Remember the last Frenchman to win an F1 grand prix?
The 1996 Monaco GP is remembered as one of the craziest races in F1 history, with just three cars making it to the chequered flag. And it was Ligier’s Olivier Panis who emerged victorious that day – a dream result for French driver and team.
There was certainly a huge amount of luck involved, but Panis was undeniably quick. Engine problems struck in qualifying, which meant a car with top-six potential started 14th. To prove that point, Panis set the fastest lap in a dry warm-up on Sunday before the heavens opened.
The rain delivered a chaotic race, but Panis was imperious. Aggressively pulling off a series of overtaking manoeuvres to make his strategy work, he rose through the field as others faltered to become the 12th French winner in 46 years of the world championship.
The wait for next French winner goes on. Romain Grosjean came close, twice finishing second – but only nine other Frenchmen have started a grand prix since Panis was dealt his winning hand.