1999 – Hakkinen Hides In The Bushes
Think of Mika Hakkinen and you’ll probably think of a cool customer who was never phased through battles with rival Michael Schumacher. However, after suffering a gearbox problem while out in front in Italy, the Finn skidded off the road and stalled his McLaren. Gloves thrown to the ground, and thinking he was out of sight of the TV cameras, Hakkinen dropped to his knees and began to cry, releasing the tension of trying to defend a world championship. Unfortunately, the hovering helicopter above him caught it all.
2004 – Montoya Sets F1’s Fastest Ever Lap
The F1 cars of the early 2000s were some of the fastest ever, and Juan Pablo Montoya used this to his advantage to set the fastest lap ever recorded by a Formula One car, at that time, with an average speed of 262.242 km/h (162.9 mph).
1988 – Senna Hands It To Ferrari
Emotions were running high in Italy with the passing of the legendary Enzo Ferrari, but they would run even higher just a few weeks after his death when Gerhard Berger would lead home teammate Michele Alboreto for a Ferrari 1-2 on home soil. The all-conquering McLaren’s of Alain Prost (engine failure) and Ayrton Senna (collision with a backmarker) would only fail to win one race in all of 1988, and this was it.
1954 – The Name’s Stirling, Stirling Moss.
It’s a name that’s now synonymous with historic Formula One, but in 1954 Stirling Moss was nothing more than a privateer who had made sporadic appearances over the previous few seasons. But, armed with a customer Maserati, Moss took it to the big guns of Alberto Ascari and Juan Manuel Fangio, overtaking both and leading for 18 laps.
Ultimately his engine would fail a handful of laps from the end of the race, but the British driver wouldn’t give up that easily – he pushed the car over the line, finishing nine laps down on the winner Fangio. This drive got him a Mercedes seat for 1955, and the rest, they say, is history.
1971 – Separated By A Whisker
Monza, before the introduction of chicanes and safety measures such as kerbs, was nothing more than an afternoon of slipstreaming between cars at high speeds. This became it’s calling card in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, and the closest it got at the front was a whisker. And it was definitely a whisker – 0.01 seconds split winner Peter Gethin from second placed man Ronnie Peterson.
2001 – Ferrari’s Tribute
The events that transpired in New York in September 2001 shook the world, and sporting events that month were either cancelled, or took on a far more deeper meaning. Ferrari decided to run a bare red livery with a black nosecone on both Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello during the weekend as their tribute to those who tragically lost their lives.
1993 – Fittipaldi’s Flip
What’s the best way to finish a grand prix? If you answered that question with “coming together with my teammate so my car flips a full 360 just before I cross the line”, then you’re Minardi’s Christian Fittipaldi, circa 1993.
1986 – Teo Fabi’s Flyer
The mid-eighties; an era defined by pure excess. That’s how BMW viewed their horsepower output, so much so that the qualifying spec engine they produced was rumoured to produce a staggering 1,400bhp. At Monza, the top five fastest cars through the speed trap – both Benettons, both Brabhams and an Arrows – were all powered by the German marque.
Teo Fabi took pole position, reaching a top speed of 349.85 km/h (217 mph), which even today is super, super fast.
1995 – All Hill Breaks Loose
As hotly contested as the Damon Hill vs. Michael Schumacher rivalry was, there was far too much argy-bargy between the two for some people’s liking. One of the later incidents happened in Monza in ’95, when Hill misjudged an overtake on a backmarker and slammed into the German, eliminating both on the spot. Schumacher was narked (understandably) and put his point across in the gravel trap.
1969 – As Close As You Can Get
Another close finish in Italy, but this time it was a four-way fight for the win from Parabolica to the start-finish straight. Jackie Stewart would take the win from Jochen Rindt by the margin of 0.08s, and the top 4 cars were separated by just under two-tenths of a second.
1994 – Team Lotus’ Last Chance
The decline of the original Lotus F1 team is well documented, and in it’s last season in 1994 it was in dire straights. In Italy, engine supplier Mugen Honda brought an upgraded unit for the team to run, and it saw Johnny Herbert qualify in an impressive 4th place. Alas, he was eliminated at the first corner thanks to a nudge from Eddie Irvine and had to take the restart in the spare car – with the older Mugen engine – and failed to make the impression the team had hoped. The very next day, Team Lotus went into receivership.
1976 – Brave Lauda Makes His Return
It was thought that after his fiery crash at the Nurburgring, Niki Lauda’s racing career, let alone the 1976 season, would be over. Yet just six weeks after the accident that nearly took his life, Lauda was back in Ferrari at Monza, where he qualified fifth and finished fourth.
2008 – Vettel Dances In The Rain
The race that put Sebastian Vettel on the map. Driving a Toro Rosso and braving awful weather conditions, Vettel dazzled to give the former Minardi team their first ever race victory, despite everyone thinking “That Heikki Kovalainen should win this easy”.
2011 – Mind The Gap, Vitantonio!
No racing driver wants to be heading backwards into a corner, let alone the first chicane at Monza. Tonio Luizzi did in his Hispania in 2011, but thankfully the only thing seriously damaged was Nico Rosberg’s chances of a good result.
1990 – Warwick’s Lucky Escape
Say what you want about early nineties F1 cars, but at least acknowledge that they were strong. Derek Warwick tested his Lotus out in 1990 and it passed it’s safety test with flying colours.