The Longest Gap Between First and Second Place
Two-time world champion Jim Clark is widely considered to be one of the all-time great racing drivers. At the time of his early death at the age of 32 in 1968, when he was killed in a Formula Two accident, Clark had gained more Grand Prix pole positions than any other racing driver. But his strangest record dates from the 1963 Belgian Grand Prix. Clark led every lap and he lapped every driver except for Bruce McLaren who was in second place. Having started in eighth position, Clark quickly jumped ahead into the lead and ended up finishing a massive four minutes and fifty-four minutes ahead of McLaren, making it the longest gap between first and second place drivers ever in Formula One.
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The Hills Are Alive with Synchronicity
Many father and son duos have competed in Formula One over the years, and Graham and Damon Hill are arguably the greatest. Both achieved world championship titles. Graham Hill sadly died before his son Damon began his own racing career.
A year after beginning his Grand Prix career, in 1992, Damon Hill raced with Brabham, as his father once had. In his final race with Brabham, Damon Hill wore the same helmet design as his father had worn in his last race with Brabham, and amazingly, Damon came in eleventh place; precisely the position Graham Hill had finished at in his own last race for Brabham twenty years earlier.
Too Close to Call
There are few Formula One records that are truly unbeatable, but it looks incredibly unlikely that the following strange record will ever be equalled or surpassed.
The 1997 European Grand Prix saw the closest qualifying session of all time. The season finale saw Jacques Villeneuve, Michael Schumacher and Heinz-Harald Frentzen all lapping the 4.4 km circuit in the exact same time of 1 minute and 21.072 seconds. Villeneuve was eventually put on the pole when officials determined that the finishing order should be set by who registered his lap first.
Heyer’s DNQ, DNF, and DSQ Record
While German racing driver Hans Heyer saw considerable success from the 1960s to the 1980s, in touring cars and later in sportscars, he is perhaps most memorable for his one and only Formula One race.
With little experience driving single-seater cars, Heyer entered the German Grand Prix of 1977 but did not qualify. However, he was the first reserve; in case another driver dropped out of the competition. Although no drivers did drop out, Heyer decided to start the race anyway. He crept out of the pits without any officials even realising. It was only after ten laps, when Heyer’s gearbox failed, that the officials realised he should not be in the race. He was then immediately disqualified, and Heyer never competed in another race in a single-seater. Heyer’s antics mean he is the only driver in Formula One history to be credited with a Did Not Qualify, Did Not Finish, and Disqualified for the same race.