- September 14 down the years
Vettel becomes youngest GP winner everWhat happened on this day in Formula One history?
Sebastian Vettel became the youngest driver to win a Formula One Grand Prix at Monza in 2008 aged 21 years and 74 days, driving for Toro Rosso. The day before, Vettel had become the youngest driver to take pole in Formula One history. Vettel finished 12.5 seconds ahead of McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen in wet weather conditions. The 21 year old drove a race that belied his years, picking up the throttle with metronomic precision in the slippery conditions while running standard-spec low downforce at the 3.6 mile circuit. In the post race press conference Vettel recalled the last few laps: "P1 was still on the board, P1 and a plus and I was leading by quite a bit, and I thought f***k, you know, if you finish the race you will be winning - I apologise - but you know, it was unbelievable. Then I tried to focus again, the conditions were difficult. In the end it was not so difficult to keep up concentration". The result was also a team best for Toro Rosso, being the only podium finish it ever achieved. The 2008 World Champion
In 2001 Mika Hakkinen announced he would be taking a sabbatical year from Formula One, and fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen would take his McLaren seat. In the end the double world champion never returned to the sport despite a number of offers from high-profile teams. After a career spanning four decades, starting karting in 1974 at the age of five, Hakkinen expressed a desire to spend more time with his wife and son.
The only Italian Grand Prix not to be held at Monza took place at Imola on this day and witnessed a horrific accident involving Gilles Villeneuve. Villeneuve's bravery earned him huge respect among the Italian Tifosi but on this occasion his luck ran out. After qualifying the outdated Ferrari in a respectable eighth place, Villeneuve suffered a tyre blow out on lap five and speared into the Armco barrier at high speed. The car disintegrated on impact and the main monocoque was thrown back into the oncoming traffic. Remarkably Villeneuve emerged with just scratches and bruises but any hope of a Ferrari podium on home soil (he was running fourth at the time) was gone. Nelson Piquet won the race after taking the lead on lap three and maintaining his advantage throughout. Alan Jones finished second thanks to a charge through the field from sixth on the grid and set the fastest lap in the process.
Georges Berger was born in Bruxelles. The Belgian driver only competed in two grands prix between 1953-54, with a career best finish of 20th. Berger died in August 1967 at the age of 48 when he crashed a Porsche 911 at the Nurburgring.
Mack Hellings was born on this day in Fort Dodge, Iowa. The American driver competed in the Indianapolis 500 in 1950 and 1951, with a career best finish of 13th. Hellings was killed in a plane crash in November 1951 aged 34.