Formula 1 has had many nail-biting and frantic endings to grands prix throughout its 70 years of world championship. We’ve counted down the top five closest finishes in history.

1969 Italian GP - 0.080s splits Stewart and Rindt 

Much like two years later, the end of the 1969 Italian Grand Prix saw a slipstream battle for victory coming out of the Parabolica. Jackie Stewart was triumphant in his Matra by just 0.080s over Lotus’ Jochen Rindt to win the race and as a result, claim the first of his three F1 world championship titles. 

1982 Austrian GP - Elio de Angelis finishes 0.050s clear of Rosberg 

Chasing their first-ever victories in F1, Elio de Angelis and Keke Rosberg went toe-to-toe for the win at the 1982 Austrian Grand Prix at the Osterreichring. Despite huge pressure coming out of the final corner, de Angelis did just enough to thwart Rosberg’s Williams and seal his first win for Lotus by 0.050s. 

1986 Spanish GP - Senna edges Mansell by 0.014s 

A late call from Nigel Mansell to pit for fresh tyres made the fight for victory between himself and Ayrton Senna at the 1986 Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez a fascinating battle. Mansell clawed back his 20-second deficit to Senna and had caught the Brazilian’s Lotus by the last lap. Despite drawing alongside Senna on the run to the flag, Senna just kept his nose ahead to prevail to the win by the finest of margins - 0.014s. 

2002 United States GP - Barrichello beats Schumacher by 0.011s

Michael Schumacher had dominated the 2002 United States Grand Prix and looked set to finish ahead of Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello for another Scuderia 1-2. In an attempt to get the cars across the line in a dead head formation finish, Schumacher stepped off the throttle on the run to the line, with Barrichello sneaking past to claim the win by just 0.011s. Some say the result acted as redemption for Austria, where Barrichello was forced to concede victory to Schumacher at the last corner in another one of F1’s closest and most controversial finishes. 

1971 Italian GP - Gethin pips Peterson by 0.010s 

The 1971 Italian Grand Prix at Monza remains the closest finish of all time in F1 history. The fact Peter Gethin and Ronnie Peterson crossed the line separated by just 0.010s is remarkable enough on its own, but to make things even more incredible, the top five all completed a drag to the line out of the Parabolica within 0.061s of each other. None of the top five had ever won an F1 race before and it turned out to be Gethin’s only grand prix victory of his career. 

 

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