Five best Formula 1 races at Silverstone ahead of the British GP

Few circuits can boast the same level of rich history as Silverstone and the Formula 1 circus arrives this week earlier than what fans hope will be another classic race.

The sport’s biggest names have lit up the cradle of British motor racing over the years with Michael Schumacher, Nigel Mansell, Rubens Barrichello and of course Lewis Hamilton writing their own chapters in the track’s story.

Here, Sports post takes a trip down memory lane to watch five of the best Formula 1 races at Silverstone.

Lewis Hamilton will try to add another Silverstone win to his tally this weekend

MANSELL’S EPIC CHASE (1987)

Nigel Mansell had to pit for a new set of tires after reporting vibrations on his Williams.

With 30 laps to go, he was the best part of half a minute behind his teammate and fierce rival Nelson Piquet.

The chase seemed impossible, but spurred on by his home crowd, Mansell broke the lap record nine times before overtaking and passing Piquet after a superb move at Stowe with just two laps to go.

The home crowd was euphoric and Mansell responded by jumping out of his Williams and kissing the tarmac.

Piquet had started on pole but Mansell would not be denied and it was his second win in a row at Silverstone.

Nigel Mansell (center) brought in Nelson Piquet in a brilliant performance in 1987

Nigel Mansell (center) brought in Nelson Piquet in a brilliant performance in 1987

There was an extraordinary crowd of 100,000 that day at the iconic venue to witness one of the truly amazing races.

The passing move itself was incredibly dramatic, and Mansell later explained what happened in The Windsor Interviews. He said, “I knew because Nelson wasn’t a mug that I’d have one chance to get past him.

“I had to do the dummy, and I had to be inside, because I knew he was coming right away.

“He came up to us and we touched as we entered Stowe, but he knew he was on the outside so he would come out a lot worse than me. When you make such a move, you must be committed. If you do it half-heartedly, it’s an accident.

“You had to time it perfectly that when he went one way, you had the slipstream to shoot” [the other way], so by the time he looked back, you’re already there.

“When he did and realized I hadn’t gone that way, but I had gone” [the other] he wanted to come right back, but I was already there, and that was the key.

“If I hadn’t been there, he would have locked me up right away.”

Mansell beat the lap record nine times by bringing in his teammate and rival

Mansell beat the lap record nine times by bringing in his teammate and rival

DISQUALIFICATION OF SCHUMACHER, HILLS TRIUMPH (1994)

Michael Schumacher illegally overtook pole-sitter Damon Hill on the parade lap and was assessed a stop-and-go penalty, which he ignored.

A black flag was handed out that should have led to Schumacher’s immediate disqualification. But the German kept riding before serving his previous stop-and-go penalty on lap 27.

Hill went on to score a pivotal victory and received the winner’s trophy from Princess Diana.

Schumacher finished second, but he was disqualified for ignoring the black flag and then given a two-race suspension.

Damon Hill won in 1994 after Michael Schumacher ignored a black flag in the race

Damon Hill won in 1994 after Michael Schumacher ignored a black flag in the race

Schumacher was given a two-race suspension and it was upheld despite an appeal from Benetton

Schumacher was given a two-race suspension and it was upheld despite an appeal from Benetton

The race was part of a controversial season riddled with incidents, mostly involving Schumacher.

Benetton tried in vain to overturn the ban and in the end the German had to miss the Portuguese and Italian GP.

He was also disqualified from Monza because the underbody of his car was too worn.

But after the ban, Schumacher was back on his feet, winning in Mexico and claiming the title in hugely controversial circumstances after colliding with Hill in the final race in Australia.

MORE SCHUMACHER CONTROVERSION (1998)

Four years later, Schumacher was again at the center of controversy after winning the race while standing still in the pit lane.

Mika Hakkinen led from the start, but when the rain fell and conditions deteriorated, the Finn lost control of his McLaren and spun. The safety car was deployed and while Hakkinen remained in the race, he sustained damage to his front wing. His 40 second lead was wiped out and Schumacher looked likely to win.

However, Schumacher had illegally passed Alexander Wurz under a yellow flag, resulting in a stop-and-go penalty.

But the haphazard stewards only announced his penalty with two laps to go.

Schumacher won the race in bizarre conditions from the pit lane in 1998

Schumacher won the race in bizarre conditions from the pit lane in 1998

At the end of the final lap, Schumacher went into the pits to serve his penalty, but he had already crossed the start-finish line and won the race. The bizarre result stood despite McLaren’s protests.

Oddly enough, the finish line stretched across the pit lane, leaving Schumacher with no choice but to cross it.

Hakkinen was furious and rightly so. Schumacher had not served his penalty within the race distance and should have been disqualified.

But Ferrari found a loophole, arguing that the stewards failed to notify them of the penalty within a time limit and the penalty was cancelled.

BRILLIANT BARRICHELLO AND A ‘LUNATIC’ (2003)

Rubens Barrichello took the biggest win of his career in an all-time F1 classic.

The Ferrari driver started from pole but dropped to eighth after a safety car was deployed when a protester stormed the track along the 200mph Hangar Straight.

But Barrichello made his way back through the field before making a great move on McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen on lap 42 to claim the lead and eventual race win.

Barrichello spent much of his Ferrari career in Schumacher’s shadow, but did win nine races, of which Silverstone was the pick.

He qualified in pole position with his teammate well below fifth after the Brazilian went against team advice and went for his own set-up.

The commentators described the protester as a 'crazy'

The commentators described the protester as a ‘crazy’

Despite Barrichello’s brilliance, the race is remembered for the protester. Footage of the incident is still heart-in-mouth stuff with David Coulthard appearing to contemplate and catch up before pulling back when he saw a person in front of him.

The protester was a Catholic priest, Neil Horan. He wore an orange kilt and held up a sign that read “read the Bible” and “the Bible is always right.”

He forced several cars to swerve before being tackled by a flight attendant and dragged to the side of the track. Horan was later given a two-month prison sentence.

HAMILTON WEATHERS THE STORM TO DOMINATE (2008)

Lewis Hamilton arrived at his home race fourth in the drivers’ standings but remained on top after storming to victory in one of his outstanding performances.

In the pouring rain, Hamilton burst into the field, finishing the race nearly 70 seconds ahead of second-placed Nick Heidfeld and driving the entire pack to third.

This was an afternoon of high quality accurate driving that showed Hamilton’s class.

His colleagues turned in all directions, but he made it easy to regain the lead in the world championship race.

Hamilton looked so good that his team feared he would go too fast.

Lewis Hamilton overcame tricky conditions for a remarkable win in the rain in 2008

Lewis Hamilton overcame tricky conditions for a remarkable win in the rain in 2008

He said, ‘Wait a minute, what’s going on? I don’t even push.

“I didn’t want to slow down, because the moment you do, you lose concentration.

‘I had to be really smart. I had to imagine I was 60 seconds ahead and then fell off, and that would have been so embarrassing.

‘You won’t come back from that, then you should retire! It was just about managing it all.”

At one point it rained so hard that Hamilton could barely see through his visor and the mirrors were useless.

He strategically raised his sights at various points on the track, calling it the greatest achievement of his career after the race.

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