• April 23 down the years

Mud inglorious mud

The rain turned the car parks at Silverstone into a quagmire in 2000 © Sutton Images
Enlarge

2000
David Coulthard won an earlier-than-usual and spectacularly dull British Grand Prix at Silverstone but his triumph was overshadowed by chaos caused by heavy rain which turned car parks into bogs and left many spectators marooned for up to six hours in 15-mile queues in and out. Many others were turned away as they were unable to get near the circuit despite having valid tickets. The only solace to the average fan was that the helicopters of the elite few were grounded by fog. Even ITV's relentlessly on-message anchorman Jim Rosenthal welcomed viewers with a reference to Silverstone being "saturated, chilly and totally uninviting". Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley sought to absolve themselves of blame, insisting the switch from the usual July date was down to "internal politics" and not them. "We try to control everything but no-one can do anything about the weather," Mosley puffed, while Ecclestone hardly endeared himself to fans when he said: "I've been at Silverstone many times in July when it has rained." For the record, Mika Hakkinen finished second behind his team-mate for McLaren's first 1-2 of the season and Michael Schumacher finished third to record his 75th podium.

1962
The crash that ended Stirling Moss' career at Goodwood when he lost control of his Lotus after a misunderstanding with Graham Hill and sustained severe injuries which left him in a coma for a month and partially paralysed for six months. Almost exactly a year later he returned to Goodwood to see if a comeback was possible, but did not feel he had the command of the car he once had and quit for good. "I bore the circuit no grudge and could still drive quite fast, but it no longer felt natural. Just driving the car took all my concentration, while in the past I could do that, look at the dials and spot a pretty girl in the crowd."

Stirling Moss is tended to after his crash at Goodwood © Getty Images
Enlarge
2006
Michael Schumacher edged out Fernando Alonso by less than two seconds after a race-long battle at the San Marino Grand Prix, while Jenson Button was left seething after a podium finish evaporated in a botched pit stop when he was lying third. Stopping to refuel on the 30th lap, Button's lollipop man lifted the 'Stop' board and so he moved forward, only to have the lollipop banged down on his helmet as he passed. He braked, but the nozzle was ripped off the end of the fuel line, and by the time it had been removed from the car he was back in seventh.

1963
French driver Paul Belmondo was born. The son of actor Jean-Paul Belmondo and grandson of sculptor Paul Belmondo, he gained more publicity for becoming the lover of Princess Stéphanie of Monaco than for his racing. In 1992 he joined the March F1 team as a paying driver, scoring a ninth place finish at the Hungarian Grand Prix. He only qualified four more times before he ran out of money and was replaced by Emanuele Naspetti. Two years later, Belmondo became a member of the uncompetitive Pacific Grand Prix team, where he only qualified for two races and was usually behind team-mate Bertrand Gachot. Thereafter he concentrated on GT racing, at the wheel of a Chrysler Viper GTS-R. He started his own team, Paul Belmondo Racing, which raced in the FIA GT Championship and Le Mans Endurance Series championship before folding in 2007.

1961
Italian racing driver Pierluigi Martini was born. He participated in 124 grands prix, making his debut substituting for Ayrton Senna at the Toleman team on September 9, 1984. He scored a total of 18 championship points and was synonymous with the Minardi team - indeed aside from a single outing with Toleman and a one-season dalliance with Scuderia Italia, Martini's entire career was spent with the Italian outfit. With Minardi, he scored the team's first point in 1988 USA Grand Prix, its only front-row start at 1990 USA Grand Prix and its only lap leading a race in the 1989 Portuguese Grand Prix and secured its joint-best F1 result of fourth. In 1999, Martini won the Le Mans 24 Hours driving for BMW together with Yannick Dalmas and Joachim Winkelhock. The team had to fight both Toyota and Mercedes works cars and win the race by a lap from runner-up Toyota.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Close