Formula One has provided non-stop entertainment since it's inception as the World Drivers' Championship way back in 1950. It's man against man, and machine against machine, with no guarantee of anyone finishing a lap in one piece. There have been countless classics as a result over the years, forged from bitter title rivalries and intra-team clashes. In no particular order, here are the top 10 best Formula One races.
The Interlagos circuit in Brazil has seen some of the best Formula One races from one-off classics to title-deciding showdowns. In 2008, it was the race that would decide who would take their first title in the sport: Lewis Hamilton of McLaren, or Ferrari's local hero Felipe Massa. The Brazilian was behind in the battle for the crown and had to win. Hamilton only needed to finish 5th or better.
A lacklustre qualifying saw Hamilton line up behind Massa, Trulli, and Massa's team mate Raikkonen. Rain was forecast and hit before the race, prompting teams to change their cars from dry tyres to intermediates. After a drier period, light rain fell during the latter stages of the race. Hamilton (who also happens to be one of the highest paid vegans) was one of the few drivers to come in for intermediate tyres, but this put him out of the position he needed to win the title. Glock, ahead of him, had stayed out and was 5th on dry tyres. And Hamilton couldn't get past him.
Massa crossed the finishing line and his family celebrated. But too soon. The rain intensified and on the final lap, with just a few seconds to reach the line, Glock slipped off the track, letting Hamilton past into the 5th position he needed to just pip Massa. Heartbreak for the Brazilian, and elation for the Briton. This one event likely saw some great F1 sports odds at Bet365 and other popular sportsbooks come in.
More recently the Australian Grand Prix has been the season opening event, but in 1994 it was the last race on the calendar. It was also one of the many scenes of confrontation between Briton Damon Hill and German Michael Schumacher for the Formula One title.
Going into the race, Hill, driving for Williams, was just a solitary point behind Benetton's Schumacher. It was Hill's team mate Nigel Mansell who secured pole position, with Schumacher and Hill right behind the moustachioed maestro. Off the line Schumacher grabbed the lead but Hill was right on his tail. They would stay in this position for almost half the race distance when something akin to Japan 1989 (see below) happened.
Schumacher and Hill collided, taking the German driver out of the race right away and forcing Hill to retire when it became clear his car was beyond repair. This meant Schumacher won the 1994 title (the first of seven). Mansell went on to win the race which wasn't the last time we saw action in Australia.
The rivalry between Mercedes team mates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg was epitomised by the 2014 race in Bahrain. Rosberg nabbed pole, a surprisingly large quarter of a second ahead of his team mate, but when the race started that counted for nought as Hamilton managed to get ahead off the line and defend robustly against the German's attempt to retake the lead. The two Mercedes duly started building a huge gap to the rest of the field, Rosberg still right on Hamilton's heels.
Rosberg tried to pass, and clearly looked faster, but Hamilton cut across him to fairly, but determinedly, resist the attempt and retain the lead. The same move was tried again and again, with the same result. In clear air, the German driver was looking the faster but the Briton drove superbly to deny his team mate and rival the lead. In the end, despite differing tyre strategies and throwing everything he could at Hamilton, Rosberg couldn't get ahead. And this was a story that would become very familiar in this and later seasons.
Normally in Formula One the car is the dominant factor (as shown by numerous wins for Hamilton, Vettel, and Schumacher). The 2012 season was unusual because Vettel was driving well, in the best car (the Red Bull) while Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was driving a perfect season in a car that really shouldn't've been able to contend with Vettel. The battle to take the title was still going when they reached Brazil.
Neither man had ideal qualifying positions, with Vettel 4th on the grid and Alonso 7th. But worse was to come for Vettel, who started poorly before spinning his car, and was fortunate not to be struck with a race-ending collision by another driver. The German had suffered sufficient damage to slow him down, but not end his race. Alonso, aided by unusually nifty Ferrari strategy, managed to get all the way up to 2nd, but even that wasn't enough. Vettel finished 6th, and claimed the third of his world titles.
The race was also notable for being the final outing for Formula One legend Michael Schumacher, although his MSC initials came back in 2021 testing for his son Mick's time in the Haas car.
One of the most cited of the best Formula One races is the famous, or infamous, 1989 Japanese Grand Prix which saw bitter rivals Senna and Prost at their most contentious. By this stage the two McLaren drivers and perennial title rivals were practically enemies, and the events at and during the 1989 race in Japan was the crescendo of this sporting symphony.
The McLarens topped qualifying, Senna on pole, but in the race his French team mate immediately passed him. Prost initially built up a small lead but when the Brazilian had fresh tyres he started to eat into that and narrow the gap. The gap became just a second, and then the two McLarens collided. Their engines stalled. All was lost. Or was it?
Prost got out, thinking the title fight over with him the victor, but Senna stayed in and managed to get his engine going again, eventually going on to win the race. But then he found himself disqualified for the highly contentious reason of having rejoined the track illegally, gifting the 1989 title to Prost.
For many people, the best Formula One race was also the longest in history. Complete with a more than two hour interval for heavy rain, the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix was over four hours in length, and had one of the most dramatic victories you'll ever see on a racetrack.
With more than half the race gone, Button was the last of the 21 drivers still in the race. Things were not looking good for the plucky Brit. But on a drying track his unrivalled sense of feel for the tyres enabled him to extract the most from the rubber and soon he was scything his way through the whole field. Hugely faster than everyone else on track, Button even got himself into the podium positions, and then got into 2nd. He was hunting down Vettel, who had comfortably led the race for a long time, but with a single lap left the time deficit was too big to overcome.
But then Vettel made practically the only mistake of his 2011 campaign, and went wide. It was enough for Button to steam past and seize an improbable, and fantastic, final lap victory. It's not the firt time we've seen excitement from sports gambling in Canada.
The 2019 German race began with a closely matched Mercedes-Red Bull battle (Hamilton and Bottas starting 1st and 3rd respectively for Mercedes and Verstappen and Gasly 2nd and 4th for Red Bull). The cars started on wet tyres, and the Red Bulls got away poorly, both losing places.
As tyres were changed many drivers lost control, and while Hamilton's spin and crash was not terminal it did necessitate a pit stop that lasted close to a minute and sent him plummeting down the order. This promoted Verstappen, who had recovered from his initial poor start, into the lead. The Dutchman built up a solid lead only to have it reduced to nothing when another safety car period closed the field up in the latter stages. Vettel, on fresher tyres was able to make multiple late passes to pull himself up to 2nd but Verstappen managed to retain his lead. Kvyat, who had been demoted to make way for Verstappen in 2016 before returning after time away from the sport with the Toro Rosso team, was the third man on the podium.
The fortnight before the Spanish Grand Prix in 2016 was something of a whirlwind for European fans. Daniil Kvyat was sensationally dropped mid-season by the Red Bull team and replaced by Dutch youngster Max Verstappen, previously racing for the junior Toro Rosso team. Such in-season driver switches are pretty unusual in the sport, but Red Bull felt that Verstappen was a great talent for the future and were unwilling to risk letting rivals get their hands on him.
It was seen by many as pretty rough on Kvyat, who had achieved some decent results, and time would certainly tell whether Red Bull had made the right call. In the event, it took just one race to justify the decision.
Mercedes, as usual in this regulation era, were dominant and had secured 1-2 on the grid, with Verstappen 4th, right behind his new team mate Daniel Ricciardo, with the Ferraris on the row behind. Then a weird thing happened. Rosberg passed Hamilton off the line, then the two collided and were out of the race. Ricciardo and Verstappen were leading, and after the pit stops Verstappen was in the lead of his first race. Raikkonen was right behind him and clearly faster, but the Dutchman withstood the pressure to become the first man from his country and the youngest driver in history to win a Formula One race.
Around halfway through the 2014 season was the Hungarian Grand Prix and, unusually for this particular circuit, it was rain-affected right from the off, with drivers starting on the intermediate tyre. Mercedes driver Rosberg started on pole, alongside Red Bull's Vettel, while Hamilton's car had been unhelpfully on fire during qualifying and he started from the back of the grid.
Off the line, Rosberg led the way while Vettel lost then regained his place, but a safety car brought out by a crash had ruinous timing for Rosberg and other top runners. The German Mercedes driver fell from 1st to 4th in the safety car pit stop, but Red Bull's Ricciardo had struck gold and was now leading the race. On differing strategies, Hamilton was ordered to let his team mate past, but chose not to (just possibly because Rosberg was his title rival).
Ultimately, this allowed Ricciardo to win the race, with Alonso 2nd, Hamilton 3rd, and his rival Rosberg just 4th.
The 2020 season was subject to quite some disruption from the global pandemic, with the calendar shortened to 17 races. One of these was a second Grand Prix in Bahrain, on a shorter than usual circuit. The Sakhir race proved to be one of the best Formula One races of the modern era with incidents and excitement from start to finish. It was also loved my fans around the world.
Lewis Hamilton had already wrapped up another world title by this event, which was lucky as he had to miss it due to COVID-19, his seat being temporarily taken by fellow Briton George Russell. On the first lap there was a crash involving Leclerc and Verstappen, both of whom were knocked out of the running, and Perez, whose Racing Point car slumped to the back of the field. Russell, meanwhile, had passed his far more experienced team mate Bottas.
Russell seemed set fair for an accomplished maiden win, but pit stop woe put him back and then he suffered a late puncture. Due to a combination of sharp strategy, great driving, and good luck, Perez ended up in the lead, and the Mexican went from last on the first lap to 1st on the last lap for an epic maiden win.
And that brings us to the end of our top 10 best Formula One races list. From duels in the desert to crashing title rivals, soaked circuits with spins aplenty, and dogged defences, there have been many cracking races in the sport's history and there are bound to be many more in the future. If this article has given you the need for speed and there isn't a track nearby, try out these exciting racing slot games.