On This Day In F1 - The Sport Lost An Icon

On This Day In F1 - The Sport Lost An Icon

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

1972 Spanish Grand Prix
Emerson Fittipaldi took the win ahead of Jacky Ickx, who was the only other driver to finish on the lead lap. Clay Regazzoni completed the podium after Jackie Stewart made a rare mistake and crashed out of the race.

1983 San Marino Grand Prix
Riccardo Patrese’s Brabham fought for the lead with Patrick Tambay’s Ferrari for much of the race, with Patrese grabbing the lead with just a few laps to spare. However, just a few corners later he binned it, eliciting cheers from the crowd - despite being an Italian driver on Italian soil, it seemed the Tifosi would rather see a Ferrari win, even if Tambay was from France. He crossed the line well ahead of Alain Prost, with René Arnoux making it two Ferraris on the podium.

On This Day In F1 - The Sport Lost An Icon - Formula 1

1988 San Marino Grand Prix
McLaren capped off a dominant weekend with a one-two finish having lapped the entire field, Ayrton Senna ahead of Alain Prost - hardly a surprising result given that their qualifying times had been over three seconds faster than anyone else’s. Nelson Piquet finished third for Lotus ahead of Thierry Boutsen, Gerhard Berger, and Alessandro Nannini - who had been fighting for third until he spun while trying to pass Piquet.

1994 San Marino Grand Prix
The race all-but confirmed itself as the darkest weekend in F1 history when Ayrton Senna - for reasons still unknown - crashed into the barriers at Tamburello at the start of lap seven. He was tended to by medical staff at the scene, including doctor Professor Sid Watkins, before being airlifted to a local hospital.

The race started with Michael Schumacher winning from Nicola Larini and Mika Hakkinen, albeit in sombre circumstances, given both the concerns over Senna and Roland Ratzenberger’s death the day before. A couple of hours after the race, it was announced that Senna, too, had died.

(c) Williams/LAT
(c) Williams/LAT

Formula 1 had lost perhaps its most revered driver and Senna’s death was up there with Jim Clark’s in terms of the impact it had on the sport and those working within it. Brazil went into a state of national mourning and the FIA introduced a raft of safety improvements in the wake of the accident. Imola itself finally altered the layout of the track, and Williams found itself embroiled in a legal case which didn’t come to an end until 2007.

Senna has since achieved the status of a sporting icon. Though there are question marks over some of the things he did during his career, there could be no questioning his fundamental good character, as evidenced by the Austrian flag that was found in the wreckage of his Williams FW16 - a planned tribute to Ratzenberger that was never realised.

2016 Russian Grand Prix
In a dramatic start to the race, Daniil Kvyat locked his brakes heading into Turn 2, hitting Sebastian Vettel in the rear and also causing a knock-on effect which damaged Kvyat’s Red Bull teammate, Daniel Ricciardo. For good measure, Kvyat then hit Vettel again in Turn 3, putting the Ferrari driver out of the race.

Up at the front, Nico Rosberg was untouchable as he beat Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen to his fourth win from four races in 2016, and his seventh win in a row.

(c) Ferrari
(c) Ferrari

Birthdays
Desmond Titterington (born 1928) started just one race, the 1956 British GP, and retired with engine failure at three-quarters distance.

Geoff Lees (born 1951) started five races from 12 entries in a scattered F1 career lasting from 1978 to 1982 where he drove for multiple teams, including Tyrrell, Lotus, Ensign, RAM, Shadow, and Theodore. His best finish came for Tyrrell during the 1979 German GP, where he finished seventh.

Top image (c) Williams/LAT