What Happened On This Day July 8 In F1 History?

From Porsche's first world championship victory at the 1962 French Grand Prix to Lewis Hamilton's loss of winning the 2007 British Grand Prix.

Mark Phelan

By Mark Phelan
Updated on July 18, 2024

Dan Gurney Porsche 1962 French Grand Prix
Dan Gurney with Porsche wins the 1962 French Grand Prix // Image: Klemantaski Collection, Getty Images.

What happened on this day, July 8 in Formula 1 history? Find out interesting facts and stories about Formula 1 on this day.

1962

Dan Gurney achieved his and Porsche‘s first world championship victory at the 1962 French Grand Prix. Starting from the third row, Gurney was initially behind Graham Hill, John Surtees, Jim Clark, Bruce McLaren, and Jack Brabham. However, luck favoured Porsche as McLaren and Brabham retired from the race and Surtees experienced fuel feed issues. As Gurney moved up to third, Hill was hit by backmarker Jack Lewis on lap 30, and Clark stopped three laps later due to suspension problems, leaving Gurney to cruise to a fortunate win. A week later, Gurney and Jo Bonnier secured a 1-2 finish at the Solitude circuit near Stuttgart, marking Porsche’s final victory as an F1 constructor.

1984

Keke Rosberg won a gruelling 1984 US Grand Prix on the streets of Dallas, characterised by a deteriorating track. Due to the unreliability of his Honda engine earlier in the season, Rosberg didn’t expect to last beyond lap 20 and pushed hard from the start. Racing in temperatures up to 40C, he used a special helmet to stay cool and initially followed early leader Nigel Mansell. Mansell’s tyres disintegrated in the blistering heat, allowing Rosberg to take the lead. Alain Prost overtook Rosberg on lap 49 but crashed his McLaren into the wall shortly after. Rosberg went on to win, later commenting on the difficult conditions and crediting his team for the victory.

1990

Alain Prost won his home race, the 1990 French Grand Prix at the Paul Ricard circuit, but Ivan Capelli, who finished second in his Adrian Newey-designed Leyton House, stole the show. Nigel Mansell had pole position, but Gerhard Berger in the McLaren took the lead into the first corner. When the leaders pitted for tyres, Capelli and Mauricio Gugelmin for Leyton House moved to the front, opting not to change tyres. Prost overtook Gugelmin on lap 54, who retired three laps later. Three laps from the end, Prost passed Capelli, who managed to finish second despite a misfiring engine, delivering a stellar performance.

2004

Bernie Ecclestone proposed that Grant Prix qualifying positions be decided by ballot to enhance unpredictability and excitement. After Michael Schumacher‘s dominant first half of the season for Ferrari, Ecclestone suggested this radical change. He explained, “If we want a different grid, then have a ballot. You would have the same eight points-scoring positions for qualifying as you have for the race. Then the ballot, which is the same for everybody, means the fastest guy may be lucky and be on pole, or he may be at the back of the grid. It’s something we may have to leave until next year.”

2007

Lewis Hamilton‘s hopes of winning his first British Grand Prix were dashed by a botched pit stop, dropping him to third behind Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso. Hamilton led Raikkonen at the start but couldn’t maintain a sufficient gap on a lighter fuel load. During his second pit stop, he mistakenly lifted the clutch with the fuel hose still attached, costing him valuable time. Despite this, Hamilton left the race still leading the championship, but the error proved costly at the season’s end when he lost the title by a single point.

F1 Driver Birthday’s 8 July

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About The Author

Senior Editor

Mark Phelan
Mark Phelan

Mark is a staff writer specialising in the history of Formula 1 races. Mark researches most of our historic content from teams to drivers and races. He has followed Formula 1 since 1988, and admits to having a soft spot for British drivers from James Hunt and Nigel Mansell to Lando Norris. He loves a great F1 podcast and has read pretty much every drivers biography.

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