John Watson: winning from the back

50 Years Of F1

Not many drivers have won from 22nd on the grid. At Long Beach in 1983, John Watson did exactly that. The same year, at Detroit, he started 17th and finished second.

But did you know the key was his distinctive helmet? “The most important aspect of those races was to catch, execute and move on as quickly as you could,” says Wattie today. “The longer you stayed behind a driver, the longer you gave that competitor in front strength. I had a fluorescent red helmet in my McLaren – so people knew that it was me. I would out-brake people, compromise my position but it didn’t matter as I made sure I f**ked up the other guy too!”

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