Formula 1 One-Hit Wonders – Kubica, Panis and More

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Posted: May 21, 2024

Updated: May 21, 2024

  • Winning a Grand Prix is a goal for all Formula 1 drivers
  • Not everyone dominates the track as long as Verstappen
  • There are many drivers with just a single Grand Prix win

Winning an F1 Grand Prix is a goal for all drivers. Among long-term champions like Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, there are the rare few who get to stand on the top step of the podium just once in their careers. We will list drivers with just a single GP win to their name or simply Formula 1 one-hit wonders. Check the most recent odds on Formula 1 at online sportsbooks in Canada.

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Formula 1 one-hit wonders: Robert Kubica

In 2006, Robert Kubica made history as the first Polish driver in Formula 1, signing with BMW Sauber. Known for his exceptional talent, Kubica could have soared to even greater heights with a more competitive car. Over his career, he participated in 99 races, taking 12 podium finishes, one pole position, and one fastest lap. During the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix, a damaged front wing launched Kubica’s BMW into the air. Unable to control the vehicle, it crashed into a concrete wall and then rebounded into the opposite barrier at a terrifying speed of 186.49 mph, leaving his feet exposed at the wreck’s end.

The severe concussion from the crash sidelined Kubica for the following US Grand Prix. However, in a remarkable comeback just one year later at the same Canadian circuit, Kubica achieved his only F1 race victory. A dramatic turn of events saw Lewis Hamilton ignore a red light in the pit lane, causing his McLaren to collide with Kimi Räikkönen’s Ferrari and Nico Rosberg crashing into both, clearing the way for Kubica. He led his teammate Nick Heidfeld to a BMW Sauber 1-2 finish, marking the first win for a German constructor since 1962.

Kubica’s F1 career reached its zenith that day. Tragically, he endured a near-fatal crash at the 2011 Ronde di Andora Rally, leading to years of recovery. He eventually returned to F1 in 2019 with Williams, but this final stint was far from the comeback he had hoped for. To this day, Kubica is considered one of the biggest “what-ifs” as many in the paddock saw him become an F1 Champion.Bet on the next Canadian GP at online gambling sites in Canada.

Alessandro Nannini’s Only Win in Japan

Alessandro Nannini is also one of the most well-known Formula 1 one-hit wonders. His lone Formula 1 victory was tinged with dissatisfaction. The 1989 Japanese Grand Prix remains infamous for the collision between McLaren teammates Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. This clash clinched the championship for Prost and handed the race win to Nannini. Starting from sixth on the grid, Nannini witnessed Senna, who had started on pole, fall behind Prost at the outset.

The Brazilian remained in pursuit until lap 40, when he attempted a daring move on the inside at the final chicane. Prost turned in, leading to the notorious collision between the two. While the incident ended Prost’s race, Senna restarted his car, overtook Nannini, and crossed the finish line first. However, Senna was later disqualified for rejoining the track through an escape road, awarding Prost the title and Nannini the victory. Nannini remarked that he would prefer to win by actually crossing the line. Tragically, a year after his victory, Nannini’s Grand Prix career was abruptly ended by a horrific helicopter crash that severed his right forearm.

 

Olivier Panis: the First Among Four

Frenchman Olivier Panis competed in Formula 1 for a decade, and his sole victory came under highly unusual conditions. The 1996 Monaco Grand Prix, where only four cars made it to the finish line. Nevertheless, this was enough to make him the winner and one of the top 4 Formula 1 one-hit wonders. On race day, rain began to fall, prompting the addition of a fifteen-minute session for drivers to acclimate to the wet track. The race, which reached the maximum two-hour duration, saw pole-sitter Michael Schumacher crash into the wall, with Jos Verstappen following suit.

The two Minardis collided, and Jordan teammates Rubens Barrichello and Martin Brundle both spun out. In this battle of endurance, only four cars crossed the finish line. Panis, who had started 14th on the grid, executed a series of daring overtakes, timed his sole pit stop flawlessly, and switched to dry tyres at the perfect moment. He inherited the lead when Jean Alesi retired late in the race. A Frenchman winning in a French car at Monaco thrilled the home crowd. This victory would remain unmatched by a French driver until Pierre Gasly’s triumph at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix, just as predicted by 22BET.

A year later, in 1997, he started as one of the earlier Championship contenders by taking two podiums in five races. However, a heavy crash in Canada left him out of the racing for a year and, as it turned out, out of form. Panis never managed to recover physically and mentally from that crash.

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Jean Alesi is One of Formula 1 one-hit Wonders

Jean Alesi burst onto the Formula 1 scene with a sensational mid-season debut for Tyrrell in 1989, finishing fourth at Paul Ricard in his very first race. He quickly showed his talent by challenging Ayrton Senna for the lead at the 1990 US Grand Prix. Despite his undeniable skill, Alesi’s career with Ferrari coincided with one of the worst eras for the team, preventing him from fully capitalizing on his abilities. Nonetheless, a driver with exceptional talent and an underperforming car often wins the affection of fans, and Alesi was no exception. His career statistics include 32 podium finishes, two pole positions, four fastest laps, and one Grand Prix victory.

That solitary win came at the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix, where Alesi piloted the No. 27 Ferrari, a number famously associated with local hero Gilles Villeneuve. Running just behind Michael Schumacher, it seemed the dominant world champion was set for victory. However, gearbox issues forced Schumacher’s Benetton into the pits, allowing Alesi to seize the lead. Coincidentally, this triumph occurred on Alesi’s birthday, much to the delight of the French-Canadian crowd, who felt a special connection to him.

Alesi’s Ferrari ran out of fuel during the warm-down lap, but Schumacher offered him a ride back to the pits – this remains one of the most famous moments in F1 history. Though Alesi continued to secure podium finishes with both Ferrari and Benetton, he would never again stand atop the podium.

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