Virtually everyone loves a good Formula 1 underdog story. Psychology researchers claim that this is so due to a phenomenon called schadenfreude, which means experiencing pleasure on account of the misfortune of others.
Favourites get perceived as privileged parties, so most people enjoy watching them fail.
In essence, people aren’t rooting for the underdog but for the most dominant contestant to not succeed. The same logic applies in gaming floors when a person gets lucky at slots or the blackjack table.
Big upsets and Formula 1 often do not go together
Onlookers cheer because they believe that if one person overcame the house’s advantage and profited, that means that they can do the same. Naturally, today, most gamblers do their betting online due to the proliferation of US and Canada online casino bonuses that offer vast amounts of free-play cash.
Since now it is clear why people cheer for those who face massive challenges, let us look at some of the most dramatic surprises in modern Formula 1 World Championship racing.
Unfortunately, these days big upsets and Formula 1 often do not go together, as if the cars in a race maintain places, and the favorites usually find a way onto the podium.
That said, there have been several times when fans have had their jaws on the floor, watching unassuming racers cross the finish line first. Below, we examine three such cases.
Olivier Panis Triumphs in Monaco – 1996
Young Formula 1 fans likely have no idea who Olivier Panis is. For those out of the loop, he was a French driver who participated in ten seasons of Formula 1, driving for Ligier, Honda, and Toyota. His first season was in 1994, debuting at the Brazilian Grand Prix, and he concluded his Formula 1 career in 2004 at the Japanese one.
Following his F1 stint, Panis continued racing in the Le Mans Series and worked on the French A1 Grand Prix team. Panis’ sole F1 win came in the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix, where he started 14th but when on to win as he was one of only three cars to finish the race.
Coulthard and Herbert were among several drivers that experienced terminal technical difficulties during the competition.
Maldonado Wins the Spanish Grand Prix – 2012
Venezuelan driver Pastor Rafael Maldonado may no longer be competing in Formula One but remains in the memory of fans for his maiden and only Formula 1 victory in 2012 at the twenty-second Spanish Grand Prix.
It was the single time that the then Williams driver made it onto the podium. He started the race in the pole position after Lewis Hamilton got excluded from the qualifying results because he had less fuel in his car than allowed.
Despite beginning the race first, bookmakers still gave Maldonado a one hundred to one shot of winning. He proved all doubters wrong and maintained his car at the front of the pack from start to finish.
Damon Hill Taking Second Place in Hungary – 1997
Unlike the previous two drivers, Damon Hill is a former F1 Champion with twenty-two Grand Prix wins under his belt. Following his 1996 winning season, he got dropped by Williams and had to join the TWR Arrows team in 1997.
Arrows were off to a horrible start that year, notching a series of retirements. So, by the time Hungaroring came around, Hill and his Yamaha-powered car faced odds of 250 to one. Nevertheless, Hill quickly took the lead in Hungary.
Yet, the unreliability of his vehicle came into effect with three laps remaining as his hydraulic pump failed, sticking him in third gear. Still, Hill managed to come in second place, achieving a staggering success for Arrows.