Olivier Panis has shocked the world of Formula 1 on this day in 1996 when he won the chaotic Monaco GP with only four drivers finishing the race while pole sitter Michael Schumacher crashed in the first lap after being overtaken by Damon Hill at the start.

In dry qualifying session, Schumacher defeated his nemesis Hill in Williams and two Benetton drivers Alesi and Berger. Later winner Olivier Panis started only 14th with two seconds and two thousands of a second behind Schumacher. Villeneuve was only 10th in second Williams.

Coulthard McLaren Monaco Michael Schumacher Helmet F1 1996
Coulthard borrowed Schumacher’s helmet

Interestingly, Michael Schumacher lent his helmet to David Coulthard because Scott had problems with his helmet.

Before the race, there were two warm-up sessions, one in dry conditions, where Panis was fastest, and the other, which was organized in the last moment so the drivers could try the wet conditions and where Hakkinen was the fastest.

The race started with delays, and already after the first round five drivers crashed out in extremely difficult conditions.

Michael Schumacher crashed after trying to catch the Hill who overtook him at the start and who led the race. Diniz’s gearbox broke down already in the fifth lap while Berger’s Benetton gearbox lasted only four laps longer. Brundle in Jordan crashed in lap 31 after which only 11 drivers remained in the race.

Panis overtook Irvine on dry tyres in slowest corner on the track while Hill led ahead of Alesi until the lap 40 when his Renault V10 engine expired.

Panis Ligier Monaco F1 1996 cvelebrates victory with french flag Foto Typewriter
Panis celebrates his only F1 victory in Monaco

Alesi led the next 20 laps until he retired with suspension problems while in the same lap Badoer alspo retired after collision with Villeneuve. There were only seven drivers left in the race.

Panis then led the race in front of Coulthard in McLaren, Herbert in Sauber, Salo in Tyrrell, Hakkinen in McLaren, Frentzen in Jordan, and Irvine in Ferrari.

Irvine spun in Mirabeau corner, and when he wanted to return, Salo struck him. Both riders retrired, as did Hakkinen, who could not avoid them on the narrow streets of Monte Carlo.

The race was finished after two hours and Panis celebrated 4.828 seconds ahead of Coulthard, 37.503 seconds ahead of Herbert and a whole lap ahead of Frentzen.

It was the only race in 1996 that wasn’t won by Williams or Ferrari drivers – Williams won 12 races (Hill 8, Villeneuve 4), Ferrari three (Schumacher) and Ligier one race in Monaco.

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