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Top 10 moments in Spanish GP history

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Top 10 moments in Spanish GP history
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May 8, 2019, 2:24 PM

With speculation pointing to the Dutch Grand Prix replacing Spain on the Formula 1 calendar in 2020, it is possible this weekend's race in Barcelona could be the last in the country for a while.

It will bring the curtain down on a grand prix that has delivered its fair share of shocks, spectacular moments and controversy through the years.

Here, Motorsport.com looks back at some of the most magical moments from the Spanish GP.

1991: Senna vs Mansell

Nigel Mansell, Williams; Ayrton Senna, McLaren

Nigel Mansell, Williams; Ayrton Senna, McLaren

Photo by: Rainer W. Schlegelmilch

The damp 1991 Spanish Grand Prix produced one of the event's most iconic moments when Nigel Mansell drafted past Ayrton Senna down the main straight for second place early in the race – with sparks and vapour trails pouring off both cars.

1986: Senna pulls one of the closest finishes ever

Ayrton Senna, Lotus; Nigel Mansell, Williams

Ayrton Senna, Lotus; Nigel Mansell, Williams

Photo by: LAT Images

Ayrton Senna held off a late charge from Nigel Mansell to produce one of the closest finishes in F1 history at the 1986 Spanish Grand Prix. His winning margin of 0.014 seconds came thanks to some brilliant defensive driving after his Williams rival pitted late on for fresh rubber.

1981: Villeneuve holds off the train

Gilles Villeneuve, Ferrari; Jacques Laffite, Ligier; John Watson, McLaren; Carlos Reutemann, Williams; Elio de Angelis, Lotus

Gilles Villeneuve, Ferrari; Jacques Laffite, Ligier; John Watson, McLaren; Carlos Reutemann, Williams; Elio de Angelis, Lotus

Photo by: LAT Images

Gilles Villeneuve produced a defensive master-class to take his final F1 win in the last Spanish GP that would take place at Jarama. Under immense pressure from Ligier’s Jacques Laffite in the closing stages of the race, the Ferrari driver exploited his power advantage to stay clear on the straights despite his struggles in the corners – and a train of cars followed him home. It was so close fifth placed Elio de Angelis was just 1.24 seconds behind at the chequered flag.

2016: Rosberg and Hamilton collide

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid collide on the opening lap of the race

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid collide on the opening lap of the race

Photo by: LAT Images

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff found himself having to deal with a bit of a headache at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix when teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg’s troubled relationship spilled over to an opening lap collision that took them both out. Rosberg had been in the wrong engine mode which meant Hamilton unexpectedly closed in on him – and triggered the huge controversy.

1994: Schumacher stuck in fifth gear

Damon Hill, Williams; Michael Schumacher, Benetton; Mark Blundell, Tyrrell

Damon Hill, Williams; Michael Schumacher, Benetton; Mark Blundell, Tyrrell

Photo by: Sutton Images

Michael Schumacher may not have won the 1994 race, with Damon Hill taking Williams’ first win since the death of Ayrton Senna, but his second place was an heroic performance. For it emerged after the race that he had been stuck in fifth gear for much of the grand prix – having brilliantly adjusted his lines and corner speeds to not lose too much pace.

1996: Schumacher's first Ferrari win

Winner Michael Schumacher, Ferrari F310 takes the flag

Winner Michael Schumacher, Ferrari F310 takes the flag

Photo by: Sutton Images

Michael Schumacher was greeted with a difficult car to drive in 1996 after he made the switch to Ferrari, with rivals Williams enjoying a good competitive advantage early in the season. But a downpour in Spain proved a great machinery leveller, and the German was in a class of his own as he took his first victory for the Prancing Horse.

2001: Hakkinen's last-lap despair

David Coulthard, McLaren and Mika Hakkinen, McLaren

David Coulthard, McLaren and Mika Hakkinen, McLaren

Photo by: LAT Images

Mika Hakkinen appeared to have the 2001 Spanish Grand Prix in his pocket as he started the last lap in the lead and well clear of title rival Michael Schumacher. But he would not make it around to take the chequered flag as a hydraulic leak triggered a clutch failure that put him out of the race. The Finn was left heartbroken and stranded at the side of the track before his teammate David Coulthard delivered him back to the pits.

2012: Maldonado's shock win

Podium: race winner Pastor Maldonado, Williams, second place Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, and third place Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus F1

Podium: race winner Pastor Maldonado, Williams, second place Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, and third place Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus F1

Photo by: Sutton Images

F1 has thrown up is fair share of surprise winners in the past, but they have normally come through crazy races or weird circumstance. Pastor Maldonado’s shock triumph in Spain in 2012 was down to pure performance though, as he and Williams outsmarted Fernando Alonso to produce a win that very few expected.

2016: Verstappen wins on Red Bull debut

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st Position, sprays the Champagne

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st Position, sprays the Champagne

Photo by: Andrew Hone / LAT Images

When Daniil Kvyat was dumped back from Red Bull to Toro Rosso after a difficult start to 2016, and Max Verstappen moved the other way, few imagined how quick the change would pay off. But on a day when title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg collided, Verstappen capitalised to take his maiden F1 victory at the 2016 Spanish GP.

1976: Hunt wins race on court of appeal

James Hunt, McLaren

James Hunt, McLaren

Photo by: David Phipps

James Hunt’s victory over Niki Lauda at the 1976 Spanish Grand Prix lasted until his car was pushed to the scrutineering bay at Jarama. Race officials disqualified his McLaren for being too wide – but the matter went to appeal. In the end, McLaren won and the victory was reinstated. The result proved decisive in that year’s title battle.

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Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble