- April 15 down the years
Hamilton makes best ever rookie startWhat happened on April 15 in Formula One history?
Lewis Hamilton's remarkable start to his debut continued with his third podium in three starts at the Bahrain Grand Prix, the best start by a rookie. He outperformed team-mate Fernando Alonso to take second place behind Felipe Massa who had enough spare to resist Hamilton's late charge. "Three races in to be a contender for the world championship is phenomenal,'' said McLaren chief executive Martin Whitmarsh. "We all have to conclude now that Lewis is a serious title challenger. He'll want to go better now and win a race. I don't think anybody doubts that he will do that this season.''
Another win for Schumacher at the San Marino Grand Prix, but for the first time it was Michael's younger brother Ralf who took the chequered flag. The duo became the first brothers in championship history to win a race, two weeks after they became the first brothers to occupy the front row of the grid. It also gave Williams BMW their first victory in almost four years. Schumacher senior had a nightmare day in front of his fanatical fans as he failed to get among the points. "I am very happy for Ralf,'" said Michael. "He has shown strongly in the past and he has also had some bad luck. But this time everything went well and he did it in style."
After more than seven hours driving, Antonio Ascari led the 432km Targa Florio at the Circuito delle Madonie on the last corner when he engine stalled and in the ten minutes it took him to get his Alfa Romeo started his team-mate Uvo Sivocci stormed past to win. Sivocci, who raced with the No. 13, drove a car bearing the symbol of the green Quadrifoglio (clover) in a triangle on a white background, the symbol that was later to become the symbol of Alfa Racing. The Circuito delle Madonie in Sicily was a remarkable venue, consisting of four laps of a circuit which consisted of 1500 corners, hairpin bends, and a high-point of 1200m.
Graham Whitehead, born on this day in Harrogate, started racing his half-brother Peter's ERA in 1951 and a year later took part in his only championship Formula One race when he finished 12th in his Formula Two Alta at the British Grand Prix. He also competed in several non-championship events. He raced Jaguars and Aston Martins through the 1950s and in 1958 finished second at the Le Mans 24 Hour with Peter; a fortnight later his half-brother was killed in a crash in France which left Graham, who was driving, with less severe injuries. He continued racing until retiring at the end of 1961.