Anyone who had money on Sebastian Vettel to win last year’s Canadian Grand Prix would have been left heartbroken by his last-lap stumble which handed the win to Jenson Button. But this was nothing new at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve: Vettel is the latest in a long line of drivers to lose seemingly certain wins in the closing stages of the Canadian Grand Prix. Here are half-a-dozen drivers who hit trouble – some of which lost wins on the very last lap.
Sebastian Vettel, 2011 Canadian Grand Prix
Vettel was in charge for all bar one of the first 69 laps of last year’s Canadian Grand Prix. He looked on course for a routine win, unfazed by a two-hour race stoppage due to a downpour and a total of five safety car interruptions caused by crashes and collisions behind him.
Beginning the final lap, Vettel was under pressure from Button, who had recovered from falling to last place. The Red Bull driver knew his best chance of hanging on to victory was to stay a second clear, denying Button the opportunity to use his speed-boosting Drag Reduction System to pass him before the final corner.
But heading into the left-hander at Pont de la Concorde for the final time, Vettel asked too much of his worn tyres and slithered wide. Button was through in a flash to snatch victory.
Nigel Mansell, 1991 Canadian Grand Prix
Mansell began his final lap of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with almost a minute in hand over second-placed Nelson Piquet. Seemingly assured of his first win of the season, he had already begun waving to the crowd. But as he rounded the hairpin for the final time his car died, and Mansell's cheery waves turned into furious wheel-thumping.
Exactly what happened to his car on the final lap was a matter of some speculation. Williams claimed the gearbox had failed – a fault which ended Mansell’s first two races that year. Claims the driver had, in fact, accidentally switched his engine off, were strenuously denied by the man himself.
Ayrton Senna, 1989 Canadian Grand Prix
Unreliability stymied Senna’s title assault in 1989. Two weeks after retiring from the lead in Phoenix, the same thing happened again in Canada, this time when he was three laps from home. It handed Thierry Boutsen his first F1 victory in a soaking wet race.
Mario Andretti, 1977 Canadian Grand Prix
Andretti had come out on top of a race-long battle with James Hunt and was leading by a lap in the final Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport Park. But his Lotus’s Ford-Cosworth engine failed with 12 laps to go, handing the Wolf team their final victory courtesy of Jody Scheckter.
Niki Lauda, 1974 Canadian Grand Prix
Victory was essential for Lauda at Mosport Park in 1974 as he strove to stay in contention for the championship. He had the race under control, leading comfortably as he began lap 68. But he hit debris on the track at turn three, crashed, and was out of the title battle. Eventual champion Emerson Fittipaldi inherited the win.
Chris Amon, 1968 Canadian Grand Prix
The luckless Amon is widely regarded as one of the best drivers never to win a round of the world championship. One of his many near-wins slipped through his grasp at Mont Tremblant in 1968. He led 72 laps for Ferrari before his transmission failed, gifting victory to McLaren’s Denny Hulme.
Canadian Grand Prix early odds
Vettel is priced at 6.0 to make amends for that lost win with a victory this weekend. Button, who’s qualified outside the top ten in the last two races, is priced at 9.0 to repeat his 2011 triumph. McLaren have won the last two races here, and Lewis Hamilton has the shortest odds to win at 4.5, despite not having won a race so far this year.
Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic