Every driver wants to win their home Grand Prix – and nine drivers have been lucky enough to experience the winning feeling for the first time at their home circuit. We take a look at the drivers who claimed their maiden Formula 1 victory on home soil!
Note: this list does not include winners of the Indianapolis 500 who won the race when it counted towards the Drivers’ Championship between 1950 and 1960.
Stirling Moss was the first driver to record his maiden Formula 1 win on home soil, doing so at the 1955 British Grand Prix. Mercedes dominated the Aintree race, with their cars finishing 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. The lead of the race was shared between Moss and his World Champion team-mate Juan Manuel Fangio. A number of people – including Moss – believed that Fangio did not challenge Moss for the win, allowing him to take his first win at home. Fangio always denied those claims.
Tony Brooks shared a drive with Stirling Moss at the 1957 British Grand Prix in a drive which secured Brooks his first F1 win on home soil. While Brooks drove the Vanwall for the first 26 laps, Moss took over for the remaining 64 laps in the race. It was the final time that two drivers shared a win in Formula 1.
Ludovico Scarfiotti recorded his only World Championship race win on home soil at the 1966 Italian Grand Prix. Scarfiotti qualified behind Ferrari team-mate Mike Parkes. Four different drivers led the first four laps of the race, but Scarfiotti would go on to dominate for most of the race.
Like Scarfiotti, Carlos Pace claimed his only Grand Prix win at home. The 1975 Brazilian Grand Prix marked the third time that the event had been held as a World Championship race – and the third time in succession that the event was won by a home driver. While Emerson Fittipaldi won the race in 1973 and 1974, Pace took the honours in 1975, winning with the Brabham team. Following his untimely death in 1977, the Interlagos circuit was re-named in his honour.
Another driver who had the circuit at which they took their first F1 win named after them following their untimely death is Gilles Villeneuve. Then known as the Circuit Île Notre-Dame, 1978 was the first time that the Montreal track appeared on the calendar, having taken over hosting duties for the Canadian Grand Prix from Mosport Park.
Frenchman Jean-Pierre Jarier had looked set to take his maiden F1 win in the 1978 Canadian Grand Prix, having led from the start of the race. But with 20 laps remaining, Jarier suffered a loss of oil pressure and was out of the race. Much to the delight of the home crowd, that handed Villeneuve the lead and he went on to take his maiden win on home soil.
Jean-Pierre Jabouille was the sixth driver to record his first F1 win at home. He did so at the 1979 French Grand Prix, held at Dijon. The race is best remembered for an intense duel for second place between Gilles Villeneuve and Rene Arnoux – a battle which Villeneuve would win by just 0.24 seconds.
On a particularly good day for French motorsport, Jabouille took his first win in France, on French tyres, driving a French car with a French engine using French fuel. Jabouille made his first F1 entry in 1974 and made 26 starts before his maiden win. Highlighting the reliability factor in F1 in the 1970s, Jabouille’s win was only the seventh time he reached the chequered flag!
The next driver to take their first Grand Prix win at home was also a Frenchman. Alain Prost secured the first of his 51 career victories at the 1981 French Grand Prix. Prost had started from third place in the race, which was held at Dijon. Heavy rain forced the race to be stopped and restarted, with aggregate times deciding the result of the Grand Prix. Nelson Piquet had led the race until the stoppage, but Prost came out on top when the race resumed and scored his first Grand Prix victory.
Nigel Mansell took his first F1 race win at home – but not at the British Grand Prix. Mansell was victorious for the first time at the 1985 European Grand Prix, held at the Brands Hatch circuit. Mansell took the lead following Ayrton Senna’s first pit stop. Alain Prost secured his first World Championship as a result of this race. This was one of two times that Mansell won in Britain at a track other than Silverstone. He won at Brands Hatch again in 1986, when it hosted the British Grand Prix.
Johnny Herbert is the most recent driver to claim his maiden win on home turf. He was victorious with the Benetton team at the 1995 British Grand Prix. Herbert’s win came after a collision between title rivals Damon Hill and Michael Schumacher, with Hill attempting an over ambitious move on Herbert’s team-mate. Herbert went on to win two more races in his Formula 1 career, but this was to be his only victory at home.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. The blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics.
Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.