Monday 28 July 2014

On This Day in Formula One - 28 July

Source: Getty Images
Adolf Hitler and the Nazi hierarchy watched on at the Nurburgring confident that the German-made Mercedes and Auto Union cars would dominate with their German drivers in front of an equally expectant 300,000 fans. Hitler had made it clear that a German victory was imperative but Italian Tazio Nuvolari did not read the script and his less powerful Alfa Romeo took a dramatic victory on the final lap to ruin the Fuhrer's day. 'At first there was deathly silence,' reported Motorsport magazine, 'and then the innate sportsmanship of the Germans triumphed over their astonishment. Nuvolari was given a wonderful reception.' So sure of a German victory were they that the Nazi officials did not have the Italian national anthem on hand. But Nuvolari was able to produce his own record of the anthem, which he always carried for luck.

Nigel Mansell won the German Grand Prix from Williams team-mate Riccardo Patrese and Ferrari's Jean Alesi to close the gap in the drivers' championship to Ayrton Senna. Pole-sitter Mansell made a good start and that was pretty much that for the afternoon as he sailed off into the distance, leaving his rivals to squabble over second place.

Damon Hill claimed his 20th grand prix victory to equal Michael Schumacher's career tally of F1 victories after winning the German Grand Prix. Although victory marked Hill's seventh victory of the year, it was not an easy one as a poor start dropped him behind the Benettons of Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger. A superior strategy enabled him to pass Alesi but Hill was looking as if he had to settle for second until Berger's engine blew up only three laps from home.

Michael Schumacher celebrates the 2002 German Grand Prix victory.
Michael Schumacher equalled his own and Nigel Mansell's record of nine grand prix wins in a season after emerging victorious in the German Grand Prix. Schumacher did not have things all his own way, however, as brother Ralf began to chip into his lead on his superior Michelin tyres. Ralf narrowed the gap to six seconds after the first stop but a late pneumatic problem dropped him to third behind Williams team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya.


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