari winning races with track invaders
Now this is a ‘complete’ coincidence.
1989 Brazilian Grand Prix: A man ran across the start/finish line seconds before Nigel Mansell crossed the line to win the race on his Ferrari debut.
2000 German Grand Prix: Disgruntled former Mercedes-Benz factory employee Robert Sehli jumped the barriers and crossed the Hockenheimring at Turn 2 on Lap 25, in protest at being dismissed after 22 years working for the company in France, causing a safety car, which wrecked the races of the McLaren-Mercedes cars of Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard due to the timing of the yellow flag.
The end result was that Rubens Barrichello won his maiden Grand Prix… after starting 18th.
Funnily enough, despite being fined for breaching the circuit limits, Mr Sehli won his case against Mercedes-Benz, and received 91,000 francs in compensation – When you analyse the events, the protest was a success.
2003 British Grand Prix: On Lap 11, renowned Irish lunatic and defrocked priest Neil Horan walked straight through an open gate and on to the Hangar Straight into oncoming traffic, causing several drivers to swerve to avoid sending his body flying in 8 different directions.
Once again, Barrichello would end up winning the race (This time from pole position).
Despite going to prison, it would be the first of many sporting events that Horan ruined.
2004 Spanish Grand Prix: The Catalan prank artist Jaumie Marque i Cot, known to the world as Jimmy Jump, broke on to the Catalunya track on the parade lap while the cars were on the other side of circuit, purely for the interests of self-promotion to a global audience.
Michael Schumacher won the race.
2015 Singapore Grand Prix: On Lap 37, British man Yogvitam Pravin Dhokia got through the barriers approaching Turn 13, and seemed to casually go for a Sunday stroll for bordering on a minute along the opposite side of Esplanade Drive – His apparent reason was so he could take a video of the cars going past.
Anyway, keeping up this theme, Sebastian Vettel won the race.
Mr Dhokia was later charged with comitting a rash act, and jailed for 6 weeks.
If you shift the goalposts, another example is the 1977 South African Grand Prix, which was won by Niki Lauda, and included Tom Pryce’s horrendous fatal collision with an errant fire marshal.