Legendary Rivalries and Iconic Moments: A Retrospective on the History of Formula 1

A look back at the most prosperous Formula 1 events in history. The most famous teams and professional drivers. Read this article below to know more


Formula 1 is the apex of international racing for single-seater, open-wheel racing cars. It is one of the most enjoyed sports by young and old, males and females, because of the ease of getting fascinated by how the drivers race at incredible speed with such cars, drifting through corners and avoiding getting hit by a competitor.

The ‘formula’ in the name is the rules to which all participants must conform. Its inaugural season was 1950, and automobile brands like Renault, Mercedes, Ferrari, and Honda have been manufacturing superb engines that power these cars in the competitions. 

Ayrton Senna, Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher at 1993 Brazilian GP | Twitter @F1

Just as people tune in/purchase tickets to watch these cars race at insane speeds, gamblers stake their money on participants to win the races. With Australia’s best $100 free chip no deposit offers, you can get the same enjoyment as seeing the historical moment when your favourite driver wins the race.

Since the sport’s inception, there have been legendary rivalries and iconic moments, and that’s the focus of this piece. Before Lewis Hamilton, who moved thousands and had them glued to the road circuit? Read on!


Although Grand Prix racing has far older roots, dating back to the pioneering road races in France in the 1890s, the Edwardian era, the depressing 1920s, the German dominance of the 1930s, and the early post-war years of Italian supremacy, the current age of Formula One began in 1950.

When motor racing began, the cars were heavy and upright, the roads were made of wood or tar, reliability was a problem, drivers had mechanics with them, and the races, typically held on public highways connecting towns, were incredibly long by today’s standards.

Known as the original Formula 1 race, the 1,200-kilometer race from Paris to Bordeaux and back was won by Emile Levassor in 1895 with his Panhard et Levassor car in 48 hours.

The inaugural Grand Prix was held in 1901 at Le Mans, France. Ferencz Szisz won the race in a Renault, covering 700 kilometres at 63.0 mph. The French automobile industry prompted the organisation of the 1906 Grand Prix de l’Automobile Club de France, also called the 1906 French Grand Prix, as a replacement for the Gordon Bennett races, which restricted the number of entries from each competing nation, irrespective of the size of its industry.

The first “pits,” or shallow emplacements excavated by the side of the track where technicians could work on the early GP car tires’ removable rims – a significant technological advancement over the preceding method – appeared during the Targa Florio in Sicily in 1908.

On May 13, 1950, the United Kingdom’s Silverstone Circuit hosted the inaugural world championship event. Giuseppe Farina of Alfa Romeo defeated colleague Juan Manuel Fangio by a small margin to win the inaugural Drivers’ World Championship.

Fangio later won the tournament in 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, and 1957. When Michael Schumacher won his sixth World Championship in 2003, the record for the most World Championships won by a single driver was broken. The record had been held for 46 years. Below are some of the legendary rivalries.

  • James Hunt vs Niki Lauda
  • Alain Prost vs Ayrton Senna
  • Michael Schumacher vs Mika Hakkinen
  • Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen

Today, modern racers can compete with each other not only during racing but also when betting in casinos. Formula 1 and casino gambling are distinct industries, each with a history and leaders. Moreover, every casino user can check Australia’s best online casino leaderboard by Outlookindia.com and determine the best one for themselves.

Although Formula 1 and casino gambling are unrelated businesses, they have a rich history defined by global development, technological advancements and cultural influences.

James Hunt vs Niki Lauda (1975 – 1977)

James Hunt and Niki Lauda were childhood rivals who progressed to Formula One together through the junior ranks. They even shared a house before they started to feud! But the two ex-roommates competed for the crown in 1976. James Hunt won the Dutch Grand Prix in 1975, the year he would call the race of his life. It was his maiden world championship victory. 

The following year, Lauda won four of the first six races, with Hunt claiming the other two. On August 1, 1976, during the German Grand Prix, Niki Lauda lost control of his race car and entered the wall while navigating a corner. The car burst into fire and bounced back onto the track, where it was struck by another moving race car.

After winning the Japanese Grand Prix, Hunt defeated his opponent to win the 1976 world championship. Lauda recovered to win his second world title in the 1977 season, and in 1984, he added a third.

Alain Prost vs Ayrton Senna (1984 – 1993)

The race between Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna defined the F1 rivalry of a generation during the 1980s and 1990s; together, they won seven of ten titles from 1984 to 1993 and five of six from 1988 to 1993. The Senna rivalry started when the two were partnered as teammates on McLaren in 1988.

Prost and Senna were the two greatest racers in the world then, but they soon developed a fierce rivalry despite being partners on the McLaren-Honda team. Prost was seen as the clear favourite to win the title going into the 1988 season, but Senna’s audacious driving style allowed him to upset Prost. 

Senna’s engine stalled during the 1988 Japanese Grand Prix, dropping him back to 14th place. After a while, he managed to overtake Prost and win the race, earning his maiden world championship. After the race, Prost accused McLaren of favouritism toward Senna, which led to a simmering tension between the two.

The 1990 season was the most intense chapter in the rivalry of this duo. Three years later, Prost joined Williams as a racer, but according to the contract, Senna could not join him as a teammate. Prost retired from Formula 1 after winning the 1993 World Championship, ending the rivalry.

Michael Schmaucher vs Mika Hakkinen (1998 – 2001)

Despite his unprecedented seven world titles, Mika Hakkinen presented a formidable challenge to Michael Schumacher. Despite their intense competition, the two never compromised their relationship off the track, which is uncommon in the competitive F1 environment.

Schumacher and Hakkinen had tense races even before they were in Formula 1, most notably in the 1990 Formula 3 Macau Grand Prix. Hakkinen lost the race because of a crash in the last lap. The two qualified for Suzuka, virtually tied at the top of the standings in the 1998 season. 

With a stall on the pole that ultimately resulted in Hakkinen winning the race, Schumacher had awful luck. After suffering a broken leg in a crash in 1999, Schumacher was forced to miss six races. Upon his comeback, he achieved the top spot in Malaysia.

Even though Schumacher recovered quickly, Hakkinen would win consecutive world titles. Schumacher, however, exacted his revenge in the 2000 season, defeating Hakkinen in Suzuka to win the championship. Schumacher and Ferrari would dominate the following few seasons after that. 2001 saw Hakkinen’s retirement from Formula 1.

Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen (2017 – Present)

Before the famous Hamilton vs Verstappen, we had Hamilton vs Nico Rosberg for about three years. In 2017, Max Verstappen became Hamilton’s primary opponent after Rosberg retired. When this rivalry started, Verstappen was just looking to win a few races a season, and Hamilton was focused on winning the championship for Mercedes and himself. The two had very few interactions.

Since then, Mercedes and Red Bull’s rivalry has intensified into frequent collisions and controversy. The controversy surrounding the last race of the 2021 season has fuelled the flames most lately.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was to decide the world championship title. Nicholas Latifi struck the wall in turn 14 just before the final lap, resulting in the safety car entering the race and slowing down. Verstappen dashed into the pits to get fresh tires while the safety car came onto the circuit. It was determined at this point that lapped cars would not pass the safety car.

That choice was modified to let the five cars separating Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton turn themselves once the collision was cleared from the track. Verstappen, with brand-new tires, was now directly behind Hamilton. Despite Hamilton’s best efforts, Verstappen managed to pass the Mercedes and win his first world championship.

Away from the intensity and consistent doggedness of these legends, rivalries are always soothing to experience from the fans’ point of view. For the racers, it pushes them to do their best. As long as Formula 1 exists, more and more iconic and legendary moments are yet to be written!

John Smith
John Smithhttps://total-motorsport.com
Editor at Total-Motorsport.com and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
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