On this day in motor sport – May 18-24


This week in motor sport, from the database

May 19 // May 20 // May 21 // May 22 // May 23 // May 24

May 18

1914  Swiss nobleman Emmanuel “Toulo” de Graffenried was born in Paris in 1914. An amateur racing driver prior to World War II, de Graffenried won the 1949 British Grand Prix at Silverstone driving Scuderia Platé’s Maserati 4CLT/48. He started 22 GPs after the World Championship began a year later, with fourth in at Spa-Francorchamps in 1953 his best result. A regular in the Formula 1 paddocks long after his retirement, de Graffenried died in 2007.

1952  The 1952 World Championship began with the Swiss Grand Prix at Bremgarten. With Alberto Ascari absent at Indianapolis, Piero Taruffi scored his only such victory after Ferrari team-mate Giuseppe Farina retired from the lead. Rudolf Fischer finished second in a privately entered Ferrari 500 with Jean Behra third for Gordini.

1958  Team Lotus made its championship debut 60 years ago in Monaco with Cliff Allison sixth after Graham Hill retired. Tony Brooks’ Vanwall started from pole position and Jean Behra (BRM), Mike Hawthorn (Ferrari) and Stirling Moss (Vanwall) all led before retiring. That left Maurice Trintignant in Rob Walker’s Cooper-Climax to win the race for the second time. Luigi Musso and Peter Collins were second and third for Ferrari after a race of attrition.

1967  Three-time Grand Prix winner Heinz-Harald Frentzen was born in 1967. A member of the Sauber-Mercedes junior team in sports cars, Frentzen graduated to Formula 1 with the Swiss team in 1994. Three promising seasons were enough to persuade Frank Williams to replace World Champion Damon Hill with Frentzen in 1997. The German won the San Marino GP and finished as runner-up, behind team-mate Jacques Villeneuve after Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher was disqualified. Frentzen moved to Jordan after a disappointing second season with Williams and emerged as a surprise challenger for the 1999 title thanks to two victories.

1980  The 1980 Monaco Grand Prix began with Derek Daly’s airborne Tyrrell (pictured, above) eliminating team-mate Jean-Pierre Jarier and two other cars at Ste Devote and ended with a tenth career victory for Carlos Reutemann. Didier Pironi qualified his Ligier on pole position and dominated before crashing in Casino Square when his car jumped out of gear. Alan Jones had already retired from second, so it was his Williams team-mate who won by over a minute.

May 19

1928  It is 90 years since Lotus founder and sometime racing driver Colin Chapman was born in Richmond, Surrey. One of the most original thinkers in Formula 1 history, Chapman’s Team Lotus won six drivers’ titles and seven constructors’ cups during the 1960s and 1970s. Just 54 years old, Chapman suffered a fatal heart attack while returning from a meeting of the F1 Commission in Paris on December 16 1982.

1973  Dario Franchitti was born in Edinburgh on this day in 1973. A star of the DTM series during the mid-1990s, he graduated to Champ Cars in 1997 and it was in America that he became a household name. He tied Juan Pablo Montoya in the 1999 standings but lost the title on ‘countback’. His Andretti Green Racing team switched to the rival Indy Racing League in 2003 and Franchitti won the Indianapolis 500 and Indycar title for the team in 2007. An unsuccessful season as part of Chip Ganassi’s NASCAR line-up was followed by a return to Indycars and further success – champion for three years in a row and now a three-time Indy 500 winner.

1996  Ligier’s Olivier Panis came from 14th on the grid to score a shock victory in the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix. Michael Schumacher qualified on pole position but crashed on the wet track exiting Le Portier on the opening lap. On a drying track, Damon Hill and then Jean Alesi both retired from the lead so it was Panis who scored Ligier’s first victory since 1981. David Coulthard was second for McLaren-Mercedes in a helmet borrowed from Schumacher. Just four cars were still circulating at the finish.

2014  Triple World Champion Sir Jack Brabham died four years ago. His successes included the unique feat of winning the 1966 title in a car that bore his name. He won 14 of the 126 Grands Prix he entered in a Formula 1 career that lasted from 1955 to retirement in 1970. He raced at Indianapolis on four occasions including his groundbreaking debut in 1961. That hailed the beginning of the “British Invasion” of the Brickyard.

May 20

1916  Back-to-back French Grand Prix winner and star of the Peugeot team, Georges Boillot was killed when shot down while serving in the French Air Service during World War I. Boillot’s GP victories in the 1912 and 1913 races made him the hero of France and he led again in 1914 only to face bitter defeat to Christian Lautenschlager and Mercedes. Boillot joined the French Army within a month of that epic race and he served with distinction having transferred to the air force.

1962  Graham Hill scored his breakthrough Grand Prix victory in the opening race of 1962 at Zandvoort. John Surtees qualified a Lola-Climax on pole position but it was Jim Clark’s radical Lotus 25-Climax that led from the start. He retired with clutch problems and Hill reeled off the remaining 58 laps to the finish. Trevor Taylor was second for Lotus – his best result in a championship race.

May 21

1978  Mario Andretti gave the ground-effect Lotus 79-Ford its debut at Zolder 40 years ago and dominated. Ronnie Peterson’s old Lotus 78 suffered a puncture but he recovered from the subsequent pitstop to complete a 1-2 for the team. Carlos Reutemann and Gilles Villeneuve finished third and fourth for Ferrari, but Andretti and the 79 were in a class of their own.

May 22

1955  The Monaco Grand Prix returned to the Formula 1 calendar for the first time since 1950. Stirling Moss had seemed certain to score his breakthrough victory once Mercedes team-mate Juan Manuel Fangio retired but a couple of minutes changed the complexion of the contest. With 20 laps to go, Moss’ engine blew up and the second-place Lancia of Alberto Ascari crashed into the harbour, without injury. So it was Ferrari’s Maurice Trintignant who celebrated a surprise maiden victory.

1961  After the disappointment of defeat in Monte Carlo, Ferrari dominated the Dutch Grand Prix with Wolfgang von Trips winning for the first time. Phil Hill qualified on pole position and finished second with the Lotus-Climaxes of Jim Clark and Monaco victor Stirling Moss third and fourth, Moss having passed Richie Ginther’s Ferrari on the last lap. Famously, there were no retirements or pitstops during two hours of racing.

1966  Bruce McLaren gave his eponymous marque its Formula 1 debut at Monaco in 1966. Just four cars finished the first race of the 3-litre formula, three of which were 1916cc BRM P261s. Jackie Stewart scored his second victory when 40.2sec ahead of Lorenzo Bandini’s Ferrari with team-mate Graham Hill third despite a slipping clutch. Bob Bondurant completed the finishers in a private BRM when lapped five times.

1977  Jody Scheckter’s Wolf led all the way in Monaco to score the 100th victory for the Ford-Cosworth DFV engine. John Watson qualified his Brabham-Alfa Romeo on pole position and harried the South African before gearbox issues and a spin ended his challenge. Ferrari finished second and third, with Lauda less than a second behind Scheckter at the finish – as the Wolf ran low on fuel.

May 23

1972  Rubens Barrichello was born in 1972 close to the Interlagos circuit at which he would later star. The popular young Brazilian showed promise with Jordan and Stewart before signing for Ferrari as Michael Schumacher’s team-mate from 2000. That coincided with Schumacher’s five-year domination of the World Championship during which time Barrichello won nine Grands Prix. Under no illusion as to his status within the team, Barrichello moved to Honda in 2006 and scored a couple of victories for the re-branded Brawn Grand Prix team three years later. He retired from Formula 1 at the end of 2011 after a couple of seasons in the midfield with Williams.

1982  Riccardo Patrese survived the calamitous closing stages to win the 1982 Monaco Grand Prix for Brabham. René Arnoux spun his Renault out of an early lead and team-mate Alain Prost crashed as rain fell with a couple of laps to go. Patrese then spun (but was push started as he was in a dangerous position), Didier Pironi’s battery failed and Andrea de Cesaris ran out of fuel. Patrese recovered to win for the first time. If he had not restarted, the Lotus-Fords of Nigel Mansell and Elio de Angelis would have unlapped themselves and finished 1-2.

May 24

1963  Ivan Capelli was born in Milan 55 years ago today. Champion in both Formula 3 and F3000, Capelli emerged as a potential Grand Prix star during five seasons driving Adrian Newey’s impressive cars for Leyton House March. He led the 1990 French GP for 45 laps before having to settle for second behind Alain Prost’s Ferrari. He joined the Scuderia in 1992 but that opportunity turned sour with Capelli released before the end of the season.

2009  Jenson Button’s remarkable run of success for Brawn Grand Prix continued on the streets of Monte Carlo. He qualified on pole position with team-mate Rubens Barrichello third on the grid. The Englishman only relinquished the lead for a single lap as they finished 1-2 for the third time that year. He stopped at the wrong place after his slow-down lap and ran to the Royal Box for the presentations. Kimi Räikkönen qualified on the front row and completed the podium finishers.

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