5 F1 drivers who have made great career comebacks
F1 career comebacks are a real thing. We've often seen several greats of the sport come back with a bang and surprise the whole world with their dominance. The sport is clearly capable of awarding people a second chance.
Several high-profile drivers have lost their seats on the grid for one reason or the other. That, however, does not necessarily mark them as bad drivers. Especially not when they make a sounding comeback with maybe a much better team to shock the world with their real strength.
In light of recent events where eight-time Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo is possibly without a seat in F1 for next year, it is reported that he spoke to another driver about a sabbatical and a comeback later on. This is Dani Ric, once a potential candidate for the F1 title, and though he's currently in dismay, we're sure that if he decides to go, he'll come back like one of these greats.
#5 Kevin Magnussen's Viking return to F1
The Danish racing driver dreamt of an F1 title like many of his compatriots and was on the right path when he finished on the podium in his debut F1 race. Things, however, would take a turn for the worse when the driver wouldn't necessarily compete in the best of cars despite his talent.
Magnussen and Romain Grosjean were then dropped by Haas after 2020 to pick two rookies: Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin. K-Mag did not drive in the sport for a year, only to make a comeback when Guenther Steiner offered him a multi-year deal. He landed the previous season's backmarker Haas on P5 in the season opener itself, announcing his return.
Remarkably, he also beat Mick Schumacher and stands ahead of him in the current drivers' standings. And from the looks of it, K-Mag looks ready to stay for a few more years.
#4 Fernando Alonso's two-year hiatus from F1
The Spaniard made everyone emotional with his goodbye post doing donuts alongside Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton one last time. We were, however, wrong to assume that Alonso could indeed ever retire. The two-time world champion swooped in on the opportunity of a vacant seat at Alpine.
He spent two years there partnering with Esteban Ocon. The driver was phenomenal beyond his age as always and played a key role in Alpine's Hungary victory. Even now, Fernando Alonso has had great starts on the grid this season and will continue with Aston Martin for 2023.
#3 Michael Schumacher's gift to F1
Michael Schumacher finished second in 2006 and retired from the sport. The Formula 1 great stayed away from GP driving for about 3+ years before joining Mercedes for a short stint in 2010-2012. Though his comeback did not exactly award him top places in the competition, Schumacher's brilliance helped Mercedes through a lot.
He never finished higher than 8th in his three seasons with the team. Schumi, however, was a force to be reckoned with throughout, producing the most out of his car, taking pole positions, giving wheel-to-wheel battles, and even a podium. Though he retired from the sport again in 2012, his work with Mercedes produced some incredible memories. Lewis Hamilton later on replaced Schumacher and the rest is history.
#2 Alain Prost's jump to an F1 title post a sabbatical
Alain Prost needs no introduction. He is one of the biggest talents Formula 1 has ever come across winning 4 world championships during his time here. His fourth championship, however, gave the word 'comeback' a new meaning.
The 1991 season was a mess for the Frenchman. He did not like Ferrari F1-91 and got into arguments with the team. After going through a negative environment and tough public comments, the Scuderia dropped him and Prost took a sabbatical for the '92 season. When he returned, however, he was a charging force with Williams, winning the title by being 26 points ahead of Ayrton Senna and taking seven GP victories. Prost then retired for good post his win.
#1 Niki Lauda's unmatched determination
Who knew Niki Lauda had it in him when he came back in 1982 (after a four-year hiatus) and picked up his third title with McLaren in 1984? He had won 5 races that year to catapult himself to a third title victory before finally retiring from the sport in 1985.
What makes him special, however, is the fact that despite his horrific 1976 crash during the German GP (another comeback), he always fought for the highest finish in F1. Despite his almost life-threatening crash, the driver was back in his Ferrari after just six weeks with blood seeping from his bandages. Though he did not win that season, he lost by just a point. We highly doubt there's a greater comeback in the history of the sport.
Clearly, there are drivers and there are great drivers. Comebacks are not always easy and they don't always work out for everyone. These, however, were the few names that really moved us with their return.