What Happened On This Day May 3 In F1 History?

From Nelson Piquet claiming the win at the 1981 San Marino Grand Prix, to one of Nigel Mansell's most dominant wins at the 1992 Spanish Grand Prix.


By Ben Bush
Updated on May 21, 2024

Mansell wins the Olympic Games GP in Barcelona in 1992
Mansell wins the Olympic Games GP in Barcelona in 1992.

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


Dutch racer Boy Hayje was born on May 3, 1949, in Amsterdam. He had a brief and unremarkable Formula 1 career, qualifying for only three of the seven Grand Prix races he entered without finishing any. His Formula 1 debut at the 1976 Dutch Grand Prix saw him qualify by a controversial margin, allegedly after his team distracted the officials and tampered with his official timing.


Nelson Piquet clinched victory at the San Marino Grand Prix, narrowing Carlos Reutemann’s lead in the 1981 drivers’ championship to just three points. The race saw Gilles Villeneuve initially leading until a premature tyre change coincided with rain. Accidents in the race included John Watson crashing into Rene Arnoux and defending champion Alan Jones, who calmly accepted the collision with teammate Reutemann as part of racing.


Nigel Mansell managed mechanical issues with his Williams-Honda to triumph at the 1987 San Marino Grand Prix, finishing thirty seconds ahead of Ayrton Senna in the Lotus. The win showcased Mansell’s skill in eeking every last bit out of the car. His teammate, Nelson Piquet, didn’t race due to a big crash in free practice. Other highlights of the race included a last-minute car switch due to a technical failure with his Lotus for rookie driver Satoru Nakajima, who managed a commendable sixth-place finish.


In one of his most impressive performances, Nigel Mansell dominated the 1992 Spanish Grand Prix, leading from start to finish to secure the win despite variable weather conditions and a heavy downpour towards the race’s end. The victory marked his fourth consecutive win early in the ’92 season. Michael Schumacher finished second, 23.9 seconds behind, missing the chance to become the youngest Grand Prix winner in F1 history at the time. The day’s tension peaked during the post-race press conference when Mansell fiercely responded to questions about his car’s technical superiority, questioning the seriousness of the questions and suggesting the reporter might need psychiatric help for their ignorance.

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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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