- May 23 down the years
The race nobody wanted to winWhat happened on this day in Formula One history?
Riccardo Patrese took victory in the Monaco Grand Prix that nobody wanted to win. In a bizarre turn of events, four potential race winners either crashed out or ran out of fuel in the last two laps. Spitting rain in the closing stages made the track treacherous and Keke Rosberg was the first of the front runners to crash on lap 65. Then Alain Prost spun into the barriers on the way down to Tabac, handing the lead to Patrese. But as the Brabham driver got half-way through the penultimate lap, he ended up entering the Loews hairpin backwards and had to concede position to Didier Pironi and Andrea de Cesaris before rejoining. Just three corners later, however, Pironi's Ferrari sputtered to a halt and then on the final lap de Cesaris's Alfa Romeo also stopped out of fuel. This put Patrese back in the lead, but the drama didn't end there, as second place Derek Daly fired his car into the barriers at the Swimming Pool complex. Patrese picked his way through the carnage and very slowly and carefully crossed the line to take his first Formula One win.
Ayrton Senna won his sixth and final Monaco Grand Prix, setting a new record for wins at the prestigious event. The weekend started badly when he had a heavy accident at Saint Devote in practice and bruised his thumb. He admitted he couldn't drive at 100% after that and he qualified third behind Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost. Prost jumped the start and was penalised with a stop-go penalty, putting him out of contention. Schumacher assumed the lead and was dominating Senna when a hydraulic failure on lap 32 brought his race to an end. Senna came through to win and was speechless after the race. "I simply don't have words," he said. "It is not just the six victories, but the results achieved here, throughout the years, with different cars and different engines, under different conditions."
Jarno Trulli put an end to Michael Schumacher's dominant start to the season by winning the Monaco Grand Prix. Trulli was the class of the field all weekend, qualifying on pole and leading the race from start to end. His team-mate Fernando Alonso was his closest competitor early on, but he crashed out midway through the race while trying to lap Ralf Schumacher in the tunnel. It was a bizarre incident but not a patch on what followed. Under the ensuing safety car Michael Schumacher hit the barriers at the same place and claimed to be brake tested by Juan Pablo Montoya, who had been lapped at the time. The upshot was an exciting end to the race, during which Jenson Button in the BAR closed down Trulli but was unable to find a way past. It was Trulli's one and only win to date.
Jackie Stewart put on a dominant display over the 1971 Monaco Grand Prix weekend to take pole position by over a second and win the race comfortably by 25 seconds. While Stewart was clearly in a class of his own, it was a young Ronnie Peterson, in just his second season, who provided the action further down the field. He raced from eighth on the grid to second, passing Jacky Ickx and Jo Siffert in the process on the tight and twisty circuit.
Formula One's most experienced driver Rubens Barrichello was born in Sao Paolo. With over 290 races to his name and 11 victories, his career has spanned 18 seasons during which he has driven for six different teams. His most successful season was as at Ferrari in 2002, but due to his No. 2 status to Michael Schumacher he was never a serious contender for the title. At Brawn in 2009 he had the car and the freedom within his team to challenge for the championship, but finished the season third with just two wins to his team-mate Jenson Button's six.