As the 79th edition of the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix gets underway this Thursday on the Principality’s legendary track, we take a look back at five unforgettable moments that have forever marked the history of the most prestigious of all motor races.
In 1950, a legendary team makes its debut in Monaco
Seventy-two years later, the Scuderia Ferrari is still here and will be in the starting lineup for the 79th edition of the Monaco Grand Prix, with a Monegasque, Charles Leclerc, at the wheel. The car has changed a bit. Well, quite a bit. OK, a lot. But the passion is the same. The iconic red colour too.
In 1950, Scuderia Ferrari was taking part in the very first Grand Prix in its history. And what better setting than the Principality of Monaco for a remarkable first outing that will forever go down in the annals.
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It’s the second leg of the 1950 World Championship (at the time, there were few races in the F1 season), and the Monaco Grand Prix welcomes a new team to the fold. From Italy. Ferrari is the name.
The Italian driver Alberto Asacari makes a promising debut with a fifth-place finish. Seventy-two years later, Scuderia Ferrari has chalked up 16 manufacturer titles, 15 driver titles and nearly 240 Formula 1 victories. The Ferrari legend continues.
In 1982, five different leaders in just three laps
There are three laps to go. Alain Prost is leading the race in his Renault. But the Frenchman spins off the track, and victory is taken from him. One lap later, Riccardo Patrese, the new leader of the race, goes into a tailspin. Change of leader.
Didier Pironi takes control of the race, but is forced to retire. His breakdown leaves the way open for Andrea de Cesaris to head home to victory. But he also breaks down. Derek Daly suddenly finds himself in front.
But being the leader in this race seems like a curse, because he also crashes a few seconds later. In the end it is Riccardo Patrese, back from tailspin hell, who takes the lead and wins at the end of an unforgettable final few laps.
In 1992, a spectacular fight back by Olivier Panis
Memorable, unforgettable, almost inexplicable. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix, won by Olivier Panis, the last French winner in the Principality.
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Starting in fourteenth position in his Ligier in a Grand Prix that was soaked at the start and plagued by countless retirements (only Panis, Coulthard and Herbert passed the checkered flag, the lowest number of drivers in history), the Grenoble driver pulled off the biggest ‘remontada’ of all time in Monaco.
Joining a very exclusive set of drivers who have made a name for themselves in the Principality.
In 2012, six drivers cross the finish line in under six seconds
This Grand Prix will be remembered for its intensity. With rain expected, the race looks set to be lively on the track. It will be, not because of the rain, which never shows.
But because six drivers, six great drivers, will manfully battle it out from start to finish. Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa are within a few seconds of each other throughout the race.
At the finish, only six seconds will separate the winner, Mark Webber, from Felipe Massa, sixth. The seventh, Paul Di Resta, finishes more than forty seconds behind this incredible group of six drivers.
In 2019, the first sparks of the red-hot duel between Hamilton and Verstappen
The rivalry between the two drivers came to a head at the end of last season, with the Dutchman winning his first title to the detriment of the seven-time world champion.
And it all started right here at the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix. While Lewis Hamilton was struggling with worn tires, Max Verstappen came out with fresh rubber and all guns blazing, picking off Valtteri Bottas who was in front of him before going into the pits.
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A breathless end to the race, right up to the last lap, where Max Verstappen tried, unsuccessfully, to overtake at the Port chicane. Ultimately the race was won by Lewis Hamilton, but it was the first serious showdown between the two men.