• July 15 down the years

The dashing Prince Bira

Prince Bira in jubilant mood after winning the Road Racing Club's Imperial Trophy Race at Crystal Palace © Getty Images

The birth in Bangkok of Prince Bira, one of the most colourful drivers whose playboy lifestyle ensured he was never far from the headlines either side of the war. A car fanatic from an early age, when at school in England he made it his ambition to become a racing driver. He eventually graduated to a mighty ERA, but his career was interrupted by the Second World War, after which he won various Formula Two races before making his Formula One debut in 1950 for Maserati, finishing fifth at Monaco and then fourth in the Swiss Grand Prix. Running in Maserati, then Gordini, then Connaught, then Maserati again, 'B Bira' raced on until the start of 1955 when he retired.

Jim Clark kick-started his faltering season with victory in the British Grand Prix. Lotus had the fastest car but struggled with transmission problems - both cars had retired while running 1-2 in the French Grand Prix a fortnight earlier - but as Clark and Graham Hill dominated all seemed to be right at Silverstone. Hill led up to the 55th lap when his car suffered from a rear suspension issues and then engine failure, but Clark held on.

Alain Prost secured his third successive win to move ahead of Ayrton Senna in the drivers' championship. The early battle had been between Senna and Nigel Mansell as the pair swapped the lead, but mechanical problems took their toll on Mansell while Senna spun off, allowing Prost to cruise home. A fuming Mansell, who eventually had to retire on the 56th lap, said afterwards that he was "much quicker than anyone else … I'm bound to wonder why these problems don't happen to the other guys". He then announced his retirement - "I'm not making an excuse, just a statement … I don't want to burst into tears" - but soon changed his mind.

Ferrari dominated the British Grand Prix with Taffy Von Trips leading home Phil Hill and Ritchie Ginther. The race, which started in the rain and ended in blazing sunshine, was eventful for Stirling Moss who retired, took over Jack Fairman's four-wheel-drive Ferguson only to then be disqualified for having received a push start.

Emerson Fittipaldi won an eventful British Grand Prix. Jackie Icyx led early on before retiring with oil pressure problems, while Ronnie Peterson appeared set to take fourth place when his engine cut out and he crashed into the abandoned cars of Graham Hill and Francois Cevert.

In his period of dominance, the British Grand Prix was a rare failure for Michael Schumacher as he failed to win despite taking pole, the victory going to Mike Hakkinen. For Heinz-Harald Frentzen it marked the end of his time with Jordan who sacked him following a disappointing season.

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