Pastor Maldonado Williams F1

So, five races, five winners so far in 2012. That doesn’t happen often. 1967 started with wins for Pedro Rodriguez, Denny Hulme, Jim Clark, Dan Gurney and Jack Brabham, and 1975 had Emerson Fittipaldi, Carlos Pace, Jody Scheckter, Jochen Mass and Niki Lauda – but the only time before this year that all five of those winners came from different teams was 1983. Here’s how it went down.

Brazil–Jacarepagua – Nelson Piquet – Brabham-BMW – March 13

Having triumphed in 1982 with a solitary victory and a great many solid results, Keke Rosberg arrived for the start of 1983 in fine form, taking pole position for Williams in Nelson Piquet’s backyard. But Nelson wasn’t going to be denied on his home turf. Starting fourth he got past Patrick Tambay and Alain Prost early on, and then set about Rosberg, making a clean pass on lap seven and then disappearing into the distance. Keke’s title defence wasn’t helped when his car caught fire in the pits. The Finn jumped out, the fire was extinguished and he jumped back in and finished the race in second – but was later disqualified for a push start.

Here’s the fire…

And here’s Piquet making the pass…

USA-West – Long Beach – John Watson – McLaren-Cosworth – March 27
If you think there’s anything new in the idea that tyres decide who wins a grand prix, then this is possibly the best, and most extreme, argument to the contrary. 1983 featured tyres from Goodyear (Williams, Tyrrell, Ferrari), Pirelli (Lotus, Toleman) and Michelin (McLaren, Brabham, Renault). McLaren had a miserable time on their Michelin qualifying rubber and John Watson qualified 22nd, one place ahead of team-mate Niki Lauda. At the front the race was all thrills and spills but Watson and Lauda were clinical in making up places on race tyres that worked much better than their qualifiers. In the end Watson won by half a minute from Lauda who was 45 seconds clear of Rene Arnoux in third. Arnoux’s Ferrari had started on the front row.

Awesome start from Rosberg…

Watty passing Lauda...

France – Paul Ricard – Alain Prost – Renault – April 17
If Alain Prost was feeling any pressure at his home race, he didn’t show it. While the Renault turbo had struggled at twisty Long Beach it excelled on Ricard’s long, fast Mistral. Prost put his Renault on pole, two seconds clear of team-mate Eddie Cheever and led away comfortably at the start. He never looked back, beat Piquet by half a minute at the flag and set fastest lap into the bargain.

But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an interesting race behind him…

San Marino – Imola – Patrick Tambay – Ferrari – May 1
The early races of the season had been sending the vast bulk of the grandstands home happy, with Piquet winning in Rio and Prost’s Renault in France, and so it was at Imola the sequence was continued with Ferrari winning on it’s home turf. Rene Arnoux put the Scuderia on pole, a good margin ahead of Piquet who narrowly squeezed out the other Ferrari of Patrick Tambay for second. It was, however, all Ferrari going into Tamburello on the first lap at Piquet stalled his Brabham on the grid. Despite Piquet’s problems Brabham were still a force to be reckoned with in the race and the second car of Riccardo Patrese stalked the Ferrari’s before taking the lead. Pitstops, however, were to play a part. Arnoux pitted first and had an OK stop, but Tambay had a better one, and Patrese missed his marks, gifting the lead to Tambay. The drama wasn’t over as the fast Brabham remorselessly closed back up on the Ferrari (which was suffering with an occasional misfire) and Patrese retook the lead… only to slide off moments later and hand Tambay a second – and final – grand prix victory.

If there was any doubt that an Italian crowd preferred an Italian car to an Italian driver, that was pretty much answered by the roars of approval from the staggeringly enormous crowd on the hill above the Variante Bassa as Tambay took the chequered flag a few laps later.

Monaco – Keke Rosberg – Williams-Cosworth – May 15
1983 was the year when the turbo finally began to dominate. Brabham-BMW, Renault and Ferrari ran turbos from the start, Lotus ran the first half of the season with a normally-aspirated Cosworth for Nigel Mansell and a Renault turbo for Elio de Angelis, while McLaren and Williams persevered with the venerable Cosworth DFV until late in the year when their respective TAG-Porsche and Honda turbos arrived. It meant World Champion Keke Rosberg was giving away a big horsepower advantage to his rivals – but had a lighter Williams that was more responsive to the throttle as in exchange. It wasn’t a very good deal but on the tight Monaco circuit the trade-off was a little better and he qualified in fifth. It rained before the start of the race. Prost, Arnoux, Cheever, and Tambay ahead all opted to start on rain tyres, but the Williams of Rosberg and Jacques Laffite gambled on slicks. It paid off as Rosberg had a monster start and soon passed Prost to take the lead. Williams were soon running one and two as the turbos peeled off into the pits for slicks. Laffite retired with a gearbox problem but Rosberg stayed healthy and won by 18 seconds from Piquet.

Here’s James Hunt explaining the situation over the start…

At the sixth race of the year Alain Prost won at Spa. There would be other winners during the season but the sequence was ended and it’s never been repeated since. Going to Monaco there’s every chance that that record could be broken . To add another winner from another manufacturer, Sauber are an outside bet, having started the season well, but the smart money would be on Lotus. Kimi Räikkönen has won this grand prix before, and Romain Grosjean has won here in GP2. However, looking at the teams who have already won races, there’s plenty of Monaco talent out there without a win. Bruno Senna is a GP2 winner at Monaco, Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber have both won here in F1. And then there’s the dark horse that is Michael Schumacher with five victories. Stranger things have happened.

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