On This Day In F1 - Pelé Totally Failed At Waving The Chequered Flag

On This Day In F1 - Pelé Totally Failed At Waving The Chequered Flag

A look back at what happened on 31 March in Formula 1 history

1996 Brazilian Grand Prix
A downpour at the start of the race was ideal for Damon Hill as he cruised off into the distance to win, but the battle for the remaining podium places was rather more heated. Jacques Villeneuve was second for a while until he spun off under pressure from Jean Alesi, while Rubens Barrichello (who’d qualified an incredible second for Jordan) had looked a dead certainty for a podium. However, his scheduled stop for fuel came slightly too early to switch to slicks so he had to stop again which dropped him to fourth, and as he tried to take third from Michael Schumacher he ended up spinning off. It meant Schumacher took his first podium for Ferrari - albeit a lap behind the winner.

2002 Brazilian Grand Prix
Michael Schumacher just held off his brother to win, although there was some confusion as neither driver took the chequered flag at the end of the race. That’s because footballing icon Pelé was the special guest flag-waver… and he missed the winner. Realising his mistake he did eventually wave it - at ninth-place finisher Takuma Sato. The rules at the time that meant that Sato had technically won the race but thankfully, a bit of common sense prevailed and Schumacher was declared the winner.

(c) Ferrari
(c) Ferrari

Birthdays
Kevin Cogan (born 1956) attempted to qualify for the 1980 Canadian GP in a RAM-entered Williams but failed to make the cut. He returned with Tyrrell in the 1981 US GP West at Long Beach and once again failed to qualify - by just half a tenth.