McLaren ’50 in 50′: Kimi Raikkonen

While many drivers spend years working their way through single seater championships, such as Formula 3, GP3 and GP2, Kimi Räikkonen (The Iceman) took a much more direct route. He got his debut with Sauber in 2001 with just 23 single seater races under his belt. His signing was met with concern, with many questioning whether he was ready after so few races. Peter Sauber said at the time: “We are taking a risk, but it is a controlled risk. When I see how cool Kimi is approaching Formula One racing, I do not think there is a danger. We know that it will take Kimi time to find his feet in Formula One, once the racing starts, but our expectations of his long-term potential are very high.” And he was right.

Like most drivers, Räikkonen started karting at an early age. In 1999, when fellow Finn Mika Hakkinen was winning his second world championship, Räikkonen was winning the Formula Renault UK Winter series. In 2000 he continued in Formula Renault UK and became champion for Manor Motorsport. In September of that year Räikkonen was granted a test with Sauber at Mugello, completing 29 laps on day one. Further tests in Jerez and Barcelona ensured Räikkonen had completed enough laps to be granted a superlicence, despite his lack of experience. At the 2001 Australian Grand Prix, Räikkonen made his Formula One debut, scoring a point. The story goes that he was asleep 20 minutes before the start of the race and had to be woken up. He finished the year in tenth place with nine points. Räikkonen was quickly signed up by McLaren, to replace the departing Hakkinen, and it was in 2002 he started his five year relationship with the team.

Lining up against experienced team-mate David Coulthard, Räikkonen impressed from the get-go with McLaren. Achieving his first podium at the Australian Grand Prix, he finished the year in sixth place with 24 points. This included podiums at the European, French and Japanese Grand Prix. In 2003 he went head-to-head with Michael Schumacher for the championship. Nine podiums and his first Formula One victory put him in a good position, but ultimately poor reliability cost him and he ended the year two points shy of Schumacher’s points tally. 2004 produced a mixed bag of results and he ended the year in seventh place. In 2005 Räikkonen was back in contention for the world championship but again reliability problems cost him. Seven wins and five further podiums were his reward, when the car made it to the end of the race, but he still finished 21 points behind Fernando Alonso. 2006 proved to be Räikkonen’s last year with McLaren. It was a season with no wins for the team, but he took six podiums. He departed for Ferrari in 2007 where he became champion.

Räikkonen left McLaren with nine wins – joint fifth in McLaren’s all time wins list, ironically with his favourite driver James Hunt. He also left the team with 26 podiums. Räikkonen has established himself in Formula One as quite a character. The story of him being asleep 20 minutes before his first race gives an insight into him. Reports of his karting career describe his steering wheel breaking in the middle of a race, but him continuing. In 2006, when Schumacher was receiving a presentation from football legend Pele on the grid in Brazil, Räikkonen reported to Martin Brundle at ITV that he missed it because he was “having a shit”. Räikkonen has always been one for saying it as it is. If he retires from a race because of a mechanical problem, his explanation will usually never be more than “the car was broken”. He has won an allegiance of fans for telling it as it is. Winning his first title in 2007, and challenging since his return with Lotus, Peter Sauber has been proven right by taking a risk on Räikkonen!

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McLaren ’50 in 50′: History in Japan

McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Sergio Perez will line up tenth and eleventh for the Japanese Grand Prix. The race first made its Formula One World Championship debut in 1976 but was not held between 1978 and 1986 (inclusive). It rejoined the calendar in 1987, meaning this year will be its 29th running. McLaren are the most successful constructor at the race, with nine wins – two more than Ferrari. They also have more podiums than any other constructors – 25 in total.

James Hunt (1977 – Fuji)

The James Hunt/Niki Lauda 1976 rivalry came to a head in Fuji, with the Japanese Grand Prix staging the last race of the season – the title decider. The weather condiitons were treacherous and Lauda made the decision to retire to the pits during the race due to safety concerns. Hunt was in the lead of the race but, as the track started to dry, he started losing positions and slipped to third place. It was enough to win him the championship and in 1977 he went two places better, winning the race ahead of Carlos Reutemann and Patrick Depallier. He built up a dominating lead of over a minute and was not challenged after taking the lead from pole sitter Mario Andretti.

Ayrton Senna (1988 & 1993 – Suzuka)

After a nine year hiatus, the Japanese Grand Prix returned in 1987 at Suzuka. Ayrton Senna was the first McLaren driver to win there when he did so in 1988. He won it for a second time five years later. It played host to another title showdown in 1988 this time between team-mates Senna and Alain Prost. Senna out-qualified Prost and the pair both lined up on the front-row. It was a race where Senna was forced to prove himself by driving through the field. He stalled on the grid but, due to the hilly nature of the starting grid, he got the car going but had dropped right down the order. In order to win the race he needed a win and with his team-mate in the lead it looked like Prost could be becoming champion. Prost battled with Ivan Capelli before eventually succombing to Senna’s attack, as he nurseda gearbox problem. Senna headed a McLaren 1-2, with Theirry Boutsen in third, subsequently becoming champion. The 1993 race was a different story – it was not the title decider, with Prost already having it wrapped up. It was also common knowledge that Senna would be leaving McLaren to join Williams at the end of the year. Senna started second on the grid, behind Prost, and briefly took the race lead. When the rain fell and drivers had to take on wet tyres, Senna had the better pit-stop and emerged in the lead. He spent the rest of the race battling with Prost but kept the lead and went on to win ahead of the Frenchman. Future McLaren driver Mika Hakkinen finished in third.

Gerhard Berger (1991 – Suzuka) 

Gerhard Berger is a two-time Japanese Grand Prix winner, although only one – his second – was for McLaren. He started the race from third place, with team-mate Ayrton Senna on pole and Nigel Mansell second. Berger took the lead at the start and pulled out a gap. With Mansell needing a race victory to stay in championship contention, Berger being in the lead was doing his team-mate a favour. Senna re-took the race lead on lap 18 and he and Berger continued trading fastest laps as they established themselves at the front. Towards the end of the race Berger started to develop an engine misfire and dropped back from Senna. However, due to a gentleman’s agreement between the pair, Senna let Berger through to take his first McLaren victory. Senna still won the world championship.

Mika Hakkinen (1998 & 1999 – Suzuka)

By the late 90s, when Mika Hakkinen was on the way to his two world championships, the Japanese Grand Prix was still hosting the last race of the season. It was once again host to a decider in 1998 when it came down to Michael Schumacher V Hakkinen. Schumacher took first blood in qualifying when he secured pole by a tenth of a second. Jarno Trulli stalled on the grid causing the first start to be aborted. On the second attempt Schumacher stalled and suddenly Hakkinen saw his title challenger drop to the back of the grid. Hakkinen led the field away on the third attempt and built up a solid lead while Schumacher charged through the field. Unfortunately for the German, one of his tyres exploded after contact with debris, causing him to retire. Hakkinen went on to win the race (and championship) finishing ahead of Eddie Irvine and David Coulthard. Another showdown faced Hakkinen in 1999 – this time with Eddie Irvine, who had a four point advantage over the Finn going to Japan. Hakkinen qualified second, behind Schumacher, with Coulthard and Heinz-Harald Frentzen slotting between the Finn and his rival in fifth. Hakkinen took the lead at the start and pulled away, driving a faultless race to beat Schumacher and Irvine to the lead. Ferrari took the constructors’ championship but Hakkinen retained his drivers’ title by two points.

Kimi Raikkonen (2005 – Suzuka)

After a string of Ferrari wins in Japan, Kimi Raikkonen took a dramatic last lap lead in the 2005 race to put McLaren back on the Japanese Grand Prix winners list. Rain mixed up qualifying with Ralf Schumacher starting from pole position while the likes of Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, and Raikkonen started right down the order – 17th in Raikkonen’s case. It was warm and sunny on race day. Raikkonen lost out after making a mistake and running wide early on but an early safety car, thanks to his team-mate’s escapades, closed the order up and Raikkonen had the restart to regain positions. He stormed through the field and with just a handful of laps remaining he was right up with race leader Fisichella. He had a couple of laps following the Renault, with backmarkers getting into the mix. The McLaren driver enjoyed a tow from the Renault and closed right up at the final chicane. He eventually passed him on the final lap and went on to win the race with a one and a half second advantage. Alonso finished a distant third.

Lewis Hamilton (2007 – Fuji)

When Formula One returned to Fuji in 2007, it was Lewis Hamilton who conquered the wet conditions to win the race. Hamilton went into the race weekend with a slim two point advantage over his team-mate, which was extended due to Fernando Alonso crashing out. Hamilton qualified on pole and led the field behind the safety car, which the race was started behind due to the weather. It stayed out until lap 19 and they finally got racing. While a number of drivers crashed out, Hamilton kept it on track to take another race win, by eight seconds. Heikki Kovalainen got his first podium position in Formula One when he finished second for Renault, with eventual world champion Kimi Raikkonen in third place.

Jenson Button (2011 – Suzuka)

The Japanese Grand Prix remained in Fuji for 2008 but returned to Suzuka for 2009. Sebastian Vettel took another pole position but it was McLaren’s Jenson Button who took victory. Button made a quick start and tried to pass Vettel, but was squeezed off the track and subsequently lost a position to his team-mate. Button looked after his tyres and closed in on Vettel at the end of the first stint and when Vettel pitted, Button stayed out longer. His quick in-lap coupled with a fast stop from McLaren saw Button emerge in the lead. After a safety car period, Button stayed out longer again when Vettel pitted and increased his advantage. In the closing stages of the race Fernando Alonso started to gain on the McLaren but Button won with a one second advantage. Vettel eventually finished third.

McLaren ’50 in 50′: History in Canada

McLaren have won the Canadian Grand Prix 13 times, the most of any team in the Formula One World Championship. They are tied overall on wins with Ferrari, but two of Ferrari’s victories were before the race was part of the official championship. McLaren have won the race at Mont-Tremblant, Mosport Park and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (where the race currently takes place). McLaren have also been successful at Mosport in the Can-Am series.

Denny Hulme (1968 – Mont-Tremblant)

This was the McLaren team’s third ever victory in Formula One, following Bruce McLaren’s win in Belgium and Denny Hulme’s Italian Grand Prix win. He took back-to-back victories when he won the next race as well – the Canadian Grand Prix. Hulme started in sixth place for the race with Dan Gurney, who was running in a third McLaren, the best placed for the team in fourth. Bruce himself qualified tenth. There were a number of retirements in the race including pole-sitter Jochen Rindt, championship leader Graham Hill, and Ferrari’s Chris Amon. Hulme went on to win ahead of Bruce McLaren. The result meant that Hulme moved level on points with Hill with just two races left in the championship. He ultimately finished in third place after two retirements, finishing 15 points behind Hill.

Peter Revson (1973 – Mosport Park)

McLaren’s next win in Canada came at Mosport Park with American Peter Revson at the wheel. The drivers’ championship had already been wrapped up by Jackie Stewart in Italy. Pole position was secured by Ronnie Peterson with Revson alongside him on the front row. Race day was wet and Revson lost out at the start, dropping behidn Peterson, Jody Scheckter, Niki Lauda, Emerson Fittipaldi, Stewart, and Carlos Reutemann. Peterson crashed out on lap 17 after fighting with Scheckter for second, after Lauda had taken the lead. A collision between Francois Cevert and Scheckter proved to be a lucky moment for Revson as the safety car was deployed and confusion reigned. It failed to pick up the leaders and resulted in Jackie Oliver taking the lead with Revson second and Jean-Pierre Beltoise third. In the end Revson made use of his more competitive car to take the lead and eventual victory, leading home Fittipaldi and Oliver.

Emerson Fittipaldi (1974 – Mosport Park)

It was another win at Mosport Park for McLaren in 1974, although under more normal conditions than the confusion of 1973. Emerson Fittipaldi took pole position but lost the lead at the start to Niki Lauda. Jody Scheckter, who ran third in the first half of the race, crashed just over halfway through after brake failure. Lauda also retired from the race after running over debris and this resulted in a win for Fittipaldi who had been in second. This proved crucial as, after finishing fourth at Watkins Glen two weeks later, he was crowned world champion by just three points – his Canadian victory giving him a point advantage going into the last race.

James Hunt (1976 – Mosport Park)

The race was not held in 1975 but when it returned to the calendar in 1976, James Hunt completed a hat-trick of victories for McLaren at Mosport Park. Hunt secured pole position by three tenths from Ronnie Peterson. Main championship rival Niki Lauda started in sixth place. Peterson took the lead early on but Hunt soon retook it and he continued to lead until the end, winning the race six seconds clear of Patrick Depallier and Mario Andretti. Lauda finished outside the points and Hunt closed the gap. He went on to win the championship by just one point.

Ayrton Senna (1988 & 1990 – Circuit Gilles Villeneuve)

McLaren did not win again in Canada until over ten years after James Hunt’s victory. By this stage the race now had a new location – Montreal and the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve – and Ayrton Senna took the win in 1988 and 1990. The race was fifth on the calendar and Senna went into it off the back of two podium finishes, a DNF and a disqualification. Senna out-qualified team-mate Alain Prost by a tenth of a second. Prost took the lead at the start of the race and Senna sat behind him until lap 19 when he took the lead back. He was never challenged and went on to win ahead of Prost and Thierry Boutsen. Senna repeated the victory in 1990 again taking pole position ahead of his team-mate, who this time was Gerhard Berger who jumped the start and picked up a time penalty. Senna retained his lead this time and won ahead of fellow Brazilian Nelson Piquet and Ferrari’s Nigel Mansell.

Gerhard Berger (1992 – Circuit Gilles Villeneuve)

After a disappointing result in 1990, where he was penalised for a jump start, Berger got the better of his team-mate in 1992 when he won the race. Ayrton Senna started the race from pole position with Berger lining up in fourth. Senna retained the lead and Berger got caught up in a train of cars behind Riccardo Patrese. When Berger got free he wasted no time in chasing Senna. The Brazilian, however, would soon retire from the race with a gearbox problem giving the lead and win to Berger. Michael Schumacher finished in second place and Jean Alesi in third.

Mika Hakkinen (1999 – Circuit Gilles Villeneuve)

Mika Hakkinen won the Canadian Grand Prix en route to his second world championship. Michael Schumacher took pole position by just 2 hundreths of a second from Hakkinen. There were two safety cars during the race and following the second Hakkinen put pressure on his Ferrari rival. Schumacher made an uncharacteristic mistake and hit the wall on the exit of the final chicane. Ricardo Zonta and Damon Hill had already hit it earlier in the race and this contributed to it picking up its name – the Wall of Champions. Hakkinen kept his car on track and went on to win ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella and Eddie Irvine. Hakkinen’s McLaren team-mate David Coulthard finished just outside the points in seventh.

Kimi Raikkonen (2005 – Circuit Gilles Villeneuve)

After a five year Schumacher domination in Canada (one win for Ralf and four for Michael), Kimi Raikkonen got McLaren back to winning ways at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Jenson Button took a shock pole for BAR-Honda, with Michael Schumacher lining up alongside. Kimi Raikkonen qualified down in seventh place with his team-mate, Juan Pablo Montoya, taking fifth. The front row made a poor start which allowed both Renault drivers – championship contender Fernando Alonso and his team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella – to take advantage and move into first and second. On lap 33, Fisichella retired with hydraulics problems and Alonso also retired, although his was after an accident which broke his suspension. Another crash, this time by Button, resulted in a safety car and Raikkonen took the lead. His team-mate was eventually disqualified for ignoring red lights at the end of the pit-lane. Schumacher finished second with Rubens Barrichello in third.

Lewis Hamilton (2007, 2010 & 2012 – Circuit Gilles Villeneuve)

Lewis Hamilton is McLaren’s most successful driver at the Canadian Grand Prix. It was the scene of his first ever Grand Prix victory back in his rookie year of 2007. He started the weekend leading team-mate Fernando Alonso in a McLaren front-row lock-out (also his first pole position). It was a race of two halves for McLaren – Hamilton dominated out front, successfully navigating four safety cars, while on the other side Alonso had a race strewn with mistakes, topped off by being overtaken by a Super Aguri. Nick Heidfeld and Alexander Wurz completed the podium positions. Hamilton retired from the race in 2008 and it was not held in 2009, but he returned to winning ways in 2010. He once again started from pole and led home a McLaren 1-2, with new team-mate Jenson Button finishing second. Alonso completed the podium. Hamilton retired again in 2011, after contact with his team-mate, but won the 2012 edition of the race. He qualified second to Sebastian Vettel, who finished fourth. Hamilton became the seventh different winner in as many races when he won the 2012 Canadian Grand Prix, finishing ahead of Romain Grosjean and future McLaren driver Sergio Perez.

Jenson Button (2011 – Circuit Gilles Villeneuve)

Jenson Button went through the ringer on his way to victory at the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix. To start with he started in seventh place and with heavy rain on race day he faced a difficult fight through if he wanted a podium. Early on he made contact with team-mate Lewis Hamilton as the latter tried to pull off an overtake. Both were investigated for their speed behind the safety car and, after Hamilton retired, Button was given a drive through penalty, dropping him right down the order. The race was suspended due to the weather and Button found himself in tenth – worse than his starting spot. After the restart Button made contact with Fernando Alonso which led to front wing damage and another pit-stop, dropping him down to last. After six pit-stops (!), a drive through penalty, and dropping to last at least twice, Button overcame it all to charge Sebastian Vettel down in the closing stages. An uncharacteristic mistake from an under pressure Vettel gave Button his opportunity and he took the lead on the last lap, going on to take a well deserved victory!

McLaren ’50 in 50′: History in America

The McLaren team have a long and successful history in the United States of America, not just in Formula One but also Can-Am and the Indianapolis 500.

Can-Am 1967-1972

The Canadian-American Challenge Cup (Can-Am) was a sports car series that ran from 1966 to 1986. McLaren contested it from 1967 until 1972 and proved to be highly successful. Bruce McLaren himself drove in the championship until his untimely death in 1970. McLaren Formula One drivers Denny Hulme, Peter Revson, Dan Gurney and Peter Gethin also contributed to the success. Races were held at a number of circuits in the USA and Canada including Mosport, Laguna Seca, Watkins Glen and Elkhart Lake. In 1967 the M6A, piloted by McLaren and Hulme, won the championship with five out of six victories. McLaren was the champion with Hulme in second. In one race, at Laguna Seca, McLaren managed to lap the entire field on his way to victory. In 1968 the positions were reversed as Hulme took the championship with McLaren in second. In 1969 the M8B won the McLaren team a third championship in a row with McLaren champion ahead of Hulme again. The championship was often referred to as the Bruce and Denny show due to their domination over the years. After Bruce’s tragic death while testing the M8D, the team chose to persevere to get the car prepared for the Can-Am championship, knowing it would have been what he had wanted. Hulme once again drove for the team, at first being partnered by Gurney and then by Gethin. It was a dominating season for the team as they took another championship and seven out of eight victories – the perfect tribute to Bruce. A fifth and final title was waiting for the team in 1971. Seven out of nine victories and Revson finishing first in the championship with Hulme in second. 1972 was a disappointing season in comparison with the team finishing behind Team Penske. Following 1972, McLaren pulled out of the Can-Am championship.

Indianapolis 500

The Indianapolis 500 has been running for well over 100 years. It is an annual event held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and is seen as being highly prestigious. McLaren have won the race as constructors on three occasions – 1972, 1974 and 1976. Mark Donohue won it for Roger Penske Enterprises (with a McLaren chassis and an Offenhauser engine), in 1972. He had finished second in 1971 but went one better the following year. He only led the final 13 laps out of 200. Next up was Johnny Rutherford at the wheel of a Bruce McLaren Motor Racing car. He started 25th and led 123 of 200 laps. He had tried, but failed, to win the Indy 500 on ten previous occasions. He won it again for the team in 1976, this time starting on pole position. The race was halted due to rain and after it was restarted the decision was made to stop it completely and Rutherford was classified the winner after 102 racing laps.

Formula One

After Monaco, Belgium and the British Grand Prix, McLaren’s next most successful race is the US Grand Prix (in its many guises). Under the title of the US Grand Prix, McLaren have won on eight occasions and are the joint second most successful constructor there – behind Ferrari and tied with Lotus. McLaren’s most recent win in America was at the inaugural Austin Grand Prix in 2012 when Lewis Hamilton took his final race win for the team. They also won the 1976 and 1977 races at Watkins Glen (with James Hunt taking victory); all three races in Phoenix (Alain Prost 1989 & Ayrton Senna 1990 and 1991); as well as twice at Indianapolis (Mika Hakkinen in 2001 & Hamilton 2007). Other victories in America, at races that did not take the title of ‘US GP’ include two in 1982 – Niki Lauda in Long Beach (aka the USA West Grand Prix) and John Watson in Detroit (aka the USA East Grand Prix). Watson also won the 1983 race at Long Beach. In 1988 Senna won in Detroit. This brings their total of Formula One victories in the USA to 12. Coincidentally, it is 39 years to the day that Emerson Fittipaldi won McLaren’s first ever championship at Watkins Glen.

McLaren ’50 in 50′: History in Britain

The British Grand Prix, McLaren’s home race, is another one that they have been hugely successful at in the past. Winning at both Brands Hatch and Silverstone, McLaren’s 14 British Grand Prix victories place them behind Ferrari, who have won it 15 times. McLaren’s British Grand Prix wins range from Peter Revson’s 1973 win through to 2008, when Lewis Hamilton took to the top step of the podium.

Peter Revson (1973 – Silverstone)

Peter Revson came through the incident-packed 1973 British Grand Prix to take McLaren’s first win there. The team had brought a third car to the race to give Jody Scheckter his Formula One debut. Regular McLaren drivers Revson and Denny Hulme qualified well but were out-done for pole position by Ronnie Peterson. Jackie Stewart took the lead on the first lap, but further back all hell broke loose. Scheckter tried to pass team-mate Hulme, but ran wide onto the grass, before coming back across the track and hitting the wall on the other side. No less than eight other cars got caught up and miraculously there was only one serious accident – a broken leg for Andrea de Adamich. It took the marshalls and medical team half an hour to cut him free from his car, and after an hour and a half the race was restarted, with Peterson taking back the lead. A rain shower allowed Revson to take advantage and he went on to win nearly three seconds clear of Peterson.  Hulme was also on the podium for McLaren.

Emerson Fittipaldi (1975 – Silverstone)

McLaren won the British Grand Prix again, this time at a modified Silverstone, two years later. This time world champion Emerson Fittipaldi was at the wheel. He had already won the British Grand Prix, albeit at Brands Hatch, in 1972. Tom Pryce started on pole position with Fittipaldi down in seventh while team-mate Jochen Mass lined up tenth. At the start Carlos Pace took the lead followed through by Clay Regazzoni and Niki Lauda. As can be expected at the British Grand Prix, rain made an appearance and mixed up the order. A number of drivers pitted for wet tyres, but Fittipaldi was amongst a number of drivers who chose to stay on slicks. This proved to be the right call as the rain eased off and the track started to come back to the dry tyres. James Hunt initially took the lead but, after an engine problem, it went to Fittipaldi. The rain soon returned, however, and a number of drivers slid off the track including Pace, Jody Scheckter, Hunt and Emerson’s brother Wilson Fittipaldi. The race was red flagged and Emerson Fittipaldi was declared the winner. The rest of the order was determined by positions on the previous lap, meaning Pace was classified second with Scheckter third.

James Hunt (1977 – Silverstone)

Another two year wait resulted in McLaren’s third British Grand Prix victory, and this time with a Brit behind the wheel of their car. Hunt lined up on the front row alongside fellow British driver (and future McLaren driver) John Watson who was driving for Brabham. Hunt did not make the best of starts and dropped behind Watson, Niki Lauda and Jody Scheckter. By the seventh lap, however, he was up into third place. After out-braking Lauda for second, it was just Watson standing between Hunt and his first British Grand Prix victory.  A fuel problem for Watson undid all his good work as he was forced to pit for more fuel, giving Hunt the lead as a result. The McLaren driver went on to win the race ahead of Lauda in second and Gunnar Nilsson who finished third for Lotus.

John Watson (1981 – Silverstone)

Following his disappointment in 1977, John Watson won the British Grand Prix in 1981 while driving for McLaren. The Northern Irishman was the only Brit in the field, making his win even more special. Nigel Mansell, Brian Henton and Derek Warwick had failed to qualify. Watson and team-mate Andrea de Cesaris qualified in fifth and sixth for the race. It was a story of failures for a number of drivers. Alan Jones got taken out by a spinning Gilles Villeneuve, de Cesaris had a heavy crash with the barriers, and Nelson Piquet’s tyre exploded. Later on the engine in Didier Pironi’s Ferrari gave up as did Alain Prost’s a few laps later. By this stage Watson was now second with just Rene Arnoux ahead of him. His engine started to give up on him in the closing stages of the race, allowing Watson to close up and overtake to take the lead. He finished 40 seconds clear of second placed man Carlos Reutemann, and Jacques Laffite was a lap down in third.

Niki Lauda (1982 – Brands Hatch)

McLaren’s only British Grand Prix victory away from Silverstone was provided by Niki Lauda, when the won the race when it was held at Brands Hatch. It was also the first time that the team had won the race two years in a row. Keke Rosberg had taken pole position for Williams but stalled on the grid before the parade lap. Riccardo Patrese became the pole man but he too had problems getting away and was collected by Rene Arnoux off the line. Lauda, who had started fifth for McLaren, was already up to second therefore in the early stages of the race. Lauda took the lead of the race on lap ten when Nelson Piquet was forced to retire with a fuel injection problem. He led the race from there and finished a comfortable 25 seconds clear of Didier Pironi and 38 ahead of Patrick Tambay.

Alain Prost (1985, 1989 – Silverstone)

The first driver to win the British Grand Prix more than once for McLaren was the highly successful Alain Prost. He won the race five times in total – twice for McLaren, and once for Renault, Ferrari and Williams. Keke Rosberg was once again on pole, becoming the first man to complete a 160mph lap of Silverstone. Prost started the race from third place alongside Ayrton Senna, who made a lightning start to take the lead at the start. Later on in the race Senna and Prost were locked in a tight battle for the race win. With just 12 laps to go, Senna’s engine started playing up, and with eight laps remaining Prost took the lead. Senna soon had the place back but again Prost overtook him. Senna then, unfortunately for him, retired from the race due to running out of fuel. Prost finished a lap up on Michele Alboreto in second and Jacques Laffite in third. Prost won the race again in 1989, having started the race just behind his team-mate Senna who took pole. Senna spun out of the lead and Prost went onto win after a close battle.

Ayrton Senna (1988 – Silverstone)

Ayrton Senna won the British Grand Prix in 1988 in adverse weather conditions. Gerhard Berger qualified his Ferrari on pole position, with team-mate Michele Alboreto alongside him. Senna started the race from third, just ahead of his McLaren team-mate Alain Prost in fourth. Senna got himself into second at the start, just behind Berger and by lap 13 he was in the lead. He put in a wet masterclass which included lapping his team-mate by as early as lap 25. While others faltered because of accidents or mechanical failures, Senna put in a dominant performance to win the race and be over 20 seconds clear of second placed Nigel Mansell at the flag. Third was Alessandro Nannini in his Benetton, who was over 50 seconds back on the race winner.

David Coulthard (1999, 2000 – Silverstone)

Following Alain Prost’s win in 1989, McLaren had to wait ten years for their next home victory. This time it was David Coulthard who won it. Coulthard qualified third for the race, behind team-mate Mika Hakkinen and his main championship rival Michael Schumacher. Schumacher’s poor start allowed Coulthard to pass him along with Eddie Irvine, Schumacher’s Ferrari team-mate. It was while trying to regain positions that Schumacher had his infamous crash in which he broke his leg, and this led to the race being red flagged. At the restart, Coulthard lost out to Irvine while his team-mate continued to lead. During pit-stops Irvine was held up and Hakkinen’s wheel became loose. The Finn later retired due to safety issues. Coulthard went on to win the race, his first victory of the year and at home, ahead of Irvine and Ralf Schumacher. He would repeat the feat just a year later. Rubens Barrichello secured pole position in a wet/dry qualifying with Coulthard starting the race in fourth. He passed his team-mate early on and fought with Barrichello, who was fighting a hydraulics problem, for the lead. In the end it was a McLaren 1-2, with Coulthard ahead of Hakkinen. Schumacher ended up finishing in third place with Barrichello’s car succumbing to its problems and retiring just over half way through.

Mika Hakkinen (2001 – Silverstone)

After retiring from the race in 1999, and being beaten by his team-mate in 2000, it was Mika Hakkinen’s turn to win in 2001. It was also McLaren’s third victory on the trot at Silverstone. Michael Schumacher took pole but was only under a tenth of a second faster than Hakkinen. Due to differing strategies – Schumacher trying a one-stop, with Hakkinen on a two – the Finn was able to catch and overtake the Ferrari early on in the race, and build up an advantage as well. He lost the lead after his first stop to Juan Pablo Montoya, but soon passed him again and by the end of the race he had a dominating half a minute advantage over Schumacher, and even more over Rubens Barrichello.

Juan Pablo Montoya (2005 – Silverstone)

Champion elect Fernando Alonso started the 2005 British Grand Prix from pole position, but it was McLaren’s Juan Pablo Montoya who won. Montoya’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen had qualified just 0.027s down on the Renault driver but received a 10 place grid drop for an engine change. This promoted Montoya to third on the grid, behind Honda’s Jenson Button and the pole-sitter. Montoya passed Button at the start and set about chasing Alonso. He took the lead on the opening lap but a safety car was quickly deployed as Takuma Sato had stalled on the grid and his car was being moved away. At the restart Montoya maintained his lead and started to pull away. Montoya was the first to stop of the two of them, but Alonso pitted just a lap later. Alonso got caught up in traffic as Montoya pitted for the second time, and after they were both out on track, it was advantage Montoya. Alonso put up a fight but in the end the McLaren driver won by nearly three seconds, with Raikkonen completing a double podium for McLaren in third.

Lewis Hamilton (2008 – Silverstone)

McLaren’s last win at Silverstone came back in 2008, when Lewis Hamilton won en route to his world championship. McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen qualified on pole position by over half a second with Hamilton lining up in fourth. It was a wet race day and Hamilton had a storming start to get into second and challenging his team-mate by the end of the first lap. Kovalainen held him off until lap five when he eventually got through. While other drivers had problems keeping their cars on the track, Hamilton had a dominating drive up at the front. When he crossed the line to win the race he was over a second clear of Nick Heidfeld in second and nearly a minute and a half ahead of Rubens Barrichello. Last year fans voted Hamilton’s race win as their favourite McLaren British Grand Prix moment!

McLaren ’50 in 50′: Jochen Mass

Jochen Mass is a German driver who drove for McLaren in the 70s. Referred to as “Hermann the German” by the team, and his team-mate James Hunt, Mass took his one and only Formula One victory for McLaren. He is one of their 11 non-championship winning (for McLaren) race winners.

Mass entered Formula One in 1973, driving for Team Surtees. He had spent the previous years racing in the European Touring Car Championship before enjoying success in F2. He was promoted to a F1 race seat for the British Grand Prix, also appearing at his home race in Germany (finishing seventh) and the US Grand Prix which he did not finish. The following year he was entered in a full season for the team and his best finish of the year was seventh at the season ending US Grand Prix, which he drove for the Yardley McLaren team. He was signed up with McLaren for the 1975 season to partner Emerson Fittipaldi and it was that year he won his first race. The Spanish Grand Prix, in which half points were awarded due to a crash involving Rolf Stommelen’s which saw four spectators killed. He also took three podium positions (third at the South African, French and US Grand Prix) and ended the year in eighth place with 20 points.

He remained with McLaren for two further seasons, when he secured four podiums and finished in the points in 16 of 33 races he entered. He was unable, however, to match up to new team-mate James Hunt’s performance and he was replaced by Patrick Tambay for 1978. His Formula One career lasted four further seasons but he did not enjoy the same success he had experienced at McLaren.

McLaren ’50 in 50′: Winners

In its 47 year history of racing in Formula One, McLaren have seen a number of drivers come and go. They have won 182 races in total – from team founder Bruce McLaren’s 1968 Belgian Grand Prix victory to Lewis Hamilton’s 2012 US Grand Prix win. This makes them the most successful team in F1 since they joined the sport in 1966. Through its history, 19 of their drivers have won races for them, with seven going on to win championships. Here is a brief look at who has won for them and how many victories (from most to fewest).

1. Ayrton Senna (World Champion for McLaren in ’90 & ’91)
Senna won 35 races for McLaren over six seasons.

2. Alain Prost (World Champion for McLaren in ’89)
Prost won 31 races for McLaren over seven seasons.

3. Lewis Hamilton (World Champion for McLaren in ’08)
Hamilton won 21 races for McLaren over six seasons.

4. Mika Hakkinen (World Champion for McLaren in ’98 & ’99)
Hakkinen won 20 races for McLaren over nine seasons.

5. David Coulthard
Coulthard won 12 races for McLaren over nine seasons.

6. James Hunt (World Champion for McLaren in ’76)
Hunt won nine races for McLaren over three seasons

= Kimi Räikkönen
Räikkönen won nine races for McLaren over five seasons

8. Nika Lauda (World Champion for McLaren in ’84)
Lauda won eight races for McLaren over four seasons

= Jenson Button
Button has won eight races for McLaren over four seasons (including 2013)

10. Denny Hulme
Hulme won six races for McLaren over seven seasons

11. Emerson Fittipaldi (World Champion for McLaren in ’74)
Fittipaldi won five races for McLaren over two seasons.

12. John Watson
Watson won four races for McLaren over six seasons.

= Fernando Alonso
Alonso won four races for McLaren in one season.

14. Gerhard Berger
Berger won three races for McLaren over three seasons.

15. Peter Revson
Revson won two races for McLaren over two seasons.

= Juan Pablo Montoya
Montoya won two races for McLaren over two seasons.

17. Bruce McLaren
McLaren won one race for his own team over five seasons.

= Jochen Mass
Mass won one race for McLaren over four seasons

= Heikki Kovalainen
Kovalainen won one race for McLaren over two seasons.

As mentioned above, Hamilton was the most recent race winner for the team after his victory at the first US Grand Prix in Austin. Button is the most recent new race winner for the team and he is still there.