On This Day In F1 - Stewart Won At A Crumbling Zolder

On This Day In F1 - Stewart Won At A Crumbling Zolder

A look back at what happened on 20 May in Formula 1 history

1962 Dutch Grand Prix
Graham Hill won his first race of the season for BRM after Jim Clark dropped out of the lead on lap 12. Trevor Taylor finished second for the only podium of his career ahead of reigning champion Phil Hill in third.

1973 Belgian Grand Prix
During the first practice session, a few of the drivers noticed that the track surface at Zolder was beginning to break up - hardly ideal when there’s an entire weekend’s running to get through. The GPDA threatened to go on strike, so the circuit owners elected to resurface the entire layout. This fixed things somewhat, but by the time of the race the track once again starting to break up, which resulted in a number of accidents. Jackie Stewart took the win ahead of teammate Francois Cevert, Emerson Fittipaldi, and Andrea de Adamich. Niki Lauda scored his first career points in fifth, while Chris Amon finished a battling sixth to score the only point for the Tecno team - his cockpit had been overheating throughout the race and afterwards he had to be lifted from the car.

1984 French Grand Prix
Patrick Tambay had looked on course to win his home grand prix for Renault after leading most of the way from pole. However, he faded slightly at the end as the wily Niki Lauda picked up the pace and took the lead at three-quarter distance. Tambay ended up second with Nigel Mansell third, while Alain Prost was a distant seventh after having to pit to fix a loose wheel.

Tambay was powerless to fend off Lauda in the last F1 race to be held at Dijon
Tambay was powerless to fend off Lauda in the last F1 race to be held at Dijon

Birthdays
Aldo Gordini (born 1921) was the son of racecar manufacturer Amédée Gordini, and unsurprisingly raced for Gordini in F1 - albeit for just one race. He qualified 17th for the 1952 French GP (ahead of the other Gordini drivers) but retired with engine problems after 27 laps.

Ralph Firman (born 1975) got a seat with Jordan for 2003 after enjoying success racing in Japan. His best result was an eighth place in the Spanish GP, scoring a single point, but a huge crash triggered by a rear wing failure at the Hungaroring later in the season caused him to miss two races. Accidents were a bit of a theme with his season and he was dropped at the end of the year.