What Happened On This Day May 26 In F1 History?

From Alberto Ascari's tragic death at Monza in 1955 to David Coulthard's thrilling 2002 Monaco Grand Prix victory.


By Ben Bush
Updated on June 17, 2024

The car that Alberto Ascari died
The car that Alberto Ascari died.

What happened on this day, May 26 in Formula 1 history? Find out interesting facts and stories about Formula 1 on this day.


Four days after surviving a plunge into the harbour during the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix, Alberto Ascari tragically died while testing a Ferrari at Monza. The day after his escape in Monte Carlo, Ascari confided in a friend: “I never want my children to become too fond of me because one day I might not come back and they will suffer less if I don’t come back.” At Monza, he tested in the morning and took a Ferrari out for additional laps during lunch. Onlookers noted he didn’t wear a helmet, and his tie was fluttering in the wind. He crashed on his second lap. Over a million people lined the streets of Milan for his funeral. Juan Manuel Fangio lamented, “I have lost my greatest opponent.” His friend Gianni Lancia was so distraught that he handed his team, including spares, drivers, and monocoques, to Ferrari.


Stirling Moss, driving a Vanwall, won the 1958 Netherlands Grand Prix with the top six cars either from or featuring drivers from Britain. Moss dominated the race, lapping everyone except Harry Schell and Jean Behra.


Graham Hill won at the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix for BRM, ahead of teammate Richie Ginther. Hill, who had been driving with the engine burning his left foot throughout, seized his chance when long-time leader Jim Clark spun on the 79th lap after breaking the lap record twice.


In another Monaco Grand Prix with few finishers, only five of the 16 starters completed the race; Graham Hill recorded his fourth victory at the circuit in a Lotus. By the 20th lap, only five cars remained, and at one point, the race became a one-on-one duel between Hill and the BRM of Richard Attwood.


In an eerie coincidence, Paul Hawkins, the only other man to have survived a plunge into the water at the Monaco Grand Prix, was killed on this day, May 25, 1969. His Lola crashed and burned at Island Bend during the RAC Tourist Trophy at Oulton Park. Hawkins’ Monaco incident occurred in 1965.


Ronnie Peterson, driving a Lotus John Player Special, won the 1974 Monaco Grand Prix, with only nine of the 25 cars finishing after a first-lap pile-up that eliminated five cars and sent another three limping back to the pits.


On May 25, 1974, Swiss driver Silvio Moser died from injuries sustained in an accident the previous month while driving his Lola-BMW in the 1000 km sports car race at Monza. He crashed, suffered severe head and internal injuries, and never regained consciousness. He managed two top-six finishes in his 12 F1 starts between 1967 and 1971. At the time of his crash, he was a week away from a return to F1.


David Coulthard won a thrilling 2002 Monaco Grand Prix, fending off Juan Pablo Montoya and Michael Schumacher for his second victory there in three years.”It’s not pleasant when you look in the mirrors and you have got those guys behind you but I’d rather have them behind me than in front,” he said. “It was quite entertaining to watch Juan,” said Schumacher. “He was clipping a few barriers, locking up and getting sideways. I was thinking he was about to lose control but in the end he didn’t and kept his concentration well.”

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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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