On This Day – August 2nd

Remember those who made the racing pinnacle the very best it could be as we capture small moments in Formula 1 history one memory at a time…

alainprost1981Formula 1 fans may be grieving the start of the summer break but this day, August 2nd, is full of rich racing history. This date allows us to focus on a four time world champion, a man who will forever be remembered as one half of arguably the most infamous F1 rivalry on record.

On this day in 1981, Alain Prost secured his first pole position at the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim, a long overdue and well-fought for front row slot.

After a move from McLaren to Renault, fans were expecting great things from the Frenchman who would contest the championship alongside an on-form Rene Arnoux. Prost had one win and two podiums to his credit before posting his flying laps in Hockeheim at the helm of a Renault RE20B but, so far in his short career, top honours in qualifying had eluded him.

That was until August 2nd 1981, the day Prost’s pole position tally began. Whilst he did not win the race the following day, he did secure his first of thirty-two career poles. 1981’s eventual world champion Nelson Piquet will be remembered as the race winner but for a young Alain Prost it will remain a weekend to remember.

It started a run of competitive seasons and a bitter rivalry with Ayrton Senna. The four time champion is tied with the late, great Jim Clark as the third top pole scorer in history. This is an accolade many drivers today could and will only dream of.

Qualifying is not the most important aspect of a championship campaign- for Sunday brings the real moments of glory – but for any driver, conquering your rivals and being crowned fastest on the day is a proud and overwhelming moment.

In a Renault and still in the early years of his career, Alain Prost can say that, on August 2nd 1981, he was the fastest driver on the day. The man who dominated the opposition over one lap time and time again.

Image courtesy of Renault Sport.

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