Home Heroes


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There have been 31 drivers who have won their home Grand Prix (not including European GPs). And they won these races...:

SOUTH AFRICAN GRAND PRIX (1) (Jody Scheckter 1975)
South Africa only had one winner in F1, namely Jody Scheckter. His first two attempts at Kyalami saw no points scored, but he got past Carlos Pace early at Kyalami in 1975 to take his first and only win there. He would take 2nd places there for both Wolf and Ferrari.

AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX (1) (Niki Lauda 1984)
Niki Lauda's debut came in Austria in 1971. He first sat on pole at home in 1974, repeating that pole on his next two attempts in 1975 and 1977. But though he finished 2nd in 1977, his home win looked gone by his retirement. Of course, he came back for 1982. It was in his Championship year of 1984, however, that he took advantage of team-mate Prost's retirement to take the fight to, and beat, Nelson Piquet's Brabham to take a long awaited first Austrian Austria win.

CANADIAN GRAND PRIX (1) (Gilles Villeneuve 1978)
Jacques Villeneuve failed to win the Canadian Grand Prix at the Ile-Notre-Dame, at a circuit then called the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. In part, this renaming is due to the fact that Montreal's first Canadian Grand Prix was won by Ferrari's home-town hero in 1978. It was Jean-Pierre Jarier who led from pole until his retirement with an oil leak. Villeneuve would finish twice more on the podium, with a 5th placed finish from grid 22nd the other result, but 1978 sealed his Canadian heroism. His, and their, first win. At home.

UNITED STATES (WEST) GRAND PRIX (1) (Mario Andretti 1977)
As usual excluding the Indy 500, the various categories of American race were only once won by an American. And it had to be Mario Andretti. Introducing the Lotus 78 to the world at Long Beach, Andretti trailed Jody Scheckter's Wolf for most of the race, but a deflated tyre saw the South African down to third, just ahead of Lauda. It probably explains America's F1 malaise that this is the only American win stateside!

SPANISH GRAND PRIX (2) (Fernando Alonso 2006, 13)
Fernando Alonso's first great show of strength as an F1 driver came at Barcelona when trading times with the great Michael Schumacher in a losing cause in 2003. Three years later, Schumi had defeated Alonso in two races in a row before Renault turned up at Barcelona and turned out to be, at the time, quicker than the Scuderia. Schumi got past Fisichella's car in the pits, but not Alonso's. Seven years later, and tyre degredation saw Mercedes collapse from the front row, with Red Bull faring better. But not as well as Ferrari and Lotus. Alonso was the quicker of the three drivers from those teams who survived lap one, and thus claimed a second Spanish GP win ahead of Raikkonen and Massa.

ARGENTINIAN GRAND PRIX (4) (Juan Manuel Fangio 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957)
Fangio retired from the 1953 Argentinian GP, trailing the powerful F2-rules Ferrari of Ascari, from transmission failure. In 1958, his last race saw his Maserati gobbled up by Cooper and Ferrari. The four in between, however, saw four wins. One of them was in Luigi Musso's shared car, in which he came from 5th to beat Jean Behra for the win in 1956. Carlos Reutemann would never add to that tally, preferring his wins in Brazil...

ITALIAN GRAND PRIX (4) (Guiseppe Farina 1950, Alberto Ascari 1951, 1952, Ludovicio Scarfiotti 1966)
When Fangio retired at Monza in 1950, it left a battle between Nino Farina and Luigi Fagioli in the remaining Alfas that Farina wasn't going to lose. Ascari's (shared) Ferrari actually split the two Alfas. By the next year, Ferrari were challenging Alfa, and Fangio's retirement came behind the two leading Ferraris of Ascari and Gonzalez, with the Italian coming out on top. With Alfa and Fangio gone for 1952, Gonzalez (for Maserati) provided an unusual challenge to Ferrari dominance that year, but it was to no avail. As with all things on the Italian driver front, the early 1950s provided the high water mark, but there was one last tidal wave, in 1966. With Lotus nowhere and Jack Brabham retired, the field was opened up for a one-two of Ferrari pair Ludovicio Scarfiotti and Mike Parkes, scoring their only podiums, to beat the second Brabham of Denny Hulme. While holding out at Force India in 2009 might have given Fisichella a chance, there's hardly been a sniff since.

GERMAN GRAND PRIX (5) (Michael Schumacher 1995, 2002, 2004, 2006, Ralf Schumacher 2001)
It's fair to say Old Hockenheim never suited Michael Schumacher. The early removal of Damon Hill aided his 1995 victory, the only one on the blast through the forest. In fact, his brother, aided by an absurdly powerful BMW engine and the retirement of his team-mate Juan Montoya from the lead, pulled level on German Grand Prix wins in 2001. Ralf's parity would, typically, not last. New Hockenheim and a dominant Ferrari meant that Michael could beat the Williams' in 2002, stay ahead of a brilliant Jenson Button for an 11th win from 12 in 2004 and head up a Ferrari demolition of mass-damper-lite Renault in 2006. He also won at the European GP quite a lot, in Germany! It was good while it lasted Ralf. At least you're, at time of writing, ahead of Vettel...?

FRENCH GRAND PRIX (8) (Jean-Pierre Jabouille 1979, Alain Prost 1981, 1983, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, Rene Arnoux 1982)
Dijon in 1979 is famous for two things. The battle for 2nd between Villeneuve and le Renault deuxiéme of Rene Arnoux is the most famous. But it was the day that Renault's révolution saw its first success, and turbo hit the front in the hands of Jean-Pierre Jabouille. A double French Ligier challenge seen off by Williams in 1980 was followed by three years of victory; Prost taking his first win at Dijon in 1981, Arnoux leading a one-two on the rare occasion Renault didn't blow a front row in 1982, and a second Prost victory in 1983, before that falling out. Prost had to wait 5 years for another French victory, but the now two-time champion beat team-mate Senna home in 1988. Senna's early exit the following year meant Prost was able to defeat the non-McLarens, and he took advantage of Ferrari's upturn of form to win their 100th race at home in 1990, ahead of Ivan Capelli!?
He was also bound to win in his annointed year of 1993, to make it a staggering 6 French wins. I suppose it must have annoyed Senna that he did the same thing in Brazil...

BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX (9) (Emerson Fittipaldi 1973, 1974, Carlos Pace 1975, Nelson Piquet 1983, 1986, Ayrton Senna 1991, 1993, Felipe Massa 2006, 2008)
Ronnie Peterson's pole at Interlagos in 1973 could not stop the fairytale. The first Championship Brazilian Grand Prix won by the new Brazilian World Champion, Emerson Fittipaldi, who got off the line better and led every lap. 1974 would not be so simple as it was he who was beaten off the line by Reutemann and Peterson, but he passed them to beat Reggazoni home. He was beaten in 1975 though, first by Jean-Pierre Jarier who retired from the lead, and then by the man after whom the track is now named, Jose Carlos Pace. By the time the Brazilians were ready to win at home again, the race had moved to Jacarepagua in Rio, and Rio native Nelson Piquet won by over 50 seconds when you account for Keke Rosberg's disqualification. He beat Lotus' (and Sao Paulo's) Senna home in an all-Brazilian duel in 1986. The story of the next few years was that Senna tried in vain to win the race, thwarted by bad luck and often its French accomplice, until finally, despite problems and despite a last-minute shower he would hold off Riccardo Patrese to finally win at home. In 1993, Prost's Williams got the bad luck and Senna had to, and did, pass Hill to take the chequered flag. But after Senna's death, there would be a gap, caused mainly by Rubens Barrichello's complete inability to finish the race, when he should have won it at least in 2003. With Michael Schumacher's problems in 2006 and Fernando Alonso's assurance of the Championship, Felipe Massa comfortably took the win in 2006, giving another up in 2007 for tactical reasons, before doing his part in a agonisingly lost title bid in 2008.

BRITISH GRAND PRIX (21*) (Stirling Moss 1955, 1957 s.w. Tony Brooks, Peter Collins 1958, Jim Clark 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1967, Jackie Stewart 1969, 1971, James Hunt 1977, John Watson 1981, Nigel Mansell 1986, 1987, 1991, 1992, Damon Hill 1994, Johnny Herbert 1995, David Coulthard 1999, 2000, Lewis Hamilton 2008)
Stirling Moss would swear that team-mate Fangio "let him have" the 1955 race at Aintree, but even so the Silver Arrow started a raft of British wins. Tony Brooks became a Grand Prix winner in his own right but his first win was in a car he'd ceded to Moss. Peter Collins won the last race before his untimely death at Silverstone in 1958, beating Mike Hawthorn. But just as Hill won 5 in Monaco with Clark potless, it was the other way round in Britain. Aintree, Brands Hatch, Silverstone; Clark won them all. The newsworthy event was the fourth place in a poor Lotus in 1966. Jackie Stewart would take two wins at Silverstone, for Matra in 1969 and in a Formula-DFV shootout for Tyrrell in 1971. While Brands Hatch remained unkind to its hosts in 1976, James Hunt made up for that disqualification by winning in Northamptonshire rather than Clark's Kent in 1977. John Watson gave McLaren/Project 4 its first win at Silverstone in 1981 from a modest qualifying position of 5th. Nigel Mansell would become the hero. One European GP win at Brands was the precursor to his victory in Brands' last Grand Prix in 1986 and then his epic duel with Nelson Piquet at New Silverstone in 1987. Back at Williams for 1991, Red 5 took the fight to Senna by giving him a lift at Silverstone and, of course, won in 1992. Damon Hill did what his Dad didn't in 1994, aided by a Schumacher disqualification, then negated the necessity of such a dsq the next year by crashing into the German, giving Benetton nummer zwei Johnny Herbert an all-British fight with Williams' equivalent, David Coulthard. Sky won this battle of the future pundits. DC would see two of his greatest moments at Silverstone though, beating Eddie Irvine on a crazy day in 1999 where Hakkinen's wheel fell off and Schumacher broke his leg. No such luck in 2000, when he lead home a McLaren one-two. Since then, no dry British Grand Prix has been won by a Brit, with misfortune stalking its challengers, but in 2008 it was wet. Lewis Hamilton only seemed like he was driving on a dry track as he beat Nick Heidfeld by a clear minute.

So by sheer weight of numbers the Brits have triumphed, but who has been the best home nation?
21 wins, 22 British winning drivers!
Great post TBY.

It always seemed funny to me that Graham Hill never won at home while Damon never won in Monaco.

That lack of Italian drivers always leaves me puzzled as well, it's remarkable that their last home grown win was 1966 and it's not helped by the lack of top Italian drivers in recent years.

One of my favorite home grown wins was Johnny Herbert for Benetton in 1995. Seldom does a driver who had to work so hard to get into and then remain in F1 get his just rewards and it was fantastic to see Johnny held aloft on the podium that day.
Phil Hill might have easily won the United States GP in 1961 (his WDC-winning season), but, with both the WDC and WCC already in the team's hands, Ferrari decided not to attend the meeting. Depriving the Americans of the chance to see their first WDC in action was, IMO, unforgivable, as it gave the impression that F1's attitude towards American's was "you don't matter to us".
Phil Hill might have easily won the United States GP in 1961 (his WDC-winning sewason), but, with both the WDC and WCC already in the team's hands, Ferrari decided not to attend the meeting. Depriving the Americans of the chance to see their first WDC in action was, IMO, unforgivable, as it gave the impression that F1's attitude towards American's was "you don't matter to us".

I have little background about it, but I would argue that Ferrari decided not to run the US GP due to the fatal accident that killed Von Trips and 14 spectators.
Phil Hill might have easily won the United States GP in 1961 (his WDC-winning sewason), but, with both the WDC and WCC already in the team's hands, Ferrari decided not to attend the meeting. Depriving the Americans of the chance to see their first WDC in action was, IMO, unforgivable, as it gave the impression that F1's attitude towards American's was "you don't matter to us".

I always thought that it was Von Trip's death that prompted Ferrari to withdraw from the American Round that year. Either way, it was a terrible circumstance for Hill to celebrate his becoming World Champion.

edit - Just beat me to it Olivier
perhaps a better measure is the number of times the race was held by the number of home winners as only Italian and British GP have been around since 1950s
Since Ferrari missed NO races out of respect for the Italian hero Bandini when he died at the wheel of a Ferrari at Monaco, you have to question the sincerity of Von Trips' death being the reason for the withdrawal. It was, most assuredly, the reason given to the public. I doubt very much that the race would have been given a bye if either championship were still in doubt.
You can't blame Ferrari though. He'd just had a driver killed in his car at Monza of all places. The Italian authorities were conducting an investigation and with the championship wrapped up, you could see why he wouldn't have wanted to travel to the USA.

It's no different to Ken Tyrrell pulling the team out of the 1973 US Grand Prix.

Sometimes you just don't want to go racing.
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