Super Seven… Ferrari Grand Prix Victories

14th July 2016
Henry Hope-Frost

Today (July 14) marks the 65th anniversary of Scuderia Ferrari’s first World Championship Grand Prix win. On that day at Silverstone in 1951, burly Argentinian Jose Froilan Gonzalez guided his 4.5-litre V12 375 to a 51-second victory over the 1.5-litre supercharged eight-cylinder Alfa Romeo 159 of countryman Juan Manuel Fangio to add Enzo Ferrari’s name to F1’s roll of honour.

Fast forward six-and-a-half decades and the team founded by the former racing driver has racked up 224 race wins, courtesy of 38 drivers. There have been some memorable moments involving the red machines from Maranello but we’ve chosen seven victories – one from each decade since the winning began – that we felt stood out for a variety of reasons. Let us know which races you’d have included, and why…

1953 French GP – Reims (win number 14)

Briton Mike Hawthorn had the measure of his illustrious Ferrari team-mates in France, despite qualifying slowest (P7) of the four factory 500s. He battled to the front in what was only his fourth race with the team and outdragged the Maseratis of Juan Manuel Fangio and Jose Froilan Gonzalez to the line to score his maiden win – the first Englishman to do so for the Prancing Horse. His fellow Ferrari drivers, Alberto Ascari, Giuseppe Farina and Luigi Villoresi, were fourth, fifth and sixth.

1963 German GP – Nürburgring (win number 36)

Seven-time motorcycle world champion John Surtees had joined Ferrari for his third full season in the top flight of four-wheeled racing and came to the fearsome Nordschleife in the shadow of Lotus ace Jim Clark, who’d won four in row. The Scot shaded Surtees, by a scant 0.9s, to take pole, but the #7 Ferrari 156/63 was the car to beat on raceday. It was Big John’s first GP win and the result marked the only time in 72 starts – all with Lotus – that Clark finished second.

1974 Spanish GP – Jarama (win number 50)

Ferrari had dropped the ball in the early part of the 1970s. Wins were few and far between in 1971 and ’72, with none in ’73 while it concentrated on its World Sportscar Championship programme. For 1974, the team hired Niki Lauda from BRM and it marked the start of a renaissance. Second first time out in Argentina, his first win came at Jarama in round four, where he beat team-mate Clay Regazzoni by more than half a minute. It might not have been a spectacular race – the Ferraris lapped everyone else – but it was certainly significant.

1989 Brazilian GP – Jacarepagua (win number 95)

As Ferrari F1 fairy tales go, nothing has been as far-fetched as Nigel Mansell – the last driver Enzo Ferrari signed personally to his team – going out and winning in Brazil on his debut at the start of 1989. But that’s exactly what happened. After four years with Williams and title near-misses in 1986 and ’87, the Brummie Bulldog was lured by Maranello. The Ferrari 640 had racked up precious few miles in pre-season testing thanks to abject reliability. So despondent was Mansell come the Rio de Janeiro weekend, he booked an early flight home, believing he’d not make the end of the race. The car refused to break and Mansell took that fantasy-style win.

1996 Spanish GP – Barcelona (win number 106)

The building blocks to what would soon become Ferrari’s most successful period in F1 came on a wet June afternoon at the Circuit de Catalunya 20 years ago. Reigning world champion Michael Schumacher had committed to Ferrari and brought some of his trusted allies from Benetton with him. And after a fallow period – no wins in 1991, ’92 or ’93 and one each in ’94 and ’95 – the efforts began to pay off. Schuey cleaned up that afternoon in Spain, winning by 45s and signalling the start of immense Maranello momentum.

2000 Japanese GP – Suzuka (win number 134)

As Michael Schumacher sat on pole position for the penultimate race of 2000 in Japan, it must have crossed his mind that he had a chance to end a 21-year drivers’ title drought at Ferrari. Not since Jody Scheckter won at Monza in September 1979 had motorsport’s biggest prize gone to anyone in one of the Italian machines. Title nemesis Mika Hakkinen made the early running for McLaren in the race at Suzuka, but a better strategy from Ferrari meant their man, who had spent five years fighting for this moment, got ahead and crossed the line less than 2s ahead. And with that particular monkey of his back, Schuey did it again in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004!

2015 Malaysia GP – Sepang (win number 222)

A podium finish, albeit half a minute behind the dominant Mercedes, on his debut for Ferrari in Melbourne at the start of 2015 was a pretty solid way for four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel to start his career in red. Next time out, in Malaysia, he endeared himself to the Tifosi still further by winning! After a winless 2014, the first season in which Ferrari had gone without a victory all year since 1993, the team needed that top-step rebound. After splitting the Silver Arrows in qualifying to start second, Vettel played the tactics game with world champion Lewis Hamilton and emerged in front for a famous Ferrari win.

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