• May 19 down the years

Panis is king for a day

What happened in Formula One history on this day?
Olivier Panis won in the unfancied Ligier © Sutton Images

Olivier Panis won an extraordinary rain-hit Monaco Grand Prix, taking the final win for the Ligier marque in Formula One racing. Michael Schumacher had qualified his Ferrari on pole but normal race strategy was thrown out of the window by the wet track. The conditions were so treacherous that after just five laps, eight of the 21 runners had retired, including Schumacher. Panis was making his way through the field and passed Edie Irvine for third by banging wheels at the Loews hairpin. In what he openly admits was the greatest race of his life, Panis started clocking fastest laps that were good enough to match the pace of race leaders Damon Hill and Jean Alesi in far superior cars. And when the leading pair retired with engine and suspension failure respectively, Panis found himself in the lead and by the time the chequered flag fell (at the two hour time limit) there were just four other cars running, David Coulthard, Johnny Herbert and Heinz-Harald Frentzen. It was Panis' one and only F1 victory.

An action-packed Monaco Grand Prix saw Alain Prost come out on top, taking victory for McLaren ahead of the Ferrari of Michele Alboreto. Ayrton Senna started on pole in his Lotus and held the lead in the early stages. At the first corner Gerhard Berger, Patrick Tambay and Stefan Johansson all crashed out in a three car pileup, while Prost tip-toed around the wreckage and disaster back in fourth place. Alboreto, who had pulled a fantastic move on Nigel Mansell for second, took the lead when Senna retired with an engine failure and then found himself being closed in on by Prost. He appeared to have the measure of the Frenchman but when a fiery accident between Riccardo Patrese and Nelson Piquet left oil on the circuit, he slid straight on at Saint Devote and lost position to Prost. Unperturbed, Alboreto retook the lead with an outstanding overtaking move around the outside into Saint Devote when his rival missed a gear. Sadly for Alboreto it wasn't to be, and he dropped back to fourth with a slow puncture and a pit stop for new tyres. He bravely fought back to second but didn't have enough time to real in Prost for a second time.

Juan Manuel Fangio won the Monaco Grand Prix after nearly all of his serious competitors were wiped out in an accident on lap four. Fangio qualified on pole but it was Stirling Moss who came out in front at the start. However, his lead did not last long as an uncharacteristic error saw him crash at the harbour chicane and second place Peter Collins, in swerving to avoid Moss, have an accident of his own. Fangio picked his way through the crash scene unscathed but Tony Brooks in fourth was rear-ended by Mike Hawthorn as he slammed on the brakes in avoidance. Brooks managed to keep going but was five seconds behind Fangio by the time he got back up to speed and never put up a serious fight from that point. Only six cars finished the race behind Fangio, the last of which, Jack Brabham, had to push his car across the line due to a fuel pump failure.

Legendary Lotus boss Colin Chapman was born in Richmond. He oversaw all seven of his team's constructors' championships and was responsible for developing some of the sport's most successful technologies and drivers. He pioneered the use of monocoque chassis, wings and ground effect aerodynamics in the sport, many of which were crucial to Lotus' success. His team was also the first to introduce sponsorship to one of its cars when the Lotus 49 raced in Gold Leaf Tobacco colours during the 1968 season. He died aged 54 on the same day Lotus was testing active suspension for the first time in 1982.