Michael Schumacher’s passing attempt on Bruno Senna in Spain was pretty pathetic but it’s not the first time we’ve seen a failed overtaking move in F1. Hakkinen on Schumacher at Spa. Piquet on Senna at the Hungaroring. The Gilles Villeneuve-Rene Arnoux battle at Dijon. No list of overtakes would be complete without them – except this one.
Here we look at ten of the most spectacular failed overtaking manoeuvres in Formula One history. Click below for a brand new Top Ten.
10. Nelson Piquet on Andrea de Cesaris – Monaco 1989
Overtaking at Monaco is tough. Trying to do it at the hairpin is very tough. Many have tried and many have failed – some result in a blocked track, others result in embarrassing post race interviews. My favourite failed attempt at an overtake happened in 1989, when Andrea de Cesaris in the Dallara tried to pass Nelson Piquet’s Lotus. Contact was made and both cars stopped, but instead of trying to rectify the situation the two men sat in their cars and argued with each other, unaware of the traffic jam forming behind them!
9. Ralf Schumacher on Giancarlo Fisichella – Argentina 1997
Taking out your team mate is a huge faux pas, especially if you’re driving for a midfield team on for a good result. At the 1997 Argentine Grand Prix, that’s exactly what Ralf Schumacher did when he put his car in an ever decreasing wedge against his team mate, Giancarlo Fisichella. Fisi was knocked out but Ralf still managed to finish third.
8. Heikki Kovalainen on Mark Webber – Belgium 2008
Knowing when you’re not going to make a pass and have to pull out of it is a crucial skill. It would appear Heikki Kovalainen hadn’t yet developed this skill at Spa in 2008. Coming up to the Bus Stop, he had a look up the inside of Mark Webber. Mark braked later, so surely the move was off? Not for Heikki – he stayed on the inside and ended up taking the Red Bull out.
7. Ralf Schumacher on Juan Pablo Montoya – USA 2002
Oh look, it’s Ralf again! And guess what? He’s botching an overtake on his team mate again! To be fair, Ralf and Montoya collided on more than one occasion whilst team mates and it wasn’t always Ralf’s fault, but this is too amusing. At the 2002 USGP, Montoya slipstreams past Ralf down the outside of the pit straight. Eager to get back past, Ralf has a look down the inside into turn one. Montoya gave him room, but Ralf clipped the inside kerb and span, taking his rear wing off and knocking Montoya off the road. Classy.
6. Riccardo Patrese on Ayrton Senna – Germany 1992
Hockenheim 1992. It’s the last lap and Patrese is trying desperately to give Williams another 1-2 by passing Senna for second place. After some naughty defending by Senna, Patrese finally got alongside going into the stadium section, but got dust on his tyres an spun off. The engine was still running, but in his eagerness to rejoin he booted the throttle to spin back around and get back on the track, but he stalled in the process, couldn’t and ended up classified 8th. Oh dear!
5. Mark Webber on Heikki Kovalainen – Valencia 2010
Never underestimate the speed difference between a race winning car and a brand new team. Valencia 2010, and Mark Webber comes up to pass Kovalainen’s Lotus (That’s the Lotus that were the real Lotus until the actual Lotus came along and claimed they should be called Lotus, so they called themselves Lotus and then Lotus changed their name to something that wasn’t Lotus). Not expecting the Lotus to be so slow at that point on the race track, he spectacularly hit the back of it and flew through the air. It could have been nasty, but thankfully Webber walked away. And it gave a classic piece of Legard commentary.
4. Keke Rosberg on Patrick Tambay – Canada 1985
Keke Rosberg. Surely one of the coolest, most exciting drivers ever seen in Formula 1. Here he is at Montreal in 1985 going for an overtake on one of the Renaults. He clips the grass and spins, but recovers quickly. Keke Rosberg. So awesome even his fails are wins.
3. Sebastian Vettel on Jenson Button – Belgium 2010
In 2010 Sebastian Vettel was still a little rough around the edges, particularly when it came to overtaking. Here we are coming up to the Bus Stop at Spa and he pulls out of Jenson Button’s slipstream, loses the car on the damp surface and slams into the side of the McLaren. Bonus points for managing to T-Bone another car when both were travelling in a straight line. Hard to imagine this is the same guy who successfully completed passes on people around the outside of Blanchimont and Curva Grande!
2. Nigel Mansell on Gerhard Berger – Imola 1990
Imola. 1990. Nigel Mansell is trying to pass Gerhard Berger’s McLaren on the run down to Tosa. However, Gerhard hasn’t seen him and inadvertently forces Mansell onto the grass…at 180mph. Somehow Mansell recovered with a textbook 360 spin, losing hardly any time. No wonder the Tifosi loved him so much!
1. Keke Rosberg on Patrick Tambay (again!) – Long Beach 1983
Yup, it’s our friend Keke again, this time at Long Beach in 1983. It’s the first lap of the race and Rosberg tries to pass Patrick Tambay’s Ferrari to take the lead. Keke locks up under braking and spins, but totally bosses the situation by recovering it, making the corner and not even losing a place. Nico’s got some boots to fill!