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F1: 5 Most Unlikely Race Winners 

Maldonado secured a famous win in 2012
Maldonado secured a famous win in 2012
George Howson
Modified 13 Jan 2019
Top 5 / Top 10

Formula 1 is, by nature, usually a predictable sport in relation to who wins these days. With cars more reliable than ever and overtaking a difficult venture, the fastest driver in the fastest car wins most of the races in a season.

That being said, unreliabilty, luck and other circumstances can make for some surprise results, even for the top step of the podium. There have been some huge shocks during F1's near-seventy year history, far too many to fully go through on this list.

From a team debut win to Williams' most recent race win, here are five of the most surprising winners in Formula 1 history.

#5 Jody Scheckter (Argentina 1977)

Future World Champion, Scheckter (seated, centre) stunned the F1 world on Wolf
Future World Champion, Scheckter (seated, centre) stunned the F1 world on Wolf's debut

The opening round of the 1977 Formula 1 season was held at Argentina's Buenos Aires circuit and Jody Scheckter started in an unspectacular 11th place in Wolf Racing's first race.

The Argentine track was always a car breaker, especially with it usually hosting the first round of the season.

Polesitter and defending champion, James Hunt, led in the early stages but dropped out due to a suspension failure on Lap 31 of 53. John Watson inherited the lead but he too succumbed to suspension troubles 10 laps later.

Watson's teammate, Carlos Pace took the lead but struggled due to overheating in his cockpit and was coming under attack from Scheckter's Wolf.


The Wolfman pounced and went into P1, a position he'd hold until the checkered flag. He ended up winning ahead of Pace by a huge 43 seconds, hardly a win that the South African limped to the finish for.

This was a real race of attrition, as only five cars finished the race, but don't downplay what Walter Wolf's team achieved that weekend.

Of course, strange results were more common back in the 1970's and before, as Wolf became the fourth constructor to win on their F1 debut.

Three other constructors had achieved the feat of a debut win and Brawn would famously do it again in 2009 but this was the most shocking of all because absolutely nobody expected it.

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Published 13 Jan 2019, 20:19 IST
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