• August 31 down the years

Piquet piles pressure on Jones

Nelson Piquet on the way to winning the Dutch Grand Prix © Sutton Images
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Australian driver Alan Jones became the first man to win the world championship with Willliams in 1980 but he was made to work for the title. The Dutch Grand Prix of that year marked the first time he failed to finish on the podium. Jones suffered a big crash in practice but still manage to qualify fourth. Jones then took the lead on the second lap after a good start but damaged one of his skirts in his car after driving over kerbing. Having been forced to pit for repairs, Jones struggled home 11th, three laps down on race winner Nelson Piquet, who closed the gap in the standings to just two points with three races remaining. Jacques Laffite and Carlos Reutemann also maintained slim hopes of the title after finishing third and fourth behind Rene Arnoux.

The Toyota team announced that Ralf Schumacher would miss the Italian Grand Prix following his accident during the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis, where he fractured his back. The team announced that Antonio Pizzonia would replace the German for the race.

Raymond Sommer, born on this day, was a key figure of the inter-war period of racing, especially in sports cars, where he won Le Mans in both 1931 and 1932, first with Luigi Chinetti and then with the legendary Tazio Nuvolari. Eschewing driving for teams in Formula One because of the constraints they put on him, He delighted in taking on the mighty Ferrari and Mercedes teams and beating them as often as possible. After the war he consolidated his reputation for no-holds-barred racing with an excellent fourth place at Monaco in 1950 in a Formula Two Ferrari, before being killed in a non-championship race at Cadours towards the end of the year.

Jenson Button escaped injury in a high-speed accident during testing at Monza. His Honda went off the track at the 160mph exit of the Parabolica late in the afternoon, skipping over the gravel trap before hitting the barriers. The impact caused major damage to the entire left side of the RA106 but Button was able to climb out of the car unaided and reported no injuries.

Singapore Grand Prix organisers officially began work on their facilities for the 2008 race with a ceremony involving local dignitaries at the circuit site.