On This Day In F1 - A Wave Eliminated Half The Field At Monaco

On This Day In F1 - A Wave Eliminated Half The Field At Monaco

A look back at what happened on 21 May in Formula 1 history

1950 Monaco Grand Prix
In one of the more unusual incidents in F1 history, half of the field was eliminated on the first lap when a sudden wave from the harbour was big enough to flood the circuit at Tabac. Of course, Juan Manuel Fangio managed to avoid the chaos - when he came round on the following lap he noticed that the spectators were looking in the other direction and not at him. He realised that something must have happened ahead of him, slammed on the brakes, and was able to push his way through the wrecked cars - literally. The circuit was so blocked that Fangio reached out of his car to push another car out of the way and clear a path for him to squeeze through. He carried on to win by a lap from Alberto Ascari and Louis Chiron, who stood on the podium in his home race.

1978 Belgian Grand Prix
Mario Andretti utterly dominated the race in the new Lotus 79, with Ronnie Peterson ending up second following a pit stop. Gilles Villeneuve had been running second until a puncture caused him to drop back and he ended up fourth. Carlos Reutemann took the final place on the podium after fending off Jacques Laffite on the final lap, who collided with Reutemann while trying to pass him and was classified fifth.

2000 European Grand Prix
Mika Hakkinen led the early stages until a sprinkling of rain moved the situation firmly into Michael Schumacher’s favour. He took the lead on lap 11 and pulled away. The gap between the two yo-yoed throughout the race but Schumacher had enough in hand to beat his title, and the two crossed the line a lap ahead of third-placed David Coulthard.

Hakkinen and Schumacher were inseparable for the first 10 laps, but the rain gave Michael an edge
Hakkinen and Schumacher were inseparable for the first 10 laps, but the rain gave Michael an edge

Birthdays
Danny Ongais (born 1942) started four races across 1977 and 1978 - two in a Penske, two in an Ensign. He also entered a Shadow on two occasions in 1978, but failed to qualify for both races. His best result came in the 1977 Canadian GP where he finished seventh, narrowly missing out on a point.

Emilio Zapico (born 1944) entered a Williams in the 1976 Spanish GP. He was 27th fastest in qualifying but with a 24-car grid, he’d failed to make the cut by seven-tenths of a second.