The 2016 Austrian Grand Prix came alive during the closing stages. Lewis Hamilton pitted to get a set of soft tyres. Rosberg, on an alternate strategy, switched to supersofts the next lap and piped the Briton for 1st position. A game of cat and mouse ensued between the teammates. It seemed like Rosberg would be able to hang on to that position. But something far more interesting was on the cards. The duo collided on the last lap as Hamilton executed an overtaking manoeuver. The damage meant Rosberg could only finish 4th. But this gave the viewers an excellent nail-biting finish to what was a pretty decent race. But how many instances of last lap victories are there and which are the greatest?
Top 5 last lap victories in Formula One.
5. Spain 2001
During the closing stages of the Spanish Grand Prix, the double world champion Hakkinen had seemed destined to ignite his limp championship campaign with a first win of the season, having started the 56th and final lap of the 2001 Spanish Grand Prix with a commanding 42 second lead over chief rival Michael Schumacher.
But lady luck wasn’t smiling on Hakkinen. Midway around Barcelona’s uphill Turn 3 his McLaren-Mercedes MP4-16 suddenly lost drive. A hydraulic leak leading to clutch failure. For several agonising seconds he freewheeled on in vain. He desperately tried to breathe life back into his ailing machine as Schumacher’s Ferrari loomed in his mirrors.
But there was to be no miraculous recovery. Innocuous white smoke turned to bright orange flames and Hakkinen ground to a halt. A grateful Schumacher swept past in one of the luckiest last lap victories.
Schumacher’s joy on winning for the third time in five races was tempered by huge sympathy for his most-respected rival. He even broke parc ferme protocol in order to publicly console Hakkinen after the race.