- October 12 down the years
Schumacher rewrites the history booksWhat happened on this day in Formula One history?
The remarkable Michael Schumacher wrote his name in the record books by securing his sixth drivers' title - and his fourth of five in a row - at the Japanese Grand Prix. He finished eighth, but as Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello took the chequered flag to deny his nearest rival Kimi Raikkonen, he took the championship. It was a fair result as Schumacher had six wins to Raikkonen's one, even if his race was not one of his best with a couple of scares along the way. "The feelings are not there now," Schumacher said. "I can feel for the team but not for me, they have not sunk in yet. I am empty, exhausted. It's very strange for me. Most of my championships I have won with a victory but here I am winning it with eighth place so it is a mixed emotion."
Accusations and recriminations at the Japanese Grand Prix where Lewis Hamilton accused Felipe Massa of deliberately crashing into him as the pair clashed for fifth place on the second lap. The incident put Hamilton to the back of the field, cut his lead in the drivers' championship over Massa to five points, and left him facing blowing the title for the second year. "I did the corner normally and he came back very aggressively and hit me," hamilton fumed. "I think that was pretty much as deliberate as can be." Massa was more diplomatic. "The duel with Hamilton was hard but fair … I have a good relationship with [him] and I will not do anything to destroy something on purpose." Fernando Alonso won the race.
The finish that the sport wanted at the Japanese Grand Prix, where Michael Schumacher's win for Ferrari left a virtual winner-takes-the-title finale against Jacques Villeneuve (Williams) at the European Grand Prix a fortnight later. Schumacher's victory was helped greatly by team-mate Eddie Irvine who helped increase the gap between him and Villeneuve with some defensive - but quite legal - driving. "Eddie did a brilliant job," acknowledged Schumacher. "It has to be one of the most satisfying victories of my career." But the champagne had barely stopped flowing on the podium before Williams started reminding Schumacher of what happened in Australia in 1994 with Damon Hill …
Nigel Mansell's title hopes stalled on the grid at the Mexican Grand Prix, although he stormed back to take fifth and set up an (ultimately frustrating) finale in Australia. "It was a bloody awful race," Mansell said. "I just want to forget about it." Gerhard Berger in a Benetton won his first grand prix shortly before switching to Ferrari.
Three unmemorable starts in a Brabham and a Lotus in 1964 and 1965 were the extent of Paul Hawkins' F1 career, but he made far more of a mark in sports car racing. His other F1 claim to fame was that he remains one of only two men - the other being Alberto Ascari - to plunge into the harbour at the Monaco Grand Prix. He died at the age of 31 when he crashed in a race at Oulton Park.
Rome-born Piero Taruffi was 43 by the time the FIA World Championship came into being, but he raced until he was almost 50, winning once in 18 starts. In 1952 he finished third for Ferrari in the drivers' championship, and that year came his one win at the Swiss Grand Prix. pre-war he raced bikes, and he also enjoyed success late in his career in sports cars, winning the 1954 Targa Florio for Lancia and the Mille Miglia in 1957 by which time he was 51.