- May 11 down the years
Schumacher masters MonacoWhat happened on this day in Formula One history
Michael Schumacher gave a master class on how to drive a Formula One car in the wet, winning the Monaco Grand Prix by 53 seconds from Rubens Barrichello in the Stewart. Mixed weather conditions at the start left drivers facing a dilemma as to what tyres to choose. Schumacher used his reconnaissance laps to test his race car with a wet weather set-up and the Ferrari test car with a dry set-up. It wasn't a clear-cut decision but he opted for wet, while rivals Hakkinen and Hill bolted on slicks. It proved to be the right move and Schumacher streaked into the lead at the start. A pile-up on the second lap, triggered by David Coulthard's spinning McLaren, accounted for four cars' retirement, and over the rest of the race distance another eight cars dropped out. Schumacher meanwhile was imperious, making everyone, with the possible exception of Barrichello, look distinctly average. It was his first win of the season and he went on to take another four before being disqualified from the championship for trying to take out Jacques Villeneuve at the final race.
Ferrari made its motor racing debut with the Tipo 125 S at the Piacenza circuit in Northern Italy. Enzo Ferrari had previously been team manager at Alfa Romeo but this was the first time he had entered a race with a car of his own construction and under his own name. The Tipo 125 S was quick, setting the fastest lap and leading the race, until a fuel pump problem forced its driver Franco Cortese to retire two laps from the end. Two weeks later the Ferrari took its first competition win in Rome, and the rest is history…
Rubens Barrichello became the most experienced Formula One driver ever by taking part in his 257th race at the Turkish Grand Prix. Unfortunately he didn't mark the occasion with a particularly inspiring drive, struggling with understeer and finishing a lowly 14th in the terrible Honda RA108. Riccardo Patrese had previously held the record.
The first Monaco Grand Prix with a modified harbour chicane took place in Monte Carlo and was dominated by the McLarens of Alain Prost and Keke Rosberg. At the height of the turbo era the cars had been going through the old, much faster left-right harbour chicane at speeds approaching 150mph. Prost won the race from pole, while Rosberg provided the entertainment fighting through the field from ninth to second. The only other drivers to finish on the same lap were Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell.
Felipe Massa won the Turkish Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton and McLaren attempted to take on Ferrari with a risky three-stop strategy. Despite the differing tactical approaches, which saw Hamilton pass Massa for the lead, Ferrari had the race under control and Hamilton ended up coming under more pressure from third-place Kimi Raikkonen. It was one of six wins for Massa in 2008 but he still ended up losing out on the championship to Hamilton by a single point.