The F1 drivers to have won the Indy 500 include five world champions

It’s a bumper weekend of motorsport as the Monaco Grand Prix and Indy 500 take place on the same day, but which F1 drivers have won the great American race?

Two legs of motorsport’s unofficial triple crown are taking place as the Monaco Grand Prix and Indianapolis 500 are being run.

Each are the jewels of their respective series as drivers value a Monaco or Indy win above most others.

But which F1 drivers have headed over to America to compete in the 500-miles at the Brickyard?

Who are those to have won it?

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F1 drivers to have won the Indy 500

Between 1950 and 1959, the Indy 500 was included on the F1 calendar, but drivers rarely took part.

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The bother of the expense of a month-long trip to the speedway wasn’t worth it as the race was only included to put the ‘world’ in world championship.

Although the winners of these races, such as 1950 winner Johnnie Parsons are included on the F1 wins list, for the purposes of this article, they are not counted.

In total, 12 different F1 drivers have won the Indy 500 – starting with Roger Ward.

Ward started 12 F1 races, although 10 of these were the Indy 500 itself.

However, he also competed in two pukka F1 races – the United States Grand Prix, so is counted.

He won the Indy 500 twice in 1959 and 1962.

In 1965, Jim Clark visited the Speedway and came away with the big prize for Lotus.

Clark was the dominant figure in F1, and is the only man to have won the Indy 500 and F1 world championship in the same year.

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The history maker

In 1966, Graham Hill, father of Damon, completed the second leg of the triple crown.

He was 1962 F1 world champion, and by winning at Indy in ’66, became the third F1 driver to have won the race.

Fast forward to 1972, and Hill would win the Le Mans 24 Hours – and complete the triple crown. No other driver has done it.

To round out the 1960s, Mario Andretti won the 1969 running, nine years before he’d become F1 world champion.

Andretti is the only man to have won the world championship, Indy 500 and NASCAR’s Daytona 500 and remains American motorsport royalty.

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Spin and win for F1 driver in iconic Indy 500 win

Mark Donohue teaming up with Roger Penske entered a handful of F1 races in the mid-1970s, but was killed at the 1975 Austrian GP.

His sole Indy 500 win came in 1972.

There’d be a gap of 13 years before the next F1 driver would win the Indy 500.

Dany Sullivan famously spun and won the 1985 race, two years after his sole F1 season.

He chased down Andretti after the 360 ​​spin to claim the win.

F1 driver controversy in Indy 500

Emerson Fittipaldi, the 1972 and 1974 world champion is a double Indy 500 winner, claiming it in 1989 and 1993.

However, after that second win, defeating reigning world champion Nigel Mansell after a late caution, Fittipaldi broke with tradition by not drinking milk.

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He drank orange juice instead, something the crowd still has not forgiven him for.

Two years later, Jacques Villeneuve would win the 1995 Indy 500, before switching to F1 with Williams for ’96, winning the title in ’97.

Indy 500 F1 winners in current field

Juan Pablo Montoya took the milk in 2000 and again in 2015 for Penske.

JPM was only in F1 for six years between 2001 and 2006, and challenged for the title in 2003, but fell just short.

His last F1 race was at Indy in 2006.

In 2015, Alexander Rossi competed in a handful of F1 races for Manor, before switching to Andretti Autosport – and he won the Indy 500 as a rookie!

Come 2016, I have eked out the fuel to claim the spoils in the 100th running of the great race.

The 12th and final F1 driver to have won the Indy 500 is Takuma Sato.

Claiming his only F1 podium at Indy in 2004, Sato is a two-time winner having drunk the milk in 2017 and again in 2020.

That 2020 race was ran behind closed doors as the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

F1 winners of the Indy 500

  • Roger Ward – 1959, 1962
  • Jim Clark – 1965
  • Graham Hill – 1966
  • Mark Donohue – 1972
  • Danny Sullivan-1985
  • Emerson Fittipaldi – 1989, 1993
  • Jacques Villeneuve – 1995
  • Juan Pablo Montoya – 2000, 2015
  • Alexander Rossi – 2016
  • Takuma Satō – 2017, 2020

Clark, Hill, Fittipaldi and Villeneuve are the F1 world champions.

In 2022, the likes of Romain Grosjean and Marcus Ericsson have the chance to be the 13th F1 driver to have won the Indy 500.

Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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