- July 29 down the years
Purley's bravery in vain as Williamson perishes in fire
A tragic day unfolded at the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort when young British driver Roger Williamson was killed in appalling circumstances during the race. A tyre problem caused him to crash and his car came to rest upside down an on fire at the side of the track. He was unable to free himself but the marshals did nothing. Fellow driver David Purley stopped his car and ran to his friend's aid, grabbing a fire extinguisher from a marshal and trying to right the car by himself. Alas his efforts were in vain and Williamson died in the car before a fire truck could reach the scene. Purley was awarded the George medal but remained bitter that the marshals had not done more to help save his friend. Following his decision to quit motorsport, Purley moved into competition aerobatics. He died on July 2 1985 when his Pitts Special aerobatic biplane crashed into the sea off Bognor Regis.
Ralf Schumacher benefitted from the retirement of Williams team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya to win the German Grand Prix in front of his own fans at Hockenheim. In a real tortoise and hare grand prix, pole-sitter Montoya played the role of the hare and raced off into the distance from Schumacher, only for his BMW engine to fail on him, gifting the race to Ralf.
Ayrton Senna held off a spirited challenge from Benetton's Alessandro Nannini to win the German Grand Prix. Starting from his customary pole position, Senna squeezed ahead of team-mate Gerhard Berger at the start and positions remained the same until Nannini emerged ahead of Senna after the pit stops. With an unlikely victory in sight, Nannini's tyres started to suffer and Senna nailed his man with 12 laps remaining.
Alan Jones won the German Grand Prix from team-mate and rival Clay Reggazoni. Jones took the lead at the start from second on the grid and when Regazzoni passed Jacques Laffite for second place on lap 13, the 1-2-3 order was settled for the remainder of the race. The victory gave the Williams team its second successive win in Formula One.
The Nurburgring hosted a world championship race for the first time for the German Grand Prix. Alberto Ascari took his first world championship win for Ferrari.