“A race nobody wanted to win”

11. Oct 2021 
by Ziv Knoll

Riccardo Patrese recalls the 1982 Monaco Grand Prix where he scored his first Formula One win in “a race nobody wanted to win”.

“On lap 75, I was very cautious when I came to Loews, but I couldn’t control it and I spun. Afterwards someone objected that the marshals had pushed me. I didn’t feel any push. I think they pulled me back a little, as I was in an unsafe position, stuck in the middle of the track. Then they let go. The moment I released the brakes the car started to roll. I went down the hill, let the car get some speed, grabbed second gear and it started – with the Cosworth it was always quite easy to do a bump start.”

Patrese continues: “I didn’t know I’d won the GP. On the last lap de Cesaris stopped, then Pironi. I thought Rosberg’s Williams was still ahead of me because I thought he’d overtaken me. So I thought I was second. On the finishing lap everybody was waving flags and so on, while I was thinking I’d thrown it all away. I can remember thinking, ‘maybe they are pleased I finished second and drove a good race’, but I was very, very unhappy.”

“I was not in a hurry to get to the podium, because in the briefing they said only the winning car should stop in front of it. Because I was not the winner, I decided to give a lift to Didier. I dropped him off and instead of letting me go into the pits, I was shown the way to the podium. I didn’t understand. I thought they changed the rules and wanted the first three. But only my car was there! However there were more than three drivers; there was me, de Cesaris, Pironi and de Angelis! There was a big discussion over who was first, second or third. Somebody came to me and started to shout, ‘You won, you won’ Then I finally realised …”

Riccardo Patrese concludes: “Whenever you win at Monte Carlo there’s a very good party, and that year was even more special because it was the last time Princess Grace was there – she died in October of that year. I was quite young, and still a bit shy. She was really kind and nice to me, and they tried to make me confortable in that situation”.

Source: Riccardo Patrese

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