On This Day In F1 - Raikkonen's Suspension Shook Itself To Pieces

On This Day In F1 - Raikkonen's Suspension Shook Itself To Pieces

A look back at what happened on 29 May in Formula 1 history

1960 Monaco Grand Prix
Stirling Moss won after scrapping with Jo Bonnier, Jack Brabham, and then Bonnier again before eventually winning the race in his Rob Walker Lotus, giving the marque its first F1 victory. Bruce McLaren finished second and Phil Hill third as Brabham crashed out during a rain shower and Bonnier ended up 17 laps down in fifth after having to pit for repairs to his suspension.

1988 Mexican Grand Prix
Alain Prost beat Ayrton Senna off the line and controlled things from there, leading home his teammate for a McLaren one-two. In fact, the finishing order was something of a Noah’s Ark situation as they were followed by the Ferraris of Gerhard Berger and Michele Alboreto, the two Arrows drivers of Derek Warwick and Eddie Cheever, and then Alessandro Nannini and Theirry Boutsen, whose naturally-aspirated Ford-powered Benettons had no answer for the pace of the turbo cars at Mexico City’s high altitude.

Prost made it three wins from the first four races
Prost made it three wins from the first four races

1994 Spanish Grand Prix
Damon Hill won his (and Williams’) first race of the season but it was Michael Schumacher who stole the show. His Benetton became stuck in fifth gear at quite an early stage of the race but instead of retiring, was able to coax his car home to the end of the race, even making a pit stop in the process. That was amazing in itself, but what made his drive legendary was the fact he was able to finish second, just 24 seconds behind Hill. Mark Blundell finished third, scoring what would be the last podium for the legendary Tyrrell team.

2005 European Grand Prix
Kimi Raikkonen had been in control of the race until at around half-distance, he locked his brakes while lapping Jacques Villeneuve. It looked innocuous enough and his pace remained fine, but it had put a flat spot on his tyre which would later cost him dearly.

This was the season where tyre changes were banned, unless it was for reasons of safety. With a handful of laps to go Raikkonen’s tyre was vibrating badly and he could realistically have come in for a new set and remained on the podium, though it would certainly cost him the win. Instead, he and McLaren decided to stay out and although Alonso was now rapidly catching him, it would at least give Kimi the chance of winning.

On the penultimate lap, Alonso took well over a second out of Kimi’s lead and was set to have maybe one or two chances of making a move stick on the final lap. However, as they came down to Turn 1 for the last time, Kimi’s suspension failed due to the severe vibrations, sending him into the gravel and out of the race. Alonso won from pole-sitter Nick Heidfeld and Rubens Barrichello, while Raikkonen and McLaren were left to ponder whether it would have been better to pit and bag some points. Hindsight is a wonderful thing…

(c) Ferrari
(c) Ferrari

2011 Monaco Grand Prix
This race was shaping up to be an absolute classic. With 10 laps to go Sebastian Vettel was leading on old, ruined tyres. Second was Fernando Alonso on slightly fresher rubber, while Jenson Button lay third on tyres just 20 laps old. Vettel was rally struggling and the question was whether Alonso would get past the Red Bull before Button jumped the pair of them.

Then, Vitaly Petrov crashed at the swimming pool following an incident between Adrian Sutil, Lewis Hamilton and Jaime Alguersuari, bringing out the red flags. Under red flag rules the teams are allowed to fit new tyres, which completely robbed the race of any tension as Vettel drove to victory.

Hamilton had a terrible day, first causing an accident which led to Felipe Massa’s retirement, and then taking Pastor Maldonado out of a fine sixth place. After the race he felt the stewards were picking on him and joked “maybe it’s because I’m black - that’s what Ali G says!” It did not go down well.

(c) Red Bull Content Pool
(c) Red Bull Content Pool

2016 Monaco Grand Prix
After dominating the entire weekend, Daniel Ricciardo lost the win through no fault of his own when he came in for his scheduled pit stop, only to find that his pit crew weren’t ready for him. The delay cost him the lead - and the win - to Lewis Hamilton, who’d had some help in the wet phase early in the race when a struggling Nico Rosberg let him pass. Rosberg ended up a distant seventh as Sergio Perez grabbed one of his impressive occasional podiums.

Birthdays
Once referred to as “undoubtedly the best Formula 1 driver that Grand Prix racing has ever produced” by legendary commentator Murray Walker, Ukyo Katayama (born 1963) raced in F1 from 1992 until 1997. His best year came with Tyrrell in 1994, where only immense unreliability prevented him from scoring more than the five points he did manage and possibly even some podiums.

That would be the only year he scored any points, though, and from then on his performances tailed off. When he retired at the end of 1997 he revealed that he’d been diagnosed with back cancer in 1994, which had affected his ability and his F1 career. With 95 starts to his name, he remains the most experienced Japanese F1 driver.