On This Day In F1 - Mansell Wins A Controversial South African Grand Prix

On This Day In F1 - Mansell Wins A Controversial South African Grand Prix

A look back at what happened on 19 October in Formula 1 history

1958 Moroccan Grand Prix
Mike Hawthorn was crowned champion after finishing second in Morocco’s only championship grand prix. Stirling Moss had done everything he needed to try and win the title - namely winning the race and setting fastest lap, which used to be worth an extra point back then. Hawthorn ran in third for much of the race, but Ferrari teammate Phil Hill gave him his position, allowing Hawthorn to became the first British champion by a single point over Moss.

1969 Mexican Grand Prix
In a race with only 16 cars, Denny Hulme saw off Jacky Ickx to win the final race of the season, with Jack Brabham third. With neither Lotus scoring points, Brabham moved up to second in the constructors’ championship.

1985 South African Grand Prix
The final race at the awesome old Kyalami layout was shrouded in controversy over South Africa’s policy of apartheid, leading Renault and Ligier to boycott the event. Alan Jones’ Haas-Lola also withdrew part-way through the event, and a number of teams removed sponsor logos from their cars.

The race took part on a Saturday (the last time it would ever do so) and Nigel Mansell won from teammate Keke Rosberg, with third-placed Alain Prost a further lap behind. It was the last time a South African GP was held until a brief return in the early 1990s.

Williams' late-season form was a sign of things to come. (c) Williams/LAT
Williams' late-season form was a sign of things to come. (c) Williams/LAT

2008 Chinese Grand Prix
You know a race was boring when a team order swap was the only memorable moment. That’s pretty much what happened here as Lewis Hamilton cruised to victory, with Felipe Massa finishing second after being allowed past by Kimi Raikkonen. Sure, team orders were technically illegal at the time, but that sort of thing went on all the time and because it wasn’t for the in, nobody really cared.

The result meant Hamilton carried a seven-point championship lead to the final race in Brazil, while Robert Kubica (who finished down in sixth) was now officially out of the title hunt.

(c) Ferrari
(c) Ferrari

Birthdays
One of the earlier Red Bull junior drivers, Enrique Bernoldi (born 1978) started 28 races for the Arrows team in 2001 in 2002. His most famous moment came during the 2001 Monaco GP when he held off David Coulthard’s McLaren for 35 laps, much to the annoyance Coulthard and Ron Dennis. He scored no points during his career, which ended when Arrows folded during the 2002 season.

Heikki Kovalainen (born 1981) had an impressive junior record and a very good debut season with Renault in 2007. That earned him a promotion to McLaren for 2008, replacing Fernando Alonso, but in his two years with the team he was thoroughly outperformed by Lewis Hamilton and only managed one (slightly fortunate) win, at Hungary in 2008.

Kovalainen's McLaren career started out OK, but he only scored three podiums for the team in two seasons. (c) Mark McArdle/Creative Commons
Kovalainen's McLaren career started out OK, but he only scored three podiums for the team in two seasons. (c) Mark McArdle/Creative Commons

After being dropped, Kovalainen ended up at the new Lotus team (which later became Caterham), where he frequently put in impressive performances, ending up best of the ‘new teams’. He was dropped by Caterham for 2013 and at the end of the year did two races for the other Lotus team, replacing Kimi Raikkonen. There were no points finishes then, either, and that pretty much spelt the end of his F1 career.

Top image (c) Williams/LAT