On This Day: 2020 Russian Grand Prix

The 2020 Russian Grand Prix will be the seventh Formula 1 race to have taken place on 27th September, and Russia will become the seventh different country to have held a Grand Prix on this date.


There have been six Grands Prix held so far on 27th September, with races having taken place all across the world. The 1981 Canadian Grand Prix, the 1987 Spanish Grand Prix, the 1992 Portuguese Grand Prix, the 1998 Luxembourg Grand Prix, the 2009 Singapore Grand Prix and the 2015 Japanese Grand Prix are the six previous races held on this date. Nelson Piquet is the only driver to have taken pole twice on this date, while both Nigel Mansell and Lewis Hamilton have won twice on 27th September. Mansell, in 1992, and Hamilton, in 2009, are the only two drivers to have won from pole on this day, while Mercedes in 2015 are the only team to have secured a 1-2 finish. A British driver has finished on the podium in all six races, while the polesitter has finished in the top five in all six events.

The first race to be held on 27th September was the 1981 Canadian Grand Prix. The result of this race saw Williams crowned Constructors’ Champions, despite neither of their cars scoring. It’s the only time a championship has been decided on this date. The race was won by Jacques Laffite and Ligier. It was the final victory of Laffite’s career and the last win for the Ligier team until Olivier Panis won the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix. It was in this race that Gilles Villeneuve drove around the circuit with his front wing fully obstructing his view. The 1981 Canadian race was the last time that the Montreal event was held at this time of year.

The 1987 Spanish Grand Prix was held at Jerez on 27th September 1987. Nigel Mansell won the race, while Alan Prost finished second. Prost’s 55th podium was a new record for most podium finishes in Formula 1 history. Stefan Johansson finished third, securing his tenth top three finish. Polesitter Nelson Piquet finished fourth. It was the final time that the Brazilian would start from pole in his career.

Five years later, the 1992 Portuguese Grand Prix was held at Estoril on 27th September. This race was notable for a huge crash for Riccardo Patrese, in which he hit advertising hoarding above the circuit after crashing into the back of Gerhard Berger’s McLaren. Nigel Mansell won the race and set a number of records in the process. With his 30th win, Mansell set a new record for most wins in a season, as well as a new record for most points scored in a season. It was also Mansell’s 29th pole position, seeing him surpass Juan Manuel Fangio as the driver to have scored the third-most poles in Formula 1. It was the 60th win and 50th pole for Williams. Ayrton Senna, who finished third, recorded the last fastest lap for a Honda-powered car until the 2016 Italian Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso complained about his “GP2 Engine” on this day in 2015. (Image: Keisuke Kariya, Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

The Luxembourg Grand Prix was staged for the final time on this day in 1998, though neither “Luxembourg Grand Prix” in the 1990s actually took place in Luxembourg. The two races were instead held at the Nurburgring. In 1998, Mika Hakkinen won from third on the grid, finishing two seconds ahead of title rival Michael Schumacher en route to being crowned World Champion for the first time at the next race. Jean Alesi celebrated his 150th start at this event, while the champion elect recorded McLaren’s 80th fastest lap.

The 2009 Singapore Grand Prix was the fifth race to be staged on 27th September. Lewis Hamilton won the second night race in less controversial circumstances than Fernando Alonso had won one year previously. Alonso finished third in this race, scoring his final podium finish with the Renault team before moving to Ferrari in 2010. Timo Glock and Heikki Kovalainen scored the last points of their careers in this race, with Glock also finishing on the podium for the last time.

The 2015 Japanese Grand Prix is the most recent race to be held on 27th September. The race marked a rare occurrence, where all the entrants reached the chequered flag. It was the first time that had happened since the 2011 European Grand Prix. Though Nico Rosberg took pole, it was Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton who won, scoring the team’s 40th Formula 1 victory.

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