What Was The Best Formula One Lap of All Time?

Illustration for article titled What Was The Best Formula One Lap of All Time?

Determining the best Formula One lap ever is answering a big question. One far greater than I have the knowledge for, but maybe one of you might know.

(Editors note: We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you a special bout of insanity from friend of the site and crapcan racer hero, Bill Caswell, who is taking over for us this weekend.)

The first lap that comes to my mind is Ayrton Senna’s qualifying laps at Monaco. In 1988, Senna put his car on pole and was 1.4 seconds quicker than his teammate Alain Prost! The following year he was equally as fast, and there’s something really special about watching Senna row through gears on a manual gearbox while tearing up Monaco.

But is that the best drive ever? The best lap of Formula One? Others say the best drive happened back in 1979 with the final moments of the French Grand Prix, when Villeneuve and Arnoux battled for the lead:

It might be Senna’s opening lap at Donnington in 1993, where he started 4th on the grid in the rain. You have to admit that his move around the outside at the 1:30 minute mark is awesome!

My personal favorite lap of F1 goes way back to 1957. I think it has to be Juan Manuel Fangio’s final laps of the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring. At the start, Fangio realized the Ferrari’s were going to run enough fuel for the entire race, so Fangio decided to run stickier tires and less fuel—but that would mean a pit stop which ended up nearly costing him the race. He was in the lead by 30 seconds when he came in for fuel and tires, but the left rear mechanic lost his wheel nut (you can see it in the video) and cost Fangio over a minute in the pits.


He rejoined the race in third place, but in the next 10 laps, Fangio reset the lap record nine times to pass Hawthorne and Collins and win the race. His final pass on Hawthorne was said to be half on the grass and half on the track as he went flying by.

“I have never driven that quickly before in my life and I don’t think I will ever be able to do it again,” Fangio remarked. I think Fangio’s is the greatest drive ever during a Grand Prix race. What’s your favorite lap?

Share This Story

Get our newsletter



I’m rather new to F1 (5 years or so), but Max Verstappen’s drive last year in the wet was pretty damn amazing to me. It’s upsetting that it took rain to get a driver to properly charge up the field with seemingly wreckless abandon.