F1's 9 Nearly Men

17th May 2016
Henry Hope-Frost

Today (May 18) marks the 47th anniversary of double World Champion Graham Hill’s 14th and last Grand Prix victory – coming appropriately enough on the streets of Monte Carlo, where he’d taken victory four times before. It just so happened that May 18 was also the date on which he’d made his debut at motorsport’s top level 11 years earlier – at the wheel of a Lotus 12 on the very same Monaco streets.


While 40-year-old debonair and dashing Gold Leaf Lotus ace Hill took all the plaudits for a record fifth Monaco win, another British racer – at the wheel of a Brabham BT26A run by Frank Williams – finished 17.3 seconds adrift to secure his maiden F1 podium finish. The 26-year-old, who was competing in just his 15th race, was called Piers Courage and, although he finished second again later that year, in Watkins Glen’s US Grand Prix, he’d never go one better by adding his name to the list of British winners. Just over a year later, he would die in the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort.

It’s often the case in sport that few remember who finishes second, particularly as the mists of time fog up our memories. In F1 though, British fans are more spoiled than those from other nations, as we lead the way on many statistical levels. Nineteen drivers have won at least one World Championship Grand Prix, most of them becoming household names. How many British drivers, we wondered, have emulated Courage by finishing best of the rest, or, as some cruelly call it, first of the losers, and not gone on to stand on the top step? Just nine men feature in the runner-up club, four of them having done it more than once.

Cliff Allison – b 8 Feb 1932; d 7 Apr 2005

Starts: 16 (1958-1961, for Lotus, Maserati, Ferrari)

Best result: 2nd, Argentina 1960 (Ferrari, P7 on grid) – 26.3s behind winner

Richard Attwood ­– b 4 Apr 1940

Starts: 16 (1965-1969, for Lotus, Cooper, BRM)

Best result: 2nd, Monaco 1968 (BRM, P6 on grid) – 2.2s behind winner

Piers Courage – b 27 May 1942; d 21 Jun 1970

Starts: 27 (1967-1970, for Lotus, BRM, Brabham, De Tomaso)

Best result: 2nd, Monaco 1969 (Brabham, P9 on grid) – 17.3s behind winner;
2nd, USA 1969 (Brabham, P9 on grid) – 46.99s behind winner

Martin Brundle – b 1 Jun 1959

Starts: 158 (1984-1996, for Tyrrell, Zakspeed, Williams, Brabham, Benetton, Ligier, McLaren, Jordan)

Best result: 2nd, Italy 1992 (Benetton, P9 on grid) – 17.0s behind winner;
2nd, Monaco 1994 (McLaren, P8 on grid) – 37.2s behind winner

Mike Hailwood – b 2 Apr 1940; d 23 Mar 1981

Starts: 49 (1963-1974, for Lotus, Lola, Surtees, McLaren)

Best result: 2nd, Italy 1972 (Surtees, P9 on grid) – 14.5s behind winner

Mike Parkes – b 24 Sep 1931; d 28 Aug 1977

Starts: 6 (1966-1967, for Ferrari)

Best result: 2nd, France 1966 (Ferrari, P3 on grid) – 9.5s behind winner;
Italy 1966 (Ferrari, P1 on grid) – 5.8s behind winner

Roy Salvadori – b 12 May 1922; d 3 Jun 2012

Starts: 47 (1952-1962, for Ferrari, Connaught, Maserati, Vanwall, Cooper, Aston Martin, Lola)

Best result: 2nd, Germany 1958 (Cooper, P6 on grid) – 3m29.7s behind winner

Trevor Taylor – b 26 Dec 1936; d 27 Sep 2010

Starts: 27 (1981-1966, for Lotus, BRP, Shannon)

Best result: 2nd, Holland 1962 (Lotus, P10 on grid) – 27.2s behind winner

Derek Warwick – b 27 Aug 1954

Starts: 146 (1981-1993, for Toleman, Renault, Brabham, Arrows, Lotus, Footwork)

Best result: 2nd, Belgium 1984 (Renault, P4 on grid) – 42.3s behind winner;
Britain 1984 (Renault, P6 on grid) – 42.1s behind winner

Among the nine nearly-men, Martin Brundle (seven times), Mike Hailwood (once), Roy Salvadori (once) and Derek Warwick (twice) also finished third in a Grand Prix.

Eleven other drivers stood on the bottom step of the podium having finished third, five of them more than once:

Bob Anderson – Austria 1964 (Brabham)

Peter Arundell – Monaco and Holland 1964 (Lotus)

Mark Blundell – South Africa and Germany 1993 (Ligier); Spain 1994 (Tyrrell)

Ron Flockhart – Italy 1956 (Connaught)

Stuart Lewis-Evans – Belgium and Portugal 1958 (Vanwall)

Jackie Oliver – Mexico 1968 (Lotus); Canada 1973 (Shadow)

Reg Parnell – Britain 1950 (Alfa Romeo)

Tom Pryce – Austria 1975 and Brazil 1976 (Shadow)

Brian Redman – Spain 1968 (Cooper)

Mike Spence – Mexico 1965 (Lotus)

Peter Whitehead – France 1950 (Ferrari)

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