- July 8 down the years
Porsche wins in F1What happened on this day in Formula One history?
Dan Gurney took his and Porsche's first world championship victory at the French Grand Prix. The American started the race from the third row and found himself behind Graham Hill, John Surtees, Jim Clark, Bruce McLaren and Jack Brabham when the race began. But fortune was to favour Porsche, as first McLaren then Brabham dropped out and Surtees pitted with fuel feed problems. Up to third and chasing Hill and Clark, things got even better for Gurney after Hill was hit by backmarker Jack Lewis on lap 30 and Clark stopped three laps later with suspension issues. It left Gurney clear to coast home for a fortuitous victory. A week later Gurney and Bonnier finished 1-2 at the Solitude circuit outside Stuttgart. It would be the last for Porsche as an F1 constructor.
Bernie Ecclestone proposed that qualifying positions for grand prix should be decided by ballot. After Michael Schumacher dominated the first half of the season for Ferrari, Ecclestone proposed the radical solution with the aim of making racing more unpredictable and exciting. "If we want a different grid then have a ballot," he said. "You would have the same eight points-scoring positions for qualifying as you have for the race, meaning a good guy who is quick has the points in his pocket. Then the ballot which is the same for everybody, means the fastest guy may be lucky and be on pole or he may be at the back of the grid. It's something we may have to leave until next year."
Keke Rosberg won a one-off US Grand Prix on the streets of Dallas, after a brutal race of attrition on a crumbling track. So bad was the reliability of his Honda engine earlier in the season, that Rosberg hadn't expected to make it past lap 20 and he pushed incredibly hard right from the start. In temperatures up to 40C, he used a special helmet to stay cool and settled into rhythm behind early race leader Nigel Mansell. However, in the blistering heat Mansell's tyres disintegrated and Rosberg took the lead ahead of a hard-charging Alain Prost. On lap 49 Prost muscled his way past and immediately started to pull away from the Williams, but pushed too hard and slammed his McLaren into the wall. The path was clear for Rosberg to take the victory. After the race he said: "It wasn't easy. The circuit was so difficult. Frank [Williams] and I talked about the new 'cool' helmet when Dallas was put on the schedule. I told him it would be hot. The helmet cost about $2,500. It helped today. I'm very pleased with this victory. Frank and the crew deserve a lot of credit."
Alain Prost won his home grand prix at the Paul Ricard circuit but the real star of the show was Ivan Capelli, who finished second in his Adrian Newey designed Leyton House ahead of Ayrton Senna's McLaren. Nigel Mansell had taken pole from the McLarens of Gerhard Berger and Senna but Berger got the jump into the first corner. When the top four pitted for tyres, the Leyton House duo of Capelli and Mauricio Gugelmin went into the lead and stayed there for the majority of the race, with no sign of changing tyres. Prost finally took Gugelmin on lap 54, the Brazilian retiring three laps later, and just three laps from the end he finally passed Capelli, who scuttled home second with a misfiring engine. It had been a brilliant drive.
Lewis Hamilton saw his hopes of victory in his first British Grand Prix dashed by a fumbled pit stop that dropped him to third third behind Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso. Hamilton led Raikkonen away from the lights at the start but was unable to maintain enough of a gap on a lighter fuel-load to make the best of his strategy. His second stop saw him lift the clutch with the fuel hose still attached and although he stopped quickly after realising his error, it cost him valuable time. Hamilton left the race still leading the championship, but the mistake would prove costly at the end of the season when he missed out on the title by a point.
Bernie Ecclestone sold an eight-bedroom house in London for £85 million, having never spent a single night living in it. He bought the five-storey home next to Kensington Palace at the end of 2001 for £50 million, making roughly £35 million in profit in just 18 months. The house, which included a ball room, was said to be the most expensive domestic property ever put up for sale.