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From wet-weather mastery to last-lap shocks – 10 of the most memorable wins at Silverstone

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Anna Francis
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Silverstone has played host to countless memorable moments in Formula 1 history since holding the first championship race back in 1950. With the track set to remain on the calendar through to 2034 following a new 10-year agreement, it feels timely to take a trip down memory lane and look back on some particularly notable victories to take place at the circuit.

From spectacular wet-weather driving to overcoming close battles – and with some famous post-race remarks thrown in for good measure – here are 10 of the most memorable and dramatic wins from Silverstone’s F1 history.

READ MORE: British Grand Prix to enter ninth decade with new 10-year deal through 2034

1950 – Farina wins first championship race

It seems only fitting to include the first ever Formula 1 championship race, which was held at Silverstone on May 13 1950. The 70-lap event proved to be a battle between the dominant Alfa Romeo cars, with a close fight for the lead unfolding between Giuseppe ‘Nino’ Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio.

Fangio ultimately retired due to a damaged oil pipe eight laps before the finish, leaving Farina to take victory from fellow Alfa drivers Luigi Fagioli and Reg Parnell. As well as marking the beginning of the championship – and Silverstone’s long relationship with F1 – the event has also been noted as being the only British motor race to be attended by a reigning British monarch, with King George VI watching on.

The British Grand Prix; Silverstone, May 13, 1950. At Stowe Corner, the eventual winner, Giuseppe

Farina won the first championship race at Silverstone in 1950

1969 – Stewart takes victory after a thrilling battle with Rindt

Jim Clark took a number of wins on home turf at Silverstone in the 1960s, prior to his death in 1968 in a racing accident at Germany’s Hockenheim circuit. One year on from his passing, his friend and fellow Scotsman Jackie Stewart claimed a particularly memorable British Grand Prix victory.

WATCH: How Prost returned from the sidelines to make a title-winning comeback

Stewart had already won four out of five races so far in the 1969 season, but faced a strong challenge from Jochen Rindt in the Lotus at Silverstone as they engaged in a close battle for the lead.

Rindt was forced to make a pit stop due to bodywork cutting into one of his tyres – a safety issue he had become aware of thanks to Stewart signalling to him. This dropped Rindt down to fourth, while Stewart added another victory to his impressive tally.

Jochen Rindt, Jackie Stewart, Denny Hulme, Grand Prix of Great Britain, Silverstone Circuit, July

Stewart took a memorable victory at Silverstone in 1969

1987 – Mansell's famous first win at Silverstone

Nigel Mansell was famously popular with the Silverstone crowd, a track that he won at on three occasions. His first came in 1987, but it was not a straightforward run to P1 for the Briton.

With an earlier issue dropping him down the field, Mansell found himself 29 seconds back from race leader Nelson Piquet – who was also his team mate and fierce rival – with 28 laps to spare.

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What followed was an incredible performance by Mansell as he cut into Piquet’s lead lap after lap before eventually overtaking the Brazilian through Stowe corner with three laps remaining. Mansell made it over the line to take the win but his Williams quickly ran out of fuel, leading to fans mobbing the car on the track.

1987:  Nigel Mansell of Great Britain in action in his Williams Honda during the British Grand Prix

Mansell – a popular winner at Silverstone – claimed the first of his three wins at the track in 1987

1991 – Senna gets a lift from winner Mansell

Further victories followed for Mansell at Silverstone in 1991 and 1992. The 1991 event proved to be a dominant one for pole-sitter Mansell – despite an early challenge for the lead from Ayrton Senna, the British driver soon reclaimed P1 and went on to take the win.

WATCH: How Lotus changed Formula 1 forever with their ground effect revolution

What makes the race particularly memorable, though, is what happened afterwards. Senna ran out of fuel on the last lap of the 59-lap encounter, dropping him down to fourth in the classification.

The Brazilian hitched a lift back to the pits on Mansell’s Williams in what proved to be one of the most iconic images in the sport’s history.

Nigel Mansell driving the #5 Canon Williams Renault Williams FW14 Renault V10 gives Ayrton Senna a

Senna famously hitched a lift with Mansell after the latter's victory in 1991

1994 – Hill achieves what his father didn’t

A particularly poignant win at Silverstone happened for Damon Hill in 1994. The race began with some controversy as Michael Schumacher tried to overtake pole-sitter Hill on the formation lap.

Schumacher was handed a stop-go penalty during the Grand Prix, but his failure to serve this resulted in a black flag.

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With his Benetton team stating that there had been a misunderstanding, the black flag was withdrawn and Schumacher was allowed to rejoin the race and serve the stop-go penalty.

He was later disqualified after the event, but the drama during did not prevent Hill from claiming his first – and only – British Grand Prix victory. In doing so, Hill took a win that his father Graham Hill never achieved.

Damon Hill of Great Britain, driver of the #0 Rothmans Williams Renault Williams FW16B Renault V10

Hill claimed his one and only British Grand Prix victory in 1994

1998 – Schumacher wins while serving a stop-go penalty

There was further stop-go controversy for Schumacher in 1998. The German had never won at Silverstone entering into the weekend, and his chances of breaking his duck looked to have taken a hit when title rival Mika Hakkinen claimed pole position ahead of him.

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Rain on the morning of the race resulted in mixed conditions on track. Hakkinen had built up a significant lead over Schumacher during the Grand Prix but, when it was restarted on Lap 50 following a Safety Car period, the Finn’s advantage had been lost.

Schumacher soon clinched the lead but was issued with a stop-go penalty for having earlier overtaken Alexander Wurz under the Safety Car. The Ferrari driver ultimately served this on the final lap, meaning that he crossed the finish line in the pit lane and took victory en route.

12 Jul 1998:  Michael Schumacher of Germany in action in his Ferrari during the British Grand Prix

Schumacher had never won at Silverstone prior to his P1 result in 1998

2008 – Hamilton dazzles in the wet for debut home victory

Lewis Hamilton is statistically the most successful F1 driver at Silverstone, having claimed victory at the track no less than eight times. His first came in particularly memorable fashion in 2008, with the race taking place after hours of heavy rainfall at the circuit. While Hamilton’s McLaren team mate Heikki Kovalainen initially led, Hamilton overtook at Stowe on Lap 5.

READ MORE: Former Ferrari race engineer Rob Smedley predicts whether Hamilton can succeed where Alonso and Vettel didn’t

From there the Briton handled the difficult conditions superbly, with his pace on the intermediate tyres proving unmatchable as he ultimately crossed the line with a staggering 68-second advantage over second-placed Nick Heidfeld.

NORTHAMPTON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 06:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and McLaren Mercedes

Hamilton triumphed in mixed conditions to take his debut Silverstone victory in 2008

2010 – Webber takes a ‘number two driver’ swipe

The first British Grand Prix of the 2010s was notable for hinting at rising tensions in the Red Bull garage. Sebastian Vettel suffered a front wing failure during free practice, and the decision was made to take the team’s new front wing – part of an upgrade brought for the weekend – from Webber’s RB6 to put on Vettel’s car instead.

READ MORE: 5 bold F1 driver moves that paid off – and 5 that didn’t – as Hamilton makes his Ferrari call

This did not seem to go down well with Webber. Vettel started the race from pole position, but it was Webber who went on to claim his third win of the season. The Australian famously remarked over team radio after taking the chequered flag: “Not bad for a number two driver.”

NORTHAMPTON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 11:  Mark Webber (L) of Australia and Red Bull Racing and team

Webber beat Red Bull team mate Vettel to take the win at Silverstone in 2010

2020 – Hamilton wins with a punctured tyre

The start of the 2020 F1 season was delayed due to the onset of the Covid pandemic, and changes to the calendar resulted in Silverstone hosting two races on its 70th anniversary in the sport. The first of these proved to be a dramatic affair in the closing stages for Hamilton, who had led the event from pole position.

READ MORE: ‘If anyone can do it, he can’ – Bottas reacts to Hamilton’s shock Ferrari move and if he can take them to glory

A number of tyre failures began to occur across the field in the final laps, with Hamilton’s Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas amongst those affected. Hamilton was subsequently warned to manage his tyres – before he then suffered a puncture of his own on the last lap.

Having previously built a sizeable lead from second-placed Max Verstappen, the gap narrowed as Hamilton tried to nurse his car to the finish line on three wheels. He incredibly managed to hold on to P1 and clinch his seventh win at Silverstone in the process.

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton drives with a puncture before winning the Formula One

Hamilton dramatically crossed the line with a puncture in 2020

2022 – Sainz claims thrilling first victory

Carlos Sainz lined up in pole position for the first time in his F1 career at the 2022 British Grand Prix. The race started in eventful fashion, with Zhou Guanyu suffering a frightening crash which resulted in the event being red-flagged. Upon the restart, Sainz faced numerous battles from the likes of Verstappen as well as his Ferrari team mate Charles Leclerc.

READ MORE: ‘Not the best feeling’ – Sainz sets out clear 2024 target with Hamilton poised to replace him at Ferrari

As the race entered into its latter stages, a Safety Car prompted a frenetic restart where Sainz faced pressure from the chasing trio of Hamilton, Leclerc and Sergio Perez. While the battle raged on behind – with Perez ultimately claiming second – Sainz kept his cool ahead and crossed the line to seal his debut victory in Formula 1.

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari, portrait celebrating his first victory in F1 podium during the

Sainz clinched a thrilling first win of his F1 career at Silverstone in 2022

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