What Happened On This Day July 3 In F1 History?

From Jim Clark's injury from by a bird strike in 1966 to Fernando Alonso's win at the 2005 French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours.


By Ben Bush
Updated on July 11, 2024

Didier Pironi Ferrari Win 1982 Dutch Grand Prix
Didier Pironi wins for Ferrari at the 1982 Dutch Grand Prix.

What happened on this day, July 3 in Formula 1 history? Find out interesting facts and stories about Formula 1 on this day.


Jack Brabham claimed victory at the 1960 French Grand Prix, finishing ahead of Olivier Gendebien and Bruce McLaren. Brabham secured pole position, ahead of Phil Hill for Ferrari and Graham Hill for BRM. The race began chaotically, with Maurice Trintignant colliding with Graham Hill. Brabham and Phil Hill quickly pulled ahead, but Hill eventually retired due to transmission issues. As other cars also faced difficulties, Gendebien and McLaren secured unexpected podium finishes.


Jack Brabham triumphed again at the 1966 French Grand Prix, finishing ahead of Mike Parkes and Denny Hulme. During qualifying, Jim Clark was injured by a bird strike, forcing him to withdraw from the event. Ferrari’s Lorenzo Bandini set the pace, followed by John Surtees and his teammate Mike Parkes. Although Surtees had a fast start, his fuel pump failed, allowing Bandini to take the lead with Brabham and Parkes in pursuit. On lap 32, Bandini’s Ferrari experienced a throttle cable failure, handing the lead to Brabham. Brabham secured his first win with the Repco engine, while Parkes achieved an impressive second place on his Formula 1 debut. Hulme finished third, marking his first podium appearance.


Mario Andretti clinched victory at the 1977 French Grand Prix, finishing ahead of John Watson and James Hunt. Andretti demonstrated the rapid improvements of the Lotus 78 by securing pole position, half a second ahead of Hunt, Gunnar Nilsson, and Watson. At the start, Andretti slipped to fourth place as Hunt surged into the lead. Watson then took the lead on lap five. The positions remained steady until lap 17, when Andretti overtook Hunt and began closing in on Watson. On the final lap, Andretti seized the lead when Watson’s engine faltered due to a fuel issue, securing a dramatic win.


Didier Pironi secured victory at the 1982 Dutch Grand Prix, finishing ahead of Nelson Piquet and Keke Rosberg. This win came shortly after Pironi survived a spectacular testing accident at Paul Ricard, where his car somersaulted before landing upright on the track. At the start, the Renaults of Alain Prost and Rene Arnoux occupied the front row, with Prost taking the early lead. On the fifth lap, Pironi surged ahead, steadily pulling away from the pack. Piquet soon overtook Arnoux, and Rosberg climbed to third place. Both Renaults retired before the halfway point, with Arnoux crashing out at the notorious Tarzan Corner when his Renault’s throttle stuck open and he hit the tyre barriers. Arnoux walked away from the crash unharmed. And Prost suffering an engine failure.


On this day, 3 July 1987, Sebastian Vettel was born in Heppenheim, Germany. Vettel quickly established himself as a standout driver of the new generation by securing a victory for Toro Rosso before Red Bull had claimed its first win.

With one of the most successful Formula 1 careers spanning from 2007 to 2022, Vettel drove for various teams, including BMW Sauber, Toro Rosso, Red Bull, Ferrari and Aston Martin. He is regarded as one of the greatest drivers in Formula One history, with an impressive record of winning four consecutive World Drivers’ Championship titles between 2010 and 2013. He also holds the record for being the youngest World Champion in the sport, aged 23 years and 133 days.

With 299 race starts from 300 entries, Vettel, along with four championships, amassed 53 wins, 122 podiums, 3098 career points, 57 pole positions, and 38 fastest laps.


McLaren continued its perfect record in the championship with another dominant 1-2 finish at the 1988 French Grand Prix, with Alain Prost triumphing over his teammate Ayrton Senna. The Ferraris, driven by Michele Alboreto and Gerhard Berger, finished third and fourth, respectively, but trailed by some 35 seconds.


Michael Schumacher claimed victory at the 1994 French Grand Prix, finishing ahead of Damon Hill and Gerhard Berger. Between the 1994 Canadian and French GPs, Williams replaced David Coulthard with Nigel Mansell, while Benetton swapped JJ Lehto for Jos Verstappen. During qualifying, Hill secured pole position, with Mansell in second, pushing Schumacher’s Benetton to third place ahead of Ferrari drivers Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger. At the start of the race, Schumacher quickly overtook both Williams cars as Mansell fell back and Hill pursued Schumacher. After the first round of pit stops, the lead drivers exchanged places, but Schumacher regained the lead after the second stop and maintained it until the end. Berger finished third, while both Mansell and Alesi retired.


Fernando Alonso won the 2005 French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours, finishing ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher. Raikkonen faced a setback when his engine blew during practice, resulting in a ten-place grid penalty. Despite this, he qualified third fastest and ran 28 laps before his first pit stop, climbing from 13th to second place. Raikkonen closed the gap to within 15 seconds of Alonso, but the Spaniard held on to secure the win, likely benefiting from Raikkonen’s earlier misfortune. The race also marked Giancarlo Fisichella‘s 150th start in Formula One.

F1 Driver Birthday’s 3 July

Birth DateF1 Driver
3 July 1914Carl Scarborough
3 July 1987Sebastian Vettel

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About The Author

Chief Editor

Ben Bush

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

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