Moss would in fact retire and Brabham finish fourth after famously pushing his Cooper over the line when it ran out the fuel.
The Brit was known for having a rapid yet controlled approach to driving, and so underwent a two-minute pitstop to inspect the damage. He would valiantly fight back from 15th to third but it wasn’t enough to take the title.
“I resolved never to risk my life driving a sub-standard car beyond the limits of its capabilities,” he told Simon Taylor in 2013. “Von Trips had hit my right rear wheel and suspension. It would have been much easier to keep going, but I’m proud that I made myself stop. I knew it’d put paid to my title chances, but I had to be true to my resolution.”
Contrasts could be made with Hamilton at Saudi Arabia last weekend who, wisely or foolishly, carried on with his damaged front wing, shedding bits of carbon fibre as he went.
Graham Hill / Lorenzo Bandini – 1964 Mexican GP
Jim Clark had it the toughest out of his rivals as the F1 circus pulled into Mexico – the Scot had to win the race to stand any chance of being crowned. Graham Hill could afford to take it relatively easy, ‘only’ needing finish third to take the title as long as Surtees didn’t win, a scenario which would hand ‘Il Grande John’ the championship.
Then, a series of unfortunate events for everyone but Surtees unfolded. Early on Hill was duelling for third with Lorenzo Bandini, while his Ferrari team-mate Surtees was running a distant fifth. Then the crucial crash came.
The Italian accidentally ran into the back of Hill’s BRM, sending it into the barriers and damaging his exhaust. Hill would send Bandini an LP vinyl of advanced driving lessons for Christmas in dry response.
Having started from pole, Clark was now leading with the championship seemingly his before his Lotus agonisingly broke down on the last lap.
Ferrari then ordered Bandini, who was occupying second after his early prang, to let Surtees past with a few corners to go, meaning the Brit stole the championship from under Hill’s nose by one point.
Ayrton Senna / Alain Prost – 1989 Japanese GP
It was 25 years before a shunt again contributed to the outcome of a title showdown, and the images associated with the next one are perhaps the most recognisable in F1’s history.
Removing the Gurney flap on his McLaren’s rear wing meant the Frenchman had superior straight-line speed at Suzuka, managing to jump his pole-sitting team-mate to take the lead and leave Senna in pursuit.