- July 6 down the years
Musso dies chasing down HawthornWhat happened on this day in Formula One history?
Mike Hawthorn took a tainted victory for Ferrari at the French Grand Prix after his team-mate and Italy's top-line driver Luigi Musso was killed trying to catch the Englishman. Hawthorn had been the quicker of the pair all weekend and after Harry Schell briefly got ahead in a BRM, took the lead. Musso wasn't far behind and was closing the gap to his team-mate as they entered the high-speed Geuz curve. Musso's confidence was building and he attempted to take the corner flat-out for the first time, however, in doing so he found and broke the limits of the 246 Dino's grip and went spinning off the circuit. At approximately 150 mph the car dug into a ditch and somersaulted into the air, flinging Musso from the driver's seat. He was rushed to hospital but died the same day.
Juan Pablo Montoya soured his relationship with his Williams team at the French Grand Prix after he shouted abuse at his pit wall over the radio for favouring his team-mate and eventual race winner Ralf Schumacher. The two Williams had been dominant but a minor mistake during Montoya's first stop and then the team's decision to fuel him shorter than Schumacher incensed the Colombian. At the time the Williams attempted to play down the incident but it was just the start of a slowly degrading relationship between driver and team. Montoya eventually left Williams in 2004.
Lewis Hamilton won the British Grand Prix by well over a minute in torrential rain at Silverstone. The conditions were appalling but Hamilton barely put a wheel off line as he came from fourth on the grid, passed his team-mate Heikki Kovalainen for the lead and sped off into the distance. Several other drivers were left red-faced but none more so than Felipe Massa who spun his Ferrari five times on his way to 13th place, two laps down. On taking his first F1 victory on home soil, Hamilton said: "When I came round the last time, I saw the crowd standing up and I prayed: 'Just finish, just finish.' It was a very emotional moment to win my home grand prix and I want to dedicate this victory to my family."
Nigel Mansell won the French Grand Prix after Ayrton Senna spun out of contention. Senna had taken his fifth pole position in eight races but was beaten off the line by Mansell into the first corner. The Brazilian held onto second until Andrea de Cessaris' engine exploded and deposited oil on the track. Senna continued at full pace through the accident zone but lost control on the slippery surface and went careering into the barriers. Mansell then had to hold off the threat from Alain Prost who was running a one-stop strategy against Mansell's two-stop. The Frenchman did take the lead on his home soil but Mansell came charging past on lap 59 to reclaim the position on fresh tyres. The positions held until the end of the race.
Ferrari took a dominant 1-2-3 victory at the French Grand Prix at Rouen, beating the local favourites Gordini with ease. Before the race hopes had been high that the enigmatic Jean Behra could repeat his race-winning performance at a non-championship race the weekend before. But for the world championship race Ferrari brought a more powerful engine for its 500s, and its three factory drivers, Alberto Ascari, Nino Farina and Piero Taruffi occupying the front row at the start of the race and the podium at the end.