Thursday 12 June 2014

On This Day in Formula One - 12 June


The birth of Otto Merz, a mechanic turned chauffeur, who was a driver in the motorcade when the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in 1914, later moving into racing where he won the 1924 German Grand Prix.


John Surtees drove his Ferrari to victory in the Belgian Grand Prix after taking the lead from Jochen Rindt on the 24th of 28 eight-and-a-half mile laps. In dreadful weather Jackie Stewart crashed on the first lap and was rushed to hospital with multiple broken bones, and only seven of the 15 starters made it to the end of the lap. Graham Hill spotted Stewart lying upside down in his car in a ditch and stopped to pull him out as petrol poured over him. Although Hill was mechanically fit to continue, he had lost so much time rescuing Stewart he decided he had too much time to make up and so retired.


Rene Arnoux led the Canadian Grand Prix from start to finish to beat Eddie Cheever by 40 seconds. Keke Rosberg finished fourth, his Williams-Cosworth the first non-turbo car to score points in the season, and he might have done better had he not been blocked by Andrea de Cesaris for several laps.


McLaren's dominance continued with its fifth win in five races at the Canadian Grand Prix, Ayrton Senna beating Alain Prost by 5.6 seconds. "I'm very satisfied to have beaten the driver I regard as the best in the business," Senna grinned afterwards. The real contest was for third and lower which was won by Thierry Boutsen in a Benetton-Ford. The real courage came from Derek Warwick who a day earlier had crashed his Arrows at 100mph - he finished seventh and at the end was so bruised and exhausted he had to be lifted out of his cockpit.


A stand-off between teams and FISA on the eve of the Canadian Grand Prix left both parties angry. FISA issued an inflammatory document claiming many teams' technological developments were illegal and attempted to curb them for the following season. "It only inspires a hardening of attitudes at a time we are all looking for a compromise," warned Ron Dennis.


Michael Schumacher's fifth win in six races at the Canada Grand Prix opened a 28 point lead over Damon Hill which was never overcome. Hill's hopes were dashed when he got stuck behind David Coulthard - "I was getting a bit cheesed off but I don't think I could have caught Schumacher," Hill admitted. Coulthard was less impressed. "I eventually waved Damon through in response to team orders," he said, "but I think I was entitled to race my way. I'm disappointed Damon spoke to the press before me."


Kimi Raikkonen took advantage of a double retirement from Renault to win a dramatic Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, Giancarlo Fisichella and Fernando Alonso retiring from the lead within six laps of each other. Juan Pablo Montoya jumped a red light at the end of the pit lane and was disqualified from second, giving Ferrari a double on the podium as Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello finished second and third. Jenson Button's hopes of third were shattered when he bounced over the kerbs at the final chicane and slammed into the wall. "The problem I had in the hairpin was I ran wide and I didn't realise how much rubbish got on the tyres because coming into the chicane I just had huge understeer," he shrugged. "That was it really. I should have gone across the green stuff but I thought if I did that I would have to let Michael pass and I didn't want to do that. I'd rather crash in third than finish fourth really."

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