- April 8 down the years
Villeneuve dominates at Long BeachWhat happened on April 8 in Formula One history?
Gilles Villeneuve dominated the US Grand Prix at Long Beach from the off, but the start was chaotic when the grid got out of sync and then followed a couple of crashes. Villeneuve's win was tarnished when he was fined for his part in the mess. He was helped by Jean-Pierre Jarier's Tyrell, which proved hard to pass and allowed him to build an insurmountable lead. The Ferraris of Villeneuve and Jody Scheckter proved supreme not only here but throughout the season.
A dominant one-two for McLaren as Fernando Alonso won the Malaysian Grand Prix with team-mate Lewis Hamilton taking second. Ferrari's Felipe Massa started the race from pole position, but was passed by both McLarens in the first two corners of the first lap. It continued Hamilton's dream start with two podiums in his first two F1 races. "I can't explain how tough it was, how hot in the cockpit," Hamilton said. "I ran out of water, so halfway through the race I didn't have enough. It was getting hotter and hotter. It was nice to have a gap, but I pushed to the end. I had to dig as deep as I could by preserving the energy I had to bring the car to the end. I am overwhelmed."
Mark Blundell was born on this day in Hertfordshire. He enjoyed early success in motorsport and after a hiccup in 1988 and 1989, he made his Formula One debut in 1991. In four full seasons he started 61 grands prix and finished on the podium three times. His final year - 1995 - came about when Nigel Mansell could not fit into a McLaren and so Blundell got the drive. After a brief foray into Indycar, he moved into management and commentary.
Racer and land-speed record holder Frank Lockhart was born in Deyton, Ohio. He won the Indianapolis 500 in 1926 as a rookie, the first to do so, and that season won four more AAA Championship events. In 1927 he led the race for 81 laps before his car broke a connecting rod but added five more AAA Championship wins. In 1927 he took the land-speed record at Muroc Dry Lake with a speed of 160.01mph, and on April 25, 1928 while attempting to regain the record his car burst a tyre, careering across the sand and throwing Lockhart clear. He was killed instantly.
The first race was staged in Britain on a cycle track at Crystal Palace in London. Charles Jarrott won a one-mile handicap in a Panhard.