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Sunday, 15 December 2019

Formula One's top 10 title deciding showdowns

Reuters, Monday 17 Nov 2014
German Formula One driver Nico Rosberg
German Formula One driver Nico Rosberg poses with his Sport trophy during the Bambi 2014 media awards ceremony in Berlin November 13, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
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Sunday's season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will decide the Formula One title, with Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg fighting for the crown.

Since 1950, there have been 27 last race deciders. The following looks at 10 of the best in chronological order.

1950 - Italian Grand Prix, Monza

The seventh round of the season was a three-way title battle between Alfa Romeo team mates Juan Manuel Fangio, of Argentina, and Italians Luigi Fagioli and Nino Farina. Fangio had led the standings but suffered two retirements and failed to score, while Farina won the race and first F1 title.

1959 - U.S. Grand Prix, Sebring (Florida)

Jack Brabham ran out of fuel and pushed his car across the line to finish fourth and become Australian's first world champion. Three drivers started with a chance of taking the title: Brabham and Britons Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks. The race was won by New Zealander Bruce McLaren, his first.

1964 - Mexican Grand Prix

Another three-way battle, this time all-British and between motorcycle champion John Surtees, Jim Clark and Graham Hill. Hill had led the championship but his hopes disappeared in a collision, Clark retired with a seized engine and Surtees, let through by team mate Lorenzo Bandini, finished second to become the first man to win titles on two wheels and four.

1976 - Japanese Grand Prix, Fuji

One of the most famous showdowns. Ferrari's Niki Lauda led McLaren's James Hunt by three points after an astonishingly brave comeback by the Austrian from a fiery near-fatal crash at the Nuerburgring. Torrential rain made conditions treacherous, with Lauda saying they were too dangerous and withdrawing on the second lap. Hunt finished third and took the title by a point.

1984 - Portuguese Grand Prix

The smallest winning margin in Formula One history, with Lauda beating McLaren team mate Alain Prost by half a point (the result of the Monaco Grand Prix being stopped early). The Frenchman won the race but Lauda, like Hamilton now, needed only to finish second, which he did. It was his third title.

1986 - Australian Grand Prix, Adelaide

Britain's Nigel Mansell was the favorite to win a three-way battle with McLaren's Prost and Williams team mate Nelson Piquet. Mansell was on course for the title until a blown tire ended his hopes spectacularly 19 laps from the end. Williams pitted Piquet as a precaution and Prost took his second title.

1994 - Australian Grand Prix, Adelaide

Michael Schumacher won the first of his seven championships in hugely controversial style after turning into title rival Damon Hill as the Briton tried to pass. Both had to retire, handing Schumacher the title by a single point.

1997 - European Grand Prix. Jerez

Another major controversy involving Schumacher, then with Ferrari, who was excluded from the championship classification after trying to take out Canadian Jacques Villeneuve while fighting for the lead. The German had led by a point but retired while his rival finished third to clinch the title.

2008 - Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo

Hamilton clinched a dramatic first title by a single point after the then-McLaren driver secured fifth place in the race with an overtake at the last corner of the last lap just when all

2010 - Abu Dhabi

The first four-way finale, with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso leading Australian Mark Webber by eight points while Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and McLaren's Hamilton were also in the reckoning. A strategy error cost Alonso the race while Vettel won to become the youngest champion at 23 years old.          

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