- May 25 down the years
Hamilton fights back from brink of disasterWhat happened on this day in Formula One history?
Lewis Hamilton made a fantastic recovery to win the Monaco Grand Prix ahead of Robert Kubica and Felipe Massa. After hitting a barrier early on, Hamilton had to pit to replace a tyre before staging an impressive fight back through the field. He was helped massively by a safety car, Kimi Raikkonen being hit with a drive-through penalty and Felipe Massa running wide up an escape road, but Hamilton's immense talent in the wet conditions was still a defining factor. In taking victory he became the first Englishman to win at Monaco since Graham Hill in 1969.
Nigel Mansell fought back from an early spin in his Williams to win the Belgian Grand Prix by just under 20 seconds from Ayrton Senna's Lotus. A messy start, that saw Alain Prost and Gerhard Berger collide, mixed up the order with Williams' Nelson Piquet avoiding the accident and leading the pack ahead of Senna and Mansell. Mansell then bullied his way past Senna to line up behind his team-mate, only for Piquet's turbo to blow on lap 16. Mansell appeared to be in a position to take the victory with ease but a spin on lap five dropped him behind both Senna and Stefan Johansson's Ferrari. During the mid-race pit stops Mansell re-passed Senna and built a comfortable gap over the Lotus which he held until the end.
Niki Lauda eased his Ferrari to victory at the Belgian Grand Prix despite a scrappy start. He had started on pole but lost position to Brabham's Carlos Pace and then dropped to third behind the hard-charging March of Vittorio Brambillia. However, he didn't stay there for long and passed Pace quickly to pursue Brambillia. By lap six he had passed the March and from that point onwards never came under threat for the lead. Jody Scheckter muscled his way up to third, and when Brambillia had to pit for fresh tyres, he assumed second place. Carlos Reutemann in the second Brabham eventually finished third.
Jacques Villeneuve won the Spanish Grand Prix from start to finish but very nearly came under attack from a charging Olivier Panis in a Prost. The high wear rate of the tyres at the Circuit de Catalunya meant Panis's Bridgestone-shod Prost outperformed the Good Year runners all around him. His lap times were quick enough that he could have mounted an attack on Villeneuve had it not been for the lapped Eddie Irvine holding him up. The blue flags failed to clear the way for Panis, and Irvine, who was attempting to back Panis into the clutches of Jean Alesi and his Ferrari team-mate Michael Schumacher behind, later received a stop-go penalty for his actions.
Ferrari landed a lucrative three-year sponsorship deal with Vodafone worth £110 million. At the time the mobile phone giant was also sponsoring Manchester United and the England cricket team as it attempted to push its exposure in sport. The Ferrari deal eventually lasted until 2006 when Vodafone switched allegiance to McLaren.