Changes to tracks and technical regulations mean the progression in Formula 1 lap
speed records has been erratic, with the last record-breaking era occurring in 2004.
It took until 2004 at
Monza for anyone –
Barrichello in a Ferrari
(LEFT) – to finally set a
faster pole speed than
Keke Rosberg achieved
in 1985 at Silverstone
earned him P1
(BELOW RIGHT) but
wasn’t the fastest lap of
The squat yellow, blue and white car blasts
into view. On the brakes for the entry to the
rapid right-left-right, its pilot is a rodeo rider,
hanging on, coaxing the growling, popping
machine into a chicane so rapid that it’s
better described as an S-bend.
He heaves the front end toward the
first apex, fighting the understeer of a car
that does not want to turn in. It’s far from
pretty, but the Williams F W10, powered by
a brutal 1.5-liter Honda V6 turbo kicking
out around 1,250hp in qualifying trim,
monsters over the curbing and bullets
toward the finish line.
“The thing just didn’t turn in, that’s
why I ran wide,” said its driver, 1982
World Champion Keke Rosberg, later that
day. “It took me completely by surprise. I
had a slow puncture on the left front.”
A few moments later, it’s confirmed.
Not only has Rosberg taken pole position
for the 1985 British Grand Prix at
Silverstone by over seven tenths of a
second, he’s set a lap time of 1m05.591s,
better remembered as an average speed
of 160.925mph. Impressive, even before
you take into account that it had just
started to rain on a track that was already
damp in places, notably at Stowe corner.