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Many talented and deserving drivers never won a Grand Prix while others did so against expectations, albeit just the once. Here are those who mounted the podium’s top-step having rarely shown race winning form before or, for that matter, after their day-of-days. Prevailing circumstances, particularly weather, frequently served them well, which takes nothing from their achievement. Folklore has it that in treacherous conditions, Vittorio Brambilla, ‘The Monza Gorilla’, crossed the line backwards, spinning from the shock of being shown the chequered flag! But as you will appreciate from this bizarre collection, many of these surprise victors were highly deserved, when the best man on the day triumphed… but just that once.

11 Luigi won, but with a little help from his friend
16 Third-string driver victorious
49 A different Luigi, same friend, same result
78 JoBo’s greatest hour
98 Uniquely, first championship race, first win
141 A crew-cut Yank puts Japan on the F1 map
148 A Ferrari-mounted Italian at Monza: Dream result
206 One of three laps in the lead was the right one
212 French Monaco magic in the rain (1)
254 A victory soured by tragedy
262 One of folklore’s favourites
287 Sweden’s third GP winner
483 Crossed the line P2… but won!
587 French Monaco magic in the rain (2)
796 F1’s 100th winner won just the once
Race 863   AUTHOR’S PICK


This time he kept his cool

Surprise Winners? Surely Brambilla or Maldonado, each fast but flawed. It has to be ‘Crashtor’!