Argentine driver Jose Froilan Gonzalez, Ferrari’s first race winner in the Formula One World Championship, has passed away at the age of 90 according to media reports from his homeland.
At the 1951 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Gonzalez defeated fellow Argentinian and Formula One legend Juan Manuel Fangio by 51 seconds for the first of what would be many, many victories for Maranello’s finest.
“The news of the death of Gonzalez saddened me greatly,” Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo told the marque’s official website. “We had spoken not that long ago, talking about cars and racing, the topics he was most enthusiastic about. Over all these years, he was always very attached to Ferrari and, as a driver and a man, he played an integral part in our history.
“His death means we have lost a true friend.”
Nicknamed the “Pampas Bull” and “El Cabezon,” Gonzalez would win twice in his Grand Prix career, adding another victory at Silverstone in 1954. That year was a particularly good one for him, finishing second in the World Championship to Fangio and also scoring a win with Maurice Trintignant in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Altogether, Gonzalez raced in 26 Grand Prix events, with his last one coming in front of his home fans at the 1960 Argentine Grand Prix. In 2011, he was honored by Ferrari on the 60th anniversary of his first British GP victory; Fernando Alonso went on to win at Silverstone that day after he had earlier turned a few laps in Gonzalez’ Ferrari 375.
With Gonzalez’ death, three-time World Champion Sir Jack Brabham, 87, is now the oldest-living Grand Prix race winner.
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).
However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.
However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.
Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.
In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth.
On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).
Check out the above video.
Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with Formula 1’s legendary Monaco Grand Prix.
Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The final part of the tripleheader of racing is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the 400-lap, 600-mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Newly-named NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).