- May 7 down the years
Tragedy in Monaco
Tragedy at the Monaco Grand Prix when the Ferrari of Lorenzo Bandini crashed at the chicane while he was in second place. Bandini, who had finished second at Monaco in 1965 and 1966, was trapped under the burning wreckage and it took several minutes for inadequately equipped marshals to right the car and pull him clear. He died of burns three days later. He once said: "If you have to go, if it is written your time is that day, you will die whether you go racing or not." Denny Hulme's maiden F1 win was almost an irrelevance.
Mika Hakkinen won the Spanish Grand Prix but the plaudits and popular acclaim was reserved for David Coulthard who came second, driving in pain after suffering cracked ribs in a plane crash which killed two people less than a week earlier. A clearly emotional Coulthard fought back tears on the podium and at the press conference, but it was McLaren boss Ron Dennis who highlighted how much pain he had been in. Coulthard fumbled a pit-stop gear change which cost him vital time but Dennis said: "Not a word was said to him about it because, although he didn't make a big issue about it, he was in quite a bit of pain as a result of the air crash earlier in the week. We gave him physiotherapy treatment all weekend but halfway through the race he was in considerable pain."
Michael Schumacher's 86th career win at the European Grand Prix in front of 120,000 adoring fans at the Nurburgring gave a jolt to the title race, but there was disappointment for second-placed Fernando Alonso, who had started on pole but was outdone by Schumacher in the pit stops. He also had to put up with the moans of Bernie Ecclestone who pre-race told reporters: "We have a world champion now who doesn't do too much." In the two GP2 races which preceded the grand prix, Lewis Hamilton won both and Dennis admitted: 'It is possible he could drive for us next year." He did.
The post-race conversation in the Renault garage after the Monaco Grand Prix might have been X-rated after what Alan Henry in the Guardian described as Rene Arnoux's "disgraceful baulking tactics" as Alain Prost tried to lap him. By the time he got past Ayrton Senna had the race in the bag. However, Senna was at his deceptive best, going flat out despite losing second and then first gears. "The car was enormously difficult to drive," Senna admitted. "I wanted Alain to think everything was OK for me and there was no point challenging."
Patrick Depallier won his first grand prix at the 69th time of trying at Monaco, after finishing second more than ten times. He did so in style, leading home second-place Niki Lauda by 22 seconds. Lauda, who was on pole, suffered a puncture on the opening lap, while James Hunt, amid rumours of an impending retirement which in the event did not happen for another year, crashed into a barrier on the first corner.
Lotus and BRM F1 driver Mike Spence died at Indianapolis when in a practice session three weeks before the Indy 500 he misjudged a turn and crashed into a concrete wall, and the front wheel of the car broke free and hit him in the helmet. He died in hospital a few hours later.