On This Day In F1 - Vettel Ran Wide Avoiding Some Seagulls

On This Day In F1 - Vettel Ran Wide Avoiding Some Seagulls

A look back at what happened on 12 June in Formula 1 history

1966 Belgian Grand Prix
John Surtees won from Jochen Rindt and Lorenzo Bandini in a race which saw seven of the 15 starters retire on the first lap - largely due to accidents on the wet track. One of those was Jackie Stewart, who was left trapped upside-down in his BRM, injured and soaked in fuel. It took almost half an hour for him to be rescued - not by marshals, but by fellow drivers Graham Hill and Bob Bondurant, who’d gone off in the same area. They finally freed Stewart by borrowing a spectator’s toolkit and was finally put in an ambulance, which then got lost on the way to the hospital. Unsurprisingly, this sorry incident triggered Stewart to start his campaign for better safety in F1, and from then on he always raced with a spanner taped inside his cockpit, just in case he got trapped again.

1983 Canadian Grand Prix
Rene Arnoux dominated the race from pole to take his first Ferrari win, beating Eddie Cheever’s Renault and Patrick Tambay. With Nelson Piquet retiring and Alain Prost only managing fifth, the championship closed right up - five points separated the top four (Prost, Piquet, Tambay, and Keke Rosberg) with just seven races left to go in the season.

1988 Canadian Grand Prix
Although he lost the lead to Alain Prost at the start, it wasn’t long before Ayrton Senna retook the lead and went on to win his second race of the season. Thierry Boutsen finished third for Benetton - the first time a non-turbo-powered car had finished on the podium in five years.

(c) Paul Lannuier/Creative Commons
(c) Paul Lannuier/Creative Commons

1994 Canadian Grand Prix
Michael Schumacher made it five wins from six races as he comfortably beat Damon Hill by almost 40 seconds. Ferrari had one of its best races in a while - Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger had qualified second and third and finished third and fourth, representing the team’s biggest points haul since the end of the 1991 season.

2005 Canadian Grand Prix
Despite the short run to the first corner, both Renault got a sensational start from the second row of the grid to lead into the first corner, Giancarlo Fisichella ahead of Fernando Alonso. Fisichella led the first half of the race before retiring with the hydraulic problem, leaving Alonso in the lead. However, his time in front only lasted for a few laps - perhaps frustrated at having been held up by his teammate for so long, he pushed too hard and hit the wall at Turn 4, retiring from the race.

Juan Pablo Montoya then took the lead, but when the safety car came out following Jenson Button’s appointment with the Wall of Champions, he got a little bit shafted. Teammate Kimi Raikkonen (who was running second) needed fuel more urgently, so McLaren stopped him first. This proved costly for Montoya as when he came in a lap later he’d dropped behind his teammate, but it didn’t matter - it turned out the Colombian had left the pits under a red light and was disqualified. Raikkonen went on to win ahead of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, who’d inherited third from Jarno Trulli in the closing stages when the Toyota’s brakes failed.

Renault went from a commanding positions to scoring nothing in the space of a few laps. (c) TMWolf/Creative Commons
Renault went from a commanding positions to scoring nothing in the space of a few laps. (c) TMWolf/Creative Commons

2011 Canadian Grand Prix
Jenson Button won one of the most exciting grands prix ever in a soaking wet race which had just about every piece of action you could want from Formula 1. Button made six trips through the pit lane during the race - some scheduled, some to repair damage, some for penalties - and occupied almost every position in the field at some point during the race. Unsighted in the spray, he put teammate Lewis Hamilton in the pit wall and later spun Fernando Alonso out, but the combination of frequent safety cars and a beautifully-timed switch to slicks kept him in contention.

Starting the final lap, it looked like long-time leader Sebastian Vettel was just too far ahead for Button to catch. But, going into Turn 6, Vettel got onto the wet part of the circuit, slid sideways, and Button went through to win - the only lap he’d led all race. Vettel ended up second with Mark Webber third, just ahead of Michael Schumacher.

Thanks to a long red flag period for rain, the total race time clocked at four hours and four minutes. With future rule changes mandating that a race has to be completed within a four-hour window, the 2011 Canadian GP will likely be the eternal holder of the record of longest championship F1 race of all-time.

(c) Mark McArdle/Creative Commons
(c) Mark McArdle/Creative Commons

2016 Canadian Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel took the lead at the start and at one point appeared to take an unusually wide line through the first corner after a lock-up. After the race, he jokingly interrupted an interview between Lewis Hamilton and Sky F1 to explain that he was trying to avoid some seagulls that were sitting on the track - nobody believed him until footage showed that there were indeed some seagulls on the racing line. He said: “Two seagulls - you see! I had my eyes so deep into the apex, I locked up. Mind the animals!”

Not that it mattered - Vettel’s two-stop strategy turned out to be the wrong one as Hamilton won on a one-stopper. Championship leader Nico Rosberg had a scruffy race - after being forced off the track by Hamilton at the start which dropped him right down the order, he later developed a slow puncture, had to make an extra stop, and could only finish fifth.

On This Day In F1 - Vettel Ran Wide Avoiding Some Seagulls - Formula 1

Birthdays
Phil Cade (born 1916) entered the first US GP at Sebring in 1959, but was unable to take the start when his Maserati developed engine problems. Dennis Taylor (born 1921) entered the 1959 British GP, but failed to qualify.

Innes Ireland (born 1930) started 50 races between 1959 and 1966 and was pretty much the lead driver for Lotus in the team’s early days in the championship. However, despite winning the team’s first race at Watkins Glen in 1961, Lotus decided to put all of its eggs in the Jim Clark basket and he was dropped ahead of the next season. He spent the rest of his F1 career in middling cars and never stood on the podium again.

Hans Binder (born 1948) had a typical 1970s-part-timer’s career, flitting between teams over the course of a few years. Binder drove for Ensign, Wolf-Williams, Surtees and ATS between 1976 and 1978, with a best result of eighth in the 1977 Dutch GP.