- May 2 down the years
Hunt wins ... then loses ... then winsWhat happened on May 2 in Formula One history?
James Hunt won the Spanish Grand Prix only to be disqualified after stewards "found certain irregularities" which infringed the rules. It later emerged the foil on his McLaren was 5/8ths of an inch too wide. The decision gave the win to Niki Lauda, the fourth in four races for Ferrari. "They picked on an obscure rule that was introduced for no good reason," fumed Teddy Mayer, McLaren's manager. Almost two months later the FIA reinstated Hunt, a decision that proved vital as he went on to pip Lauda to the drivers' title. However, at the British Grand Prix Hunt was again disqualified after winning the race itself, and this time there was no reprieve.
David Coulthard had an amazing escape after the private jet he was flying in from Farnborough in Hampshire to Nice crashed at Lyon-Satolas airport. The pilot had made a call saying he needed to make an emergency landing, and witnesses reported it was on fire as it approached the strip. As it came in, a wingtip clipped the ground and the plane then somersaulted before bursting into flames. Coulthard helped girlfriend Heidi Winchelski and his personal trainer escape as the plane burned. However, the pilot and co-pilot were both killed. "I remember getting home to Monaco and laying down in bed and literally thinking 'F***!' That was the moment I realised that that could have been it," he recalled in 2008. "It made me appreciate my life and that one day I'd get older, the grey hair would push through and the belly start to come. I realised I was doing this dangerous sport and earning millions, but hadn't even made a will."
A year earlier and Coulthard was left angry after claiming slow traffic cost him victory in the San Marino Grand Prix. The consensus was that he was out-thought by Ferrari, as the timing of its stop was key to enabling Michael Schumacher beat him by four seconds. "It seemed as though people were particularly uncooperative with me," Coulthard said after getting boxed in behind Oliver Panis's Prost and Giancarlo Fisichella's Benetton. So angry was McLaren's Ron Dennis that he stormed down the pit lane to protest to Alain Prost - Prost agreed and immediately instructed Panis to give way, which he did, only for Coulthard to make a mistake which allowed Panis to overtake him. By then, however, Coulthard's chance had gone.