Friday 18 July 2014

On This Day in Formula One - 18 July

Alberto Ascari wins the 1953 British Grand Prix.
Italian domination - through Ferrari and Masarati - was expected at Silverstone and so it turned out as Alberto Ascari took the lead from the start and was never headed.

Again strikes in Italy meant Ferrari missed the British Grand Prix but Tony Brooks, fresh from his win in France, was released by the team and secured a drive in a Vanwall. Jack Brabham in a Cooper took an early lead and was never passed, although there was a fierce battle for second in which Stirling Moss edged out Bruce McLaren by 0.2 of a second.

Jim Clark returns to the pits after winning the 1965 Dutch Grand Prix.
Jim Clark's mastery was evident as he cruised to victory at the Dutch Grand Prix after passing Richie Ginther and Graham Hill within five laps, his fifth win in six grands prix that season. The success all but guaranteed Clark of the title as Hill would have had to win all four remaining races to have had any chance of overtaking him.

So near and yet so far for Jack Brabham who ran out of fuel on the last lap of the British Grand Prix and could only watch as he was overtaken by Jochen Rindt as he coasted towards the chequered flag. Brabham had enough momentum to make it across the line before he stopped, just beating Denny Hulme into second.

James Hunt alongside pole sitter Niki Lauda at the 1976 British Grand Prix.
One of the most controversial British Grands Prix was not decided until September 24 when James Hunt's win was overturned after an appeal by Ferrari. The trouble came when the original race was stopped after a pile-up at the first bend and a restart ordered. But stewards, faced with a large and angry crowd who were throwing beer cans onto the track at reports Hunt, who had damaged his car in the crash, would not be allowed to restart in his spare, bottled it and let him take his place on the grid. Niki Lauda took the lead until the 45th lap when he suffered gear-box problems and Hunt passed him and went on to take the victory. Ferrari immediately objected, arguing Hunt was already eliminated by the time the red flag was shown, but he countered that his car was moving round the track, albeit with a massively-damaged chassis. He also pointed out the accident had been caused by a Ferrari driver - Lauda The protest was rejected by stewards but was subsequently referred to the FIA who ruled in Ferrari's favour. It could have had a decisive affect on the drivers' championship, and only heavy rain in Japan which resulted in Lauda's retirement ensured the lost points would not cost Hunt his crown.

John Watson crosses the line to win the 1981 British Grand Prix.
John Watson was a surprise winner of the British Grand Prix but a very popular one. His McLaren caught the turbocharged Renaults and exploited their mechanical unreliability to take the win. Arnoux had led from Watson and his turbo was always going to have the legs over the Cosworth-engined McLaren - until lap 50 when the Renault started malfunctioning. Watson soon picked up the lead, while Arnoux couldn't even salvage a championship point from the race as his engine deteriorated.

Lauda's track record at Brands Hatch wasn't a good one but he made amends by winning the 1982 British Grand Prix after a chaotic start. Starting from pole, Keke Rosberg's Williams refused to get away on the warming up lap as the hot weather had caused the fuel to vaporise. A watering can of cold water did the trick but by then the pack had set off on its warm-up lap and Rosberg started last. When the race began Riccardo Patrese stalled his Braham and was hit by Rene Arnoux's Renault

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