- July 11 down the years
Crash leaves Schumacher with a broken leg
A rare Ferrari failure for Michael Schumacher in the British Grand Prix ended his challenge for the F1 crown. As he tried to re-pass Eddie Irvine at Stowe Schumacher's brakes failed and he slammed his Ferrari nose-first into a wall. He suffered a broken leg. Mika Hakkinen's race effectively finished when he lost a wheel, shortly after returning to the pits as he suspected it was loose, allowing David Coulthard to take his first win of the year. Away from the action, media attention surrounded Damon Hill who announced he would quit after the race. Jordan had Jos Verstappen on standby, but after finishing fifth Hill decided to see out the year.
Alain Prost secured his 50th grand prix win at Silverstone, aided by early leader Damon Hill's engine blowing up and Ayrton Senna's McLaren dying on the last lap. Hill had seemed on course for victory despite Prost slowly closing on him, but the gap was wiped out when a safety car was brought out after Luca Badoer crashed his Lola; on the restart Prost was right behind Hill, capitalising when his car gave up the ghost.
Jim Clark won the first British Grand Prix staged at Brands Hatch following the sale of the famous Aintree course for his third successive win at the event. Clark took the lead from Dan Gurney on the second lap and was never headed, although he was challenged for a long time by Graham Hill.
Pedro Rodríguez, who was killed on this day in Germany, was an eccentric who went everywhere with his famous deerstalker hat and bottle of Tabasco sauce for use at the world's finest restaurants. After a slow start he had emerged to become a good F1 driver and an even better one in sports cars. Halfway through 1971 he accepted an offer to drive in an insignificant Interseries race in Germany. While he was dicing for the lead, a slower car edged him into the wall and his Ferrari burst into flames. He died shortly after he was extricated from the wreck.
While sporting excellence can only be admired, Michael Schumacher's tenth win in 11 races left fans bored with what critics claimed was little more than a procession. Although he only beat Kimi Raikkonen by two seconds, the narrow gap was an indication of a safety car more than a thrilling British Grand Prix.
Rolf Stommelen, born on this day in Cologne, entered F1 with Brabham in 1970. From the off, he showed great promise with four top-six finishes, but seasons with Surtees and then the ugly Eifelland March all but destroyed his F1 career. An occasional drive with Brabham in 1974 provided a lifeline, and he was offered a drive with the Hill team for 1975, only to be injured in a crash at the Spanish Grand Prix, when his car flew into the crowd and killed four spectators. When Rolf returned later in the year, he was off-form and was mainly away from Formula One until spending a season as an also-ran with Arrows in 1978, after which he returned to sports cars. He was killed in a crash at Riverside, California in 1983. In 53 F1 starts he managed one podium finish.