F1 On This Day: 18th July

The 2021 British Grand Prix will be the eighth F1 race held on 18th July. It’s the day on which the BBC first televised a live Formula 1 race and the day that a controversial race took place in 1976.

18th July Races in Stats:

  • All but one previous race on this date has taken place in Britain. The 1965 Dutch Grand Prix is the exception.
  • At the 2021 British Grand Prix, Silverstone will equal Brands Hatch as the circuit to have hosted the most races on this date.
  • Three teams (Ferrari, Lotus and McLaren) have taken two victories on this day. McLaren won the last two races on this date.
  • While the first five races on this day were won from the front row – all but one of those being won from pole position – the last two races on 18th July have been won by a McLaren driver starting fifth on the grid.
  • The polesitter retired from the last two races held on this day.
  • No team has previously recorded a 1-2 finish on this day.
  • The last five races on this day have been won by British or Austrian drivers.
  • The 1970 British Grand Prix is the only previous race on this date in which two drivers who started in the top three on the grid finished on the podium.
  • The last two races held on this date featured only drivers who started outside of the top three on the podium.
  • The last three races on this date have all featured at least one first lap retirement.

1953 British Grand Prix

Formula 1 was televised live for the first time on this day in 1953. The British Grand Prix was broadcast on the BBC. In the race, Alberto Ascari recorded the third of seven consecutive victories. The three drivers who finished on the podium were the three drivers who had previously won the Drivers’ Championship, with Ascari joined by Juan Manuel Fangio – who recorded his tenth top three finish – and Giuseppe Farina, who finished third.

Jimmy Stewart – brother of three-time World Champion Jackie Stewart – made his only World Championship F1 appearance at this event. He qualified in fifteenth place and ran within the points before spinning out eleven laps from the end of the race.

1959 British Grand Prix

Aintree hosted the British Grand Prix on this day in 1959. Jack Brabham started from pole position for the first time in his career and went on to win the race, taking his second career victory. Stirling Moss and Bruce McLaren finished in second and third, separated by just 0.2 seconds in a close battle in the final stages. Each driver picked up half a point for setting the Fastest Lap, McLaren doing so on the final lap of the race. McLaren recorded his first podium finish and became the youngest driver to set the Fastest Lap in a Grand Prix. His record would stand for 44 years, until Fernando Alonso broke it by just a single day at the 2003 Canadian Grand Prix!

This was the twelfth of 24 World Championship Grands Prix at which Ferrari did not appear. They were forced to miss the event due to Italy’s metal-working unions calling a strike.

1965 Dutch Grand Prix

Jim Clark took victory for Lotus on this day in 1965 at the Dutch Grand Prix. Team owner Colin Chapman was arrested after the race. Before the Grand Prix, Chapman had attempted to enter the pits without the correct pass and was nearly arrested after running across the track to enter the pit lane. After the race, a scuffle broke out and Chapman ended up punching a police officer. He was arrested for assault but the case was later adjourned. This was Clark’s fifth win of 1965, having won every race which he had entered so far in the season.

1970 British Grand Prix

Jochen Rindt took a third consecutive race win on this day in 1970 at Brands Hatch. The Austrian’s victory was the 40th for Lotus in F1, making them only the second team after Ferrari to reach the milestone. Rindt was actually disqualified from the race after the chequered flag as it was believed that his rear wing broke the regulations. However, following further checks, he was reinstated as the Grand Prix winner two hours later. Behind Rindt were Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme. Brabham very nearly won the race and led by over ten seconds, but he ran out of fuel at the final turn. This would be the Australian’s final podium appearance and last points finish in F1 – he would not finish above tenth in the remaining six races of his career.

The 1970 British Grand Prix marked the first World Championship outing for future World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi, who finished the race in eighth place. It would be the final appearance for four-time Grand Prix winner Dan Gurney, who retired from the race with twenty laps remaining.

1976 British Grand Prix

Controversy reigned on this day in 1976 at the British Grand Prix. The home fans left the Brands Hatch circuit happy, having seen James Hunt take the win. However, not all was as it seemed – and the actual winner of the race would not be decided until two months later.

The race was red-flagged soon after the first start. Ferrari team-mates Niki Lauda and Clay Regazzoni – both at the front of the pack – made contact and caused a chain reaction for the rest of the field. One of the drivers caught up in the mayhem was Hunt, who required a car change to be able to take the restart. But the stewards ruled that drivers would only be allowed to start in their original cars, much to the dismay of the British crowd who by now had begun discarding empty beer bottles in the direction of the track. A U-turn followed and Hunt was allowed to start the race. He eventually won the Grand Prix, having overtaken Lauda, who struggled with gearbox issues in the second half of the race. Ferrari lodged a protest with the RAC immediately after the Grand Prix had finished. Their protest was dismissed after three hours and the original result still stood. However, Ferrari then took the matter to the FIA and finally, on 25th September, Lauda was declared the winner with Hunt disqualified.

The 1976 British Grand Prix is so far the only World Championship race weekend in which multiple women entered the race. The race marked Divina Galica’s first appearance, while Lella Lombardi made her fifteenth entry. Neither Galica or Lombardi qualified for the race.

1981 British Grand Prix

John Watson won the British Grand Prix for McLaren on this day in 1981, recording McLaren’s first win under Ron Dennis’ leadership. Rene Arnoux had led most of the race, but his struggling Renault engine saw him drop down the order and out of the points, allowing Watson to sail into the lead. This was McLaren’s first victory since the 1977 Japanese Grand Prix, as well as Watson’s first win in almost five years; at the time the fourth longest gap between two victories for a driver. Watson recorded McLaren’s 25th win, and the first for a carbonfibre monocoque in F1.

1982 British Grand Prix

Keke Rosberg started from pole position for the first time in his career on this day in 1982. For a second consecutive year, the British Grand Prix was held on 18th July. Rosberg would fail to finish the Brands Hatch race, retiring after 50 of the 76 laps. Instead, Niki Lauda recorded victory, with the Ferraris of Didier Pironi and Patrick Tambay finishing behind him on the podium. This was Tambay’s first of an eventual eleven podium finishes in F1.

While championship leader John Watson spun out after only three laps, Derek Warwick gave the British fans something to cheer about in this race. Driving the unfancied Toleman, he started from sixteenth place and was tenth by the end of the first lap. His charge up the field continued and he ran in second place until Lap 41, when his car suffered a drive shaft failure and he retired.

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