• April 13 down the years

Senna pips Mansell in second closest ever finish

What happened on April 13 in Formula One history?


Ayrton Senna pips a charging Nigel Mansell to the line in the second closest ever F1 finish © Sutton Images
A nail-biting finish at the Spanish Grand Prix saw Ayrton Senna's Lotus-Renault beat Nigel Mansell's Williams-Honda by 1/100th of a second. Senna led until overtaken by Mansell on lap 40, but a slow puncture forced him to pit, and when he returned he attacked at a searing pace, two seconds a lap faster than Senna. Crucially, Mansell took half a lap to pass Alain Prost, and that turned out to be the difference. "Had the race been 20 yards longer," noted Maurice Hamilton in the Guardian, "then Mansell would have won his third grand prix in devastating style."

Jacques Villeneuve overcame a debilitating stomach bug to win the Argentina Grand Prix by a split in his Williams from Eddie Irvine's Ferrari, his gamble of a three-stop strategy as opposed to Irvine's two just paying off. The finish was superb viewing as the two cars were never more than a second apart for the last ten laps, Irvine not quite able to capitalise as Villeneuve locked his brakes on the final corner. Jordan celebrated its 100th grand prix with Ralf Schumachertaking third despite colliding with team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella.

Dan Gurney, born in Port Jefferson, is considered by many to be the USA's greatest F1 driver, and his success came in a car he built. He signed for Ferrari in 1959, moved to BRM for 1960 and then on to Porsche for 1961. With reliability he had only dreamt of at BRM, he finished third overall despite not winning a race. Staying on for 1962, though, he did get to the top step of the podium, at the French Grand Prix. Indeed, Rouen was a happy stamping ground for him, for his next win came there in 1964, his second year with Brabham. And he rounded out that year with another win, in Mexico. Ironically, both 1963 and 1965 saw him in the points more often, frequently challenging Jim Clark. He bit the bullet and built his own cars for 1966. The Eagle came good in 1967, with Weslake power in place of Climax, and Dan brought this beautiful car home first in Belgium, but all too often it broke. He won the Le Mans 24 Hours for Ford with AJ Foyt. Success subsequently came outside Formula One, with second in the Indy 500 in both 1968 and 1969. Gurney was the first driver to win races in Formula One (1962), NASCAR (1963), and Indy Car (1967).

Paris-born Philippe de Rothschild was one of motorsport's most colourful characters - and wealthiest. He was a member of the Rothschild banking dynasty who became a grand prix racer, a screenwriter and playwright, a theatrical producer, a film producer, a poet, and one of the most successful wine growers in the world. When he raced he used the pseudonym Georges Philippe to maintain a low profile. He bought a Bugatti in 1928 and in 1929 he took part in the first Monaco GP and three weeks later won the Grand Prix de Bourgogne. But the press started asking questions and as a result he quit racing after a final appearance in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

The start of the Monaco Grand Prix was marked by a crash at the chicane on the second lap in torrential rain which wiped out five cars and left oil on the track, adding to the drama. Tazio Nuvolari appeared on course for a win in his Alfa Romeo before he developed brake problems, and Rudolf Caracciola's no-stop strategy ensured his Mercedes finished almost two minutes clear of his Auto Union rivals. Nuvolari remarkably finished fourth despite driving the last few laps in dreadful conditions without any brakes.

When Max Mosley was born in London, his father, British fascist leader Oswald, had already been interned. Mosley struggled to shake off the association but by the 1970s he had become founder and co-owner of the March F1 team. He then became legal adviser to the Formula One Constructors Association (FOCA) and in 1991 president of the FIA. He drove through sweeping changes, especially in the field of safety, but in 2008 tabloid stories relating to his private life weakened his standing and disputes with teams led to him standing down in 2009.

Argentina's Ricardo Zunino, born in San Juan, got his break in F1 at the 1979 Canadian Grand Prix when Niki Lauda quit Brabham and walked away from Formula One. Zunino, attending the race as a spectator on a weekend off from his regular British F1 Championship drive, was chosen to take over the seat, having recently tested for the team. He finished seventh, the best result of his ten starts. He lost the seat after the 1980 French Grand Prix.

Mike Beuttler, born on this day, raced as a privateer, funded by a group of stockbroker friends who gave his team its name - Clarke-Mordaunt-Guthrie-Durlacher Racing. He competed over two-and-a-half seasons between 1971 and 1973 with a best finish of seventh at the 1973 Spanish Grand Prix from 28 starts. The brother-in-law of politician Alan Clark, he died of complications resulting from AIDS in 1988.

German-born Christian Lautenschlager worked as a mechanic at Daimler before getting a chance to test drive for it, and in 1908 he drove a Mercedes to victory in the 1908 French Grand Prix. Rather than carry on driving he returned to his factory job but continued to race when he could. In 1914 he won in the USA and then took his second French Grand Prix in July, the last major race before World War One. By the time racing resumed he was over 40 and he struggled to regain his pre-war form and he retired in 1924.