F1 On This Day: 4th July

4th July is the day on which Mercedes secured their first Formula 1 win, the day Prost finished on the podium for the 100th time and the day on which Schumacher won the French Grand Prix for a seventh time. The 2021 Austrian Grand Prix will be the sixth F1 race held on 4th July.


4th July Races in Stats:

  • The 2021 Austrian Grand Prix will be the first race held on 4th July which has not taken place in France.
  • The winner of a race on this date has never failed to go on and win that year’s Drivers’ Championship.
  • In every race so far on 4th July, the driver finishing in third place started from seventh or further down the grid.
  • All five races held so far on this date have been won from the front row of the grid – though the last two have not been won from pole position.
  • The polesitter has finished in the top two in all five races on this date.
  • No team has taken multiple wins on this date – nor has any team started from pole on multiple occasions.
  • Two races on this date have been won by less than half a second.
  • Michael Schumacher is the only driver to have taken multiple podium finishes on this day in history. Fernando Alonso could join the exclusive club at the 2021 Austrian Grand Prix.
  • Three of the five races held on 4th July have resulted in 1-2 finishes for teams.

1954 French Grand Prix

While the World Cup final took place between West Germany and Hungary in Bern, Switzerland on this day in 1954, 500km north west, the French Grand Prix was held at Reims. It turned out to be a successful sporting afternoon for Germany, with West Germany taking the World Cup win and German manufacturer Mercedes recording their first Formula 1 win.

Juan Manuel Fangio had secured Mercedes’ first pole position for their maiden Grand Prix appearance and went on to score the team’s first podium, points and win. It was the Argentine driver’s tenth Grand Prix victory. Aside from winners of the Indianapolis 500, Mercedes were the first non-Italian constructor to win a World Championship race, as well as the first team to win a race on Continental tyres.

Fangio’s team-mate Karl Kling finished as runner-up on his maiden Grand Prix appearance, while third placed Robert Manzon recorded his final podium result. Manzon secured third place on the final lap after overtaking Prince Bira, who had run out of fuel. Fangio and Kling had exchanged the lead on numerous occasions throughout the race, but team orders were imposed on the last lap, ensuring Fangio of the victory. Hans Herrmann, Mercedes’ third entry in the race, recorded the only Fastest Lap of his career before retiring after only sixteen of the 61 laps.

1971 French Grand Prix

Formula 1 raced at Circuit Paul Ricard for the first time on this day in 1971. Jackie Stewart led home a 1-2 finish for the Tyrrell team – the first in the team’s history. Team-mate Francois Cevert’s second place was highly popular with the partisan crowd, with the 27 year old recording his first podium finish on home soil. Emerson Fittipaldi finished in third place, bringing Lotus their 70th podium result.

Pedro Rodriguez ran within the podium positions for the first half of the race, but retired with ignition problems. It would be the Mexican driver’s last F1 appearance, as he would be killed one week later in a sportscar race in Germany.

Max Jean made his only F1 appearance in this race. He entered his home event in a March car for Frank Williams’ team. After setting the second-slowest lap time, Jean encountered gearbox issues in the race and was not classified in the result, finishing nine laps down on the leaders.

1976 French Grand Prix

Formula 1 was back at Circuit Paul Ricard on this day five years later for the 1976 running of the French Grand Prix. James Hunt took the second victory of his championship-winning season, recording McLaren’s 60th podium finish in the process. Patrick Depailler recorded his only home podium finish with second place, while John Watson finished on the podium for the first time in third place. Watson was originally disqualified from the event but was later reinstated. He recorded Penske’s first top three finish in Formula 1.

1993 French Grand Prix

On this day in 1993, Damon Hill became the first driver to start from pole position in car number 0. It was Williams’ 60th pole position and the first pole of Hill’s career. Though Hill led the opening stages, it was team-mate Alain Prost who would take a home win, and with it become the first driver to finish on the Formula 1 podium on 100 occasions. Michael Schumacher finished in third place, with Ayrton Senna – on his 150th start – finishing fourth. Fabrizio Barbazza – who had scored points twice for Minardi so far in 1993 – made his final appearance in this race. He was replaced at the team by Pierluigi Martini for the rest of the year.

2004 French Grand Prix

Michael Schumacher won the French Grand Prix for a seventh time on this day in 2004. This was only the second time in F1 history that a driver had won the same Grand Prix seven times. The other time it had happened was three weeks previously, when Schumacher won the Canadian Grand Prix for the seventh time.

Fernando Alonso finished as runner-up, while Rubens Barrichello secured third place with a last lap pass on Jarno Trulli. He crossed the line just four tenths ahead of the Italian. Schumacher won the race using an unusual four-stop strategy. It was the German’s ninth victory in the first ten races of a dominant 2004 season.

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