May 18, 2014, 12:45 PM EDT
On this day in 1969, two-time Formula 1 world champion Graham Hill won the Monaco Grand Prix for the fifth time, setting a record that would not be broken until Ayrton Senna’s sixth triumph there in 1993.
Hill’s place in Formula 1 folklore was largely secured around the tight and twisty streets of the Mediterranean principality. In fact, his nickname was “Mr. Monaco” because of how successful he was there.
The Briton made his debut in 1958, and enjoyed a 17-year career in Formula 1 – unheard of at the time due to the extraordinary risks and, compared to modern standards, poor safety. In fact, in 1955, Alberto Ascari actually crashed into the harbor at Monaco. Thankfully, he was rescued from the water and escaped with just a broken nose.
In 1962, Hill won his first world title, and clinched his first victory at Monaco in 1963. Further victories in 1964, 1965 and 1968 would follow, with the latter helping to take him to a second world championship.
1969 saw Mr. Monaco do it again. After Jackie Stewart and Chris Amon made rocket starts and pulled ahead, both were forced to retire from the race due to problems on their cars. This allowed Hill to sweep past and claim his 14th and final grand prix victory. He raced on until 1975 with little success, but was tragically killed in a plane accident in the November of that year.
Ahead of the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix, it is nice to remember just how much history there is around the streets of Monte Carlo. The likes of Hill, Senna, Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost all made their names with success at Monaco, and for the class of 2014, the importance of winning such a historic race will not be lost.
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