- September 22 down the years
When the wheels came off Mansell's title hopesWhat happened on this day in Formula One history?
Another Nigel Mansell championship bid ended in heartache as well as semi-farcical circumstances at the Portuguese Grand Prix. Starting the race from fourth on the grid, Mansell drove superbly to take the lead. But during a pit stop, one of his tyres was not fitted properly, came off the car and began bouncing down the pit lane. With Mansell gesticulating frantically, his Williams mechanics ran to his car to attach another wheel. Mansell emerged 17th and broke a string of lap records to battle his way back up to sixth only to be black flagged and disqualified for illegally having mechanics work on his car in the pit lane. He drove into the pits, got out without a word to his team and headed tearfully back to his motorhome. "I just don't believe it," he said. "I've done everything I can and just don't know what else I have to do."
With four drivers within eight points of each other, the penultimate grand prix of the season at Canada's Mosport Park was going to be a tense affair. Emerson Fittipaldi started on pole with Niki Lauda's Ferrari alongside, but Lauda soon moved into the lead, braking the lap record four times before he piled into a guard rail on the 68th lap, Fittipaldi going on the take the win. The result meant he was level on points with Clay Regazzoni who finished second, Jody Scheckter, who had crashed on the 49th lap when his brakes failed, seven points back in third. The race started 45 minutes late after a power failure which blanked out the entire area.
The Spanish Grand Prix was dominated by Mercedes who took the first three places, the win going to Rudolf Caracciola. Achille Varzi, who had started on the front row in his Auto Union, was forced to retire after a stone smashed his windscreen and cut his face; he resumed after medical treatment but soon after was forced out for good with transmission problems.
Sir Henry Seagrave, who was a household name in the 1920s after setting three land speed records and the water speed record, was born in Baltimore on this day. Raised in Ireland and educated at Eton, after distinguished service for the Royal Flying Corp in World War One, he took up motor racing, becoming the first Briton to win a grand prix in a British car. He won the 1923 French Grand Prix and the 1924 San Sebastian Grand Prix in a Sunbeam automobile, and after a further win at Miramas, he retired to concentrate on speed records. He was the first man to travel over 200mph in a car and the first to pass 100mph on water. He was knighted in 1929 and died the following year when his boat crashed while breaking the water-speed record on Lake Windermere.
Jacques Villeneuve produced what the Guardian's Alan Henry described as "one of the most breathtaking overtaking manoeuvres seen all season" to pass Michael Schumacher on the outside of a turn on his way to victory at the Portuguese Grand Prix. "It was fun," he said. "I told the team before the race I thought we could do it. They said they would come and pick me out of the guard rail if I tried." Villeneuve's win kept the championship alive, denying Damon Hill who needed to win to make sure of the title. The key moment came when Villeneuve got past Hill at the final pit stop. "I was pretty shocked to see him coming out of the pits ahead of me," Hill admitted. "He was flying and there was no way I could keep up with him."
Born on this day was British driver Ian Raby who only had a brief racing career in Formula One which ended in tragedy. Raby started his racing in the 500cc Formula 3 in 1953 before he switched to sports cars. Less than two years later, Raby returned to single-seater racing and raced in Formula Juniors before buying a BRM and competing in F1 but failed to score a single point. In 1966, Raby returned to Formula 2 racing. The following season he suffered a big crash at Zandvoort in Holland and died from his injuries four months later.