Squandered Formula One Titles

Published 10/13/2018, 4:18 PM EDT


Much like in 2017, Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari completely lost grip over the championship coming into the second half of the season. People blamed Marchionne’s death and even rising power struggle within the team as probable reasons. But truth be told, Ferrari have long been the #2 team now and if they want to retain their fans, they’ve gotta do something special the next year.

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Here we present you other drivers, like Vettel who squandered their chances of a championship easily:

Mark Webber

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2010 was going to be the Aussie’s year.

Last year, Brawn may have won the titles but by the end of the year, Red Bull’s reckoning was clear. And in 2010 Red Bull’s pace was apparent. The contention was between Red Bull and Ferrari. Specifically, it was between Fernando and Webber.

Red Bull’s senior driver finally was tasting success after so many years of languishing in the midfield. The title was increasingly looking to be his. A 14 point lead coming into the final three rounds of the season. But Webber threw it all away.

He crashed in Korea and could only manage P2 behind Vettel in Brazil. His lead had been reduced to a deficit of 8 points. He had squandered his hopes.

The finale was held in Abu Dhabi. Vettel took pole while Alonso took P3 in qualifying. Webber put in a very mediocre performance and lined up only P5. Choosing a conservative tire strategy, both Alonso and Webber emerged behind the Renaults of Kubica and Petrov. A 40 lap battle ensued but neither driver got past. Webber starting P5 had essentially slumped to P8.

He finished in that order only and lost the championship to his teammate. Worse he even lost P2 in the standings to Alonso.

Damon Hill

The 1990s was Williams’s era. The team had started the decade strongly and won the Driver’s championship in ’92 and ’93. A subsequent ban on electronics did destabilize the team and led Benetton to move ahead.

Senna was to lead Williams’s charge but the maestro’s unfortunate death put the team into an abyss. The reins suddenly came into Damon Hill’s hands. The Brit ably lifted the team’s spirits.

Come the final round of the season, he was a genuine title contender. Aided by
Schumacher’s disqualifications and race ban, there was only 1 point separating the two. The finale, held in Australia, saw Damon chasing Schumacher for the lead. The German cracked under pressure on lap 36 and ran wide, damaging his car in the process.

Hill made a half-baked lunge on the inside at the hairpin. As a result, the two collided. Schumacher was out on spot while Hill continued. But the damage was too heavy to bear for the car. He was out of the race because of a broken left-front wishbone. His title was squandered.

Schumacher won the championship by default.

 

Juan Pablo Montoya

JP despite being such a strong character, failed to live up to his talents. He came agonizingly close in 2003 though. So much so that in the penultimate round at Indianapolis, he was just 3 points behind Schumacher.

He outpaced the German on Saturday to line up 4th. But a poor getaway saw him drop back. Trying to pass the Ferrari of Barrichello, Montoya made contact that earned him a drive-through. He served his drive through on lap 18 and in that instant rain came down.

Montoya was forced to do a lap in the rain on slicks. He trundled to P6 while Schumacher won the race and with that, his title hopes were squandered.

 

Stirling Moss

Sir Moss maybe regarded as one of the best drivers to have never won the championship, but at least for 1958, he has himself to blame.

Engaged in a title fight with fellow Brit Mike Hawthrone, he pleaded to have his rival’s Portugal disqualification overturned. As a result, Hawthrone’s 2nd place finish was restored.

Come the end of the season, Hawthrone’s tally was 42 points while Moss’s was 41. He lost the championship by just 1 point. His pleading for his rival won him the accolade for sportsmanship but cost him the championship.

 

Didier Pironi

Pironi maybe best remembered for his clash with Giles Villeneuve that ultimately resulted in the Canadian’s death. That horrific year in 1982, Pironi was leading the championship as the calendar headed to the German Grand Prix.

This was a result of Pironi’s 6 podiums from the 11 rounds. He was leading the title by 9 points despite missing the Belgian Grand Prix on Ferrari’s orders.

Pironi had secured the pole position for the German GP. But in an untimed wet practice session, he binned his car into the Renault of Prost. The impact broke his legs and lost him not only the championship but his F1 racing career too.

 

Lewis Hamilton

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Having a blast of a rookie year in 2007, Hamilton was stronger than anyone ever imagined. Stringing 9 consecutive podiums and the win in Fuji meant he was certain to be the champion in 2 races time.

He claimed pole in the penultimate round in China. Alonso was 12 points behind in the standings and Raikkonen was 17. The Brit committed a blunder though beaching the car in pit entry during his pitstop and retired.

In the last race, he suffered a gear selection problem and dropped to dead last. The issue resolved itself and he started his charge back but could only finish P5. Raikkonen with a win squandered both Hamilton and Alonso’s chances. He took the title from right under Hamilton and Alonso’s noses by 1 point.

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Muktesh Swamy

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A Petrol Head, Traveller, Writer and Philosopher. Who do you wanna meet?

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