Valtteri Bottas, F1’s 107th Different Winner

Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia.
Sunday 30 April 2017.
World Copyright: Glenn Dunbar/LAT Images
ref: Digital Image _31I1948

Valtteri Bottas, in Russia, won his first Grand Prix in his Formula One career after 81 starts. The Finn started from the third position, passed the two Ferraris on the first lap and led the race until the end.

Sebastian Vettel with his Ferrari finished only 0.617s behind Bottas. The German had a fresher set of tyres and tried to take advantage of that in the final laps. The Finn defended his position even when Vettel was in the DRS zone and remained until the chequered flag.

In Sochi, Valtteri Bottas became F1’s 107th different winner and the fifth Finn who has won a race, the other four are Keke Rosberg, Mika Hakkinen, Kimi Raikkonen and Heikki Kovalainen.

Get in PitCrew’s time travel machine, fasten your seatbelt and get ready for a trip to the past! Where and when did some of the greatest drivers, in Formula 1, won their first race?

Ayrton Senna

In the second race of the 1985 Formula One season, Ayrton Senna with Lotus-Renault, celebrated his first victory in his F1 career. The Brazilian started the race from the pole and he was leading for 67 laps. Michele Alboreto with Ferrari and Patrick Tambay with Renault finished second and third respectively. Sixteen drivers retired in that race and Manfred Winelhock was not classified.

The race was originally scheduled for 70 laps, but at the beginning of lap 67, Ayrton Senna received a ‘one lap to go’ signal from the race director as the race esceeded the two-hour time limit.

The Portuguese Grand Prix was held in Estoril on April 21, 1985, and it was Senna’s first of the 41 Formula One victories.

Michael Schumacher


Michael Schumacher raced for the first time in Formula 1 in 1991 at the Belgian Grand Prix, it took him almost a year and in 1992 at the same race, he won his first Grand Prix in F1. The German won with Benetton and it was the first of his 91 victories. Eighteen drivers finished that race, Nigel Mansell with his Williams-Renault took the pole position, but Michael Schumacher, who started third, took the chequered flag.

It was a wet race at the Spa circuit which gave to the German his first F1 victory. At that season, Schumacher finished third in the Drivers’ Championship and scored 53 points. Michael Schumacher’s last Grand Prix was in 2012 at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Nigel Mansell

Two races before the end of the 1985 Formula One season, Nigel Mansell at the European Grand Prix, took his first chequered flag. The race held at Brands Hatch on October 6, 1985. Ayrton Senna was the fastest driver during the qualifying session and with 1:07.169 he took the pole position. Nigel Mansell qualified third and started the race behind the two Brazilians, Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna.

Frank Williams signed Mansell to drive alongside Keke Rosberg and the Brit said that ‘Keke was probably one of the best team-mates I’ve had in my career’. The British driver won 31 races in total, took 32 pole positions and celebrated one championship in 1992. During his Formula One career, he drove for Lotus, Williams, Ferrari and McLaren.

Jenson Button

2011 Spanish Grand Prix – Sunday
Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
22nd May 2011
Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-26 Mercedes.
World Copyright:Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic
ref: Digital Image _Q0C4200

Jenson made his Formula One debut in 2000 at the Australian Grand Prix with Williams. The British replaced Alex Zanardi and became the British youngest Formula 1, driver. On August 2006, in Hungary, Button after a long waiting, won his first Grand Prix and finished on the highest step of the podium followed by Pedro de la Rosa and Nick Heidfeld. In qualifying, Kimi Raikkonen secured the pole position, while Button qualified fourth, but received a 10 place grid penalty due to an engine change.

The track was wet when the race started and Jenson Button fought all the way up to the first position. A collision between Raikkonen and Vitantonio Liuzzi deployed the safety car, at that moment Jenson Button decided to stay out on track and that led him up to the second position behind Fernando Alonso. When the safety car returned into the pits, Button was pushing Alonso but the Britt pitted for fuel, whilst the Spaniard pitted for dry tyres.

When Alonso rejoined the track he had problems with his rear wheel nut, Alonso lost the control of his car and crashed. That allowed to Button to take the lead and remained first until the end of the race.

Sebastian Vettel

2011 Australian Grand Prix – Sunday
Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia
27th March 2011.
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing RB7 Renault.
World Copyright:Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic
ref: Digital Image _Q0C1424

Four world titles, 90 podiums, 44 points and 2,194 points are some interesting numbers in Sebastian Vettel’s career. The German, made his F1 debut in Indianapolis Motor Speedway with BMW Sauber and replaced the injured Robert Kubica. Almost a year later, Vettel became the youngest driver in the history of Formula One to win a Grand Prix.

Heavy rain before the start of the race, made the track slippery and that forced the stewards to start the race behind the safety car. When the safety car returned to the pits, Sebastian Vettel increased his lead, from Kovalainen to two seconds and secured his first victory as an F1 driver.

Sebastian Vettel with his Toro Rosso-Ferrari scored 10 points and he was leading the Italian Grand Prix for 306.720 km.

These were a few of the 107 different winners in Formula 1 and I believe that the current grid has some skilful drivers which can increase that number.

Victor Archakis – @FP_Passion


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