Nigel Mansell secured a popular home win at Brands Hatch but the day was marred by a massive pile-up which started when Thierry Boutsen lost control of his Arrows and resulted in the innocent Jacques Laffite crashing head-on into a barrier. The 42-year-old Laffite, who was equalling Graham Hill's record of 176 grands prix starts, had to be cut from the wreckage and the accident brought to an end his F1 career. After an hour-and-a-half delay the race was restarted, and once Mansell had taken an early lead his only moments of concern came on the final laps when he had to ease off to conserve fuel.
Double world champion Alberto Ascari was born in Milan. In 1952, although he missed the first race, he won the Belgian, French, British, German, Dutch and Italian Grands Prix and duly took the title. He kept this winning streak going into 1953, taking the first three races and then two more later in the year as he motored to his second consecutive world title. In 1954 he moved to Lancia for more money than Ferrari were willing to pay but found himself sidelined as the promised cars were not ready. In 1955 he crashed into the harbour during the Monaco Grand Prix but swam to safety with minor injuries. And yet four days later he was killed while testing at Monza. More than a million people lined the streets in Milan for his funeral. Juan Manual Fangio lamented: "I have lost my greatest opponent."
Jacques Villeneuve was a slightly lucky winner of the British Grand Prix after Michael Schumacher and Mike Hakkinen were both forced to retire while leading. Schumacher was 40 seconds ahead when a wheel bearing failed, and then Hakkinen's engine blew. The day-to-forget award went to Heinz-Harald Frentzen who stalled while on the front row of the grid and so had to start from the back, which he did before crashing on the first lap.
Alan Jones won the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch by ten seconds from Nelson Piquet to extend his lead at the top of the world championship to six points. Didier Pironi started the day on pole, lead for 19 laps until he suffered a puncture, clawed his way back to fifth when a second puncture ended his race.
Jarno Trulli, who was born on this day in Pescara, is one of handful of drivers to have competed in more than 200 grands prix and yet he has only one win to his name, at Monaco in 2004.
Born in Brussels, Thierry Boutsen was another who managed a long career in F1 largely on the periphery. He managed three wins from 163 starts in 11 seasons, all while he was at Williams in 1989 and 1990.