Unlike Verstappen’s refusal to aid Perez’s pursuit for 2nd in the Championship, F1 history is full of moments of teamwork & friendship.
Max Verstappen’s refusal to give up 6th place to teammate Sergio Perez before crossing the finish line in the Brazilian Grand Prix has provoked much debate within the sport. With the Dutchman’s Drivers’ Championship secured in Japan and the runner’s-up spot up for grabs – which Perez eventually lost – was Verstappen’s refusal to let Perez finish ahead a selfish act? In this article, we look at some of the more charitable moments between teammates in F1 history.
1 – Please take my car, old sport
Back in the 1950s, teammates were allowed to swap cars during a Grand Prix, and would subsequently share the points for the position the car came home in, and at the 1956 Italian Grand Prix, the ruling came into play for the F1 Championship. Ferrari team-mates Juan Manuel Fangio and Peter Collins could both win the Drivers’ title, along with Maserati’s Jean Behra. With Behra retiring just before half-distance, it looked as if Fangio, who had an eight-point lead over Collins going into the race, would claim the crown, but his Ferrari’s steering arm broke. The third Scuderia driver, Luigi Musso, refused to hand his over to Fangio, leaving Collins all but set for the title. But the Englishman, who felt that Fangio deserved to win the title, handed his car over. Fangio would finish in 2nd, enough to win the Championship.
2 – Senna hands win to the man who taught him to laugh
After the high contention between McLaren drivers Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, Senna found a new team-mate in 1990, with Austrian Gerhard Berger replacing the outgoing Prost. The pair’s relationship was famously the opposite, with Berger’s practical joking, and Senna’s likeminded ripostes, becoming well-documented. With Berger assisting Senna in his title victories in both 1990 and ’91, Senna would give his friend victory in Suzuka. With Nigel Mansell’s DNF guaranteeing Senna his third title early in the race, he allowed Berger through to take his first win for McLaren cementing the respect between the two men.
3 – American Hospitality
Earlier in the 2002 season, Ferrari reached a particularly low ebb in terms of team orders after forcing Rubens Barrichello to allow team-mate Michael Schumacher through to win the Austrian Grand Prix. The action by the team was met with a cacophony of booing and jeering from the crowd, with an embarrassed Schumacher offering his place on the podium and trophy to the Brazilian. In the penultimate round in America, with Schumacher long F1 Champion, he attempted to right the wrongs by allowing Barrichello to catch him as they approached the line in Indianapolis. Barrichello was given the win by 00.11 seconds, with Schumacher admitting afterward: “It was a good opportunity to go equal over the line, and we failed by a little bit!”
4 – Coulthard taps out of victory after radio tap-in
At the curtain-opener in Australia in 1998, the McLaren duo of Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard had made a pre-race agreement that whoever was leading into the first corner at the start would win. At just over half-distance, Hakkinen unexpectedly pitted after apparently mishearing a call from the team – later alleged by Ron Dennis to be an unknown individual who had “tapped” into the radio system – giving the lead to Coulthard. But a matter of laps from the flag, the Scot would allow Hakkinen through to keep the promise, and for Hakkinen to keep the win.
Coulthard’s generosity did not stop there. Later that year, he appeared on the BBC comedy chat-show, McCoist & MacAuley, on which co-host Fred MacAulay claimed he had placed a £400 bet on Coulthard to win the race. Coulthard’s response was to hand the comedian his wristwatch as recompense for the loss of the bet.
5 – Williams-Renault, the Uber Executive
The one non-teammate entry for this list, and perhaps one of the most memorable images in Formula 1 history. Nigel Mansell won the British Grand Prix in 1991 to get his championship battle back on track, aided further by Ayrton Senna running out of fuel before the flag. With Senna stranded on the exit of Club Corner, Mansell slowed to offer his rival a lift back to the pits, giving the Brazilian time to study the inner workings of his taxi.