If you’re a fan of the unpredictable – and let’s face it, when it comes to F1, who isn’t? – then this one is for you, because what followed once the lights went out was one of the classic races of the 1990s. Here is just a glimpse of the action of that day in the streets of Monte Carlo…
Williams was the team to beat in 1996 and their FW18 remained in pole position for the first four races of 1996 – three times through Damon Hill and once during Jacques Villeneuve’s first training in Australia. They also won the first five races of the season, with Hill leading the standings.
Given that there had only been three different winners in Monaco since 1984 – Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher, who had won in 1994 and 1995 – it seemed unlikely that we would see Hill or Jean’s Benettons Alesi and Gerhard Berger who started behind him take the checkered flag first…
Heavy rain fell before the race and an additional warm-up session was scheduled due to weather conditions. A number of pilots chose not to participate in the session in case they broke down and ran out of spare parts, while several spun during overtime on the track.
One of these spinners was Andrea Montermini, who crashed before the race even started. It would therefore be a 21-car race on a very wet track.
Jos Verstappen, one of the first victims of these dangerous conditions, crashed at first after playing with slick tires.
But there were many others who also got the slippery trail wrong, including some of the biggest names in the sport at the time. In fact, so many cars have dropped out that this race has set an infamous record for the fewest Grand Prix finishers.
The carnage also led a shock winner to cross the field to claim his only career victory in F1 in a spectacle that stunned the Principality.
How to watch
The 1996 Monaco Grand Prix will be broadcast live on the F1 Facebook and YouTube channels, and on F1.com at 1500 UK (1400 UTC) on Saturday 4 April.
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