- June 13 down the years
A dark day in Canada
The death of Riccardo Paletti on the grid overshadowed Nelson Piquet's victory at the Canadian Grand Prix. As the race started Didier Pironi stalled his Ferrari on the front row and immediately raised his arm in the air to warn those behind him. Most drivers took evasive action but by the time Paletti, who was on the penultimate row in only his second grand prix, reached him he was going too fast to avoid a collision and smashed into the Ferrari. Peroni was shunted to the left of the grid while Paletti's car stopped at the impact point. As rescuers, including Peroni, ran to help, his car burst into flames and it took almost a minute to put out the fire and another 25 to extract him from the wreck. But he had suffered massive abdominal injuries and in all likelihood died long before he arrived at hospital. His was the last F1 fatality until the infamous weekend at Imola 12 years later.
Ferrari's record of nine straight wins was ended by the six-wheeled Tyrrell of Jody Scheckter at the Swedish Grand Prix arising, reported the Guardian, "the possibility, remote though it might be, of someone catching the Austrian [Niki Lauda]." Scheckter joking said he had not written of his chances, joking: "You never know, Lauda might fall over tomorrow and break a leg." Less than two months later Lauda suffered horrendous burns in a crash at the Nurburgring and was pipped to the drivers' championship by James Hunt.
Williams and Toyota were both disqualified from the Canadian Grand Prix an hour after the finish after air ducts which were used to cool the brakes were found to be in contravention of the FIA's rules. 'It was a mistake and it was unintentional," said BMW technical director Sam Michael. "There was no performance gain and no gain for brake cooling because the inlet area was not bigger. However, the duct is not in compliance with the technical regulations, therefore we accept the FIA decision." The race was won by Michael Schumacher with his Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello second, but Ralf Schumacher, who had come third, was replaced on the podium by Jenson Button. "I'm now thinking 'what have I done to deserve this'," said a dejected Schumacher. "Breaking a rule is breaking a rule and somebody must be punished for that. I have to accept it, even if it really hurts."
Mika Hakkinen tip-toed his way through an incident-packed Canadian Grand Prix to take victory by less than a second from Giancarlo Fisichella, but the margin of victory was deceptive as the race finished behind a safety car. The biggest crash came three laps from the end when the brake disc on Heinz-Harald Frentzen's Jordan exploded sending him into a wall at 150mph - he escaped shaken but otherwise unharmed. Michael Schumacher also hit a wall when he lost control of his Ferrari at the same spot which also accounted for Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve. "This was my mistake," glowered Schumacher. "I usually make one mistake a season, I hope this is the one for the year."
Not a day to look back on fondly for the Williams pit crew as they ruined Damon Hill's hopes of a 1-2 with Alain Prost when they botched a pit stop at the Canadian Grand Prix. As Hill, who was in second, came in for a tyre change, the crew realised too late they had the wrong specification replacements ready and the delay allowed Michael Schumacher to nip past. Hill made the podium after Ayrton Senna was forced to retire six laps from the end with alternator trouble. "I was surprised to see the mechanics rushing round to look for tyres," Hill admitted.
Jim Clark braved rain and a greasy track to win his fourth successive Belgian Grand Prix after taking the lead from championship leader Graham Hill on the opening lap. Hard though it is to imagine now, Clark had missed the previous race - the Monaco Grand Prix - to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and so had won both grands prix he had entered after success in South Africa.