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Ranked - Top five memorable Imola moments

Ranked - Top five memorable Imola moments

F1 News

Ranked - Top five memorable Imola moments

Ranked - Top five memorable Imola moments

Formula 1 is back at Imola for the second time in two seasons for round two of this year's championship.

Lewis Hamilton's long-stinted strategy paid off last November as he benefited from a virtual safety car to make a pit stop and jump team-mate Valtteri Bottas through the pit window.

With hope Red Bull can again take the fight to Mercedes to produce another stirring race following a captivating season-opener in Bahrain, the prospect of doing so at one of the gems of the sport's history is tantalising.

The circuit is, of course, tragically renowned for the events of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix where Rubens Barrichello suffered a shocking accident on Friday before both Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna lost their lives to serious crashes.

With the horrific events of that weekend put to one side, GPFans takes a look at the five most memorable racing moments from Imola's history in the sport.

5. Schumacher's first Ferrari pole

Michael Schumacher and Ferrari had only just started what would become one of the most dominant eras in F1 history when the 1996 event was held.

The German flew around the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari to take his first pole position for the Scuderia in front of the delighted Tifosi. In fact, Schumacher had pushed so hard his suspension failed upon completing the lap.

A win did not follow, though, due to a brake disc explosion that fully locked his right-front tyre, forcing him to struggle home to second and earn a place in the hearts of the home support.

4. Hakkinen blunders at Bassa

"Oh! Off, off, off, off. Off goes Mika Hakkinen," yelled the late, great Murray Walker as Mika Hakkinen threw away his lead in 1999.

Hakkinen was the man to beat in the early stages of the season, taking his third pole position out of three for the San Marino GP after clinching victory in the second round at Interlagos.

On race day, the McLarens were in fantastic form, with the Finn building a lead of over 10 seconds to team-mate David Coulthard in second place.

But on lap 17, Hakkinen speared into the wall at Variante Bassa, gifting Coulthard the lead. Ferrari could smell blood and strategically out-performed its bitter rival with a two-stop strategy, allowing Schumacher to storm to the win.

3. Prost v Senna rivalry escalates

Everybody knows about Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna and THAT coming together at the final corner at Suzuka in 1989.

If you track back through the season, however, the root of the problems the pair suffered stemmed from Imola and a supposed gentleman's agreement between the McLaren team-mates.

It was understood that whichever driver led into turn one would be unchallenged by the other for the remainder of the race.

Whilst Senna led from the getaway, a red flag caused by Gerhard Berger's fiery incident at Tamburello meant a new standing start.

This time, Prost made a move past Senna, but the undeterred Brazilian sailed back down the outside of the former kink that led into the Tosa hairpin. The rift caused would be unrepairable, leading to the infamous Japanese GP controversy.

2. Ferrari's Tambay honours Villeneuve

In 1982, the relationship between Ferrari drivers Gilles Villeneuve and Didier Pironi broke down at Imola.

That particular race was already tarnished by the fact FISA and FOCA were involved in a political war that reduced the field to seven teams and 14 cars.

During the race, with Alboreto comfortably leading Pironi, the duo were instructed to slow down. The Canadian, believing positions would be maintained, was passed by the Frenchman on the final lap, much to his fury and a declaration he would never speak to him again.

Tragically, at the very next race in Belgium, Villeneuve was killed, leaving F1 without one of its biggest stars.

Fast forward a year and Patrick Tambay, who was close to Villeneuve, guided the number 27 Ferrari - Villeneuve's number - to victory in front of the Tifosi, sparking emotional celebrations around the circuit.

1. Alonso defeats Schumacher in mighty duel

The conclusion to the 2005 San Marino GP is right at the very top of all-time greatest race finishes.

Michael Schumacher had taken the lead via pit-stop strategy after starting 14th on the grid, but when the German made his final stop, Fernando Alonso stood between the seven-time champion and victory.

What followed for the final three laps of the race was nothing short of remarkable. Schumacher stuck to the gearbox of the Renault like a plaster, ducking and diving to try and find a way past.

Schumacher tried everything to overtake Alonso, even drawing alongside through Rivazza as traffic threatened to thwart the Spaniard.

Alonso eventually held on by the skin of his teeth and would go on to claim the first of two world championships.

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