2015 saw a new kid on the block, Max Verstappen, quickly establish himself as the new overtaking specialist in the sport. His pure aggression, quick speed and sharp lines are reminiscent of some Formula One champions of old - among them the best names in the sport - Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna among them, both of whom were known, among other things, for exactly that.Here, we look at 5 of the greatest overtakes in the sport, each one featuring a world champion:
#5 Sebastian Vettel on Fernando Alonso, Italian Grand Prix
Long enough ago that Sebastian Vettel was then only a one-time world champion, the young Red Bull driver had already shown his mettle and an aggression another German driver had been known for.
The two had also been top on the championship standings for that year, with Vettel holding a gaping maw of a lead over the then-Ferrari driver, who was in third behind Vettel’s own teammate Mark Webber.
The scene was set at one of F1’s historically revered circuits, and one of its highest-speed tracks – Monza.
An utterly dominant Vettel, who had led proceedings from the beginning of Free Practice, continued his run well into qualifying, finishing on pole. Despite a strategic push by Ferrari to have both their drivers finish up the grid in the qualifying session, they failed, with Alonso, the reigning champion at the race for Ferrari, qualifying in 4th and his teammate Felipe Massa in 7th.
Despite this, Alonso managed a quick march and an early lead, but he wouldn’t be able to hold on to it for long. An eventual 4-car collision, one that resulted from Vitantonio Liuzzi of HRT spinning out and taking out Heikki Kovalainen, and eventually Nico Rosberg and Vitaly Petrov as a result of the first crash, saw safety cars brought out and racing suspendedwith drivers moving across track in formation.
Vettel used the situation to his advantage with a gutsy move on Alonso at a track known for its speed and corners, much like Spa, and seized his lead right back.
The young German chased Alonso into the iconic Parabolica, dogging him closely enough that he appeared to be inches from the Spaniard’s exhaust. At Parabolica, Vettel took the outside line and seized the lead from Alonso, then proceeding to widen that gap
With Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton locked in an intense battle further down the grid, Jenson Button, in 5th, took a march over both of them to then chase Alonso – and in the final 10 laps of the race did so, with Alonso eventually finishing in third.
It was Vettel’s aggressive driving, though, that would eventually give him top spot with a staggering 9.5 second lead over Button’s McLaren in P2.