On This Day

  • May 23 down the years

Senna wins fifth successive Monaco Grand Prix

Ayrton Senna made it five in a row at Monaco on this day © Getty Images
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1993
Ayrton Senna won the Monaco Grand Prix for the sixth time, breaking the race record he shared with Graham Hill (May 18 1969). It was Senna's fifth successive success in the event; he remains the only driver to win the same Grand Prix five years in a row. He had some help today. Alain Prost started on pole, a huge advantage on a circuit where passing is virtually impossible. But Prost was penalised for a jump-start and had to work his way back through the field. Then Michael Schumacher was well clear at the front when he dropped out with hydraulic trouble. And Damon Hill was held back by a slight collision with Gerhard Berger. Hill finished second, almost a minute behind. Senna didn't make it to the next Monaco Grand Prix. He died in San Marino on May 1 1994.

In 1982, Riccardo Patrese won a Formula 1 race for the first time. That year's Monaco Grand Prix had one of the craziest finishes of all time. In the last couple of laps, no-one stayed in the lead for long. Alain Prost crashed, Patrese spun off, Didier Pironi had electrical trouble, Andrea de Cesaris ran out of fuel, and Derek Daly's gearbox seized up. Phew. Patrese crawled home after restarting by rolling downhill. He was the only driver to complete all 76 laps.

The 2004 race was almost as eventful. Jarno Trulli started from pole, which is normally enough to win in Monaco. And he did - but there's more to it than that. The race had to be restarted when David Coulthard and Giancarlo Fisichella collided in the smoke from Takuma Sato's engine. Fernando Alonso crashed in the tunnel and accused Ralf Schumacher of dangerous driving. And Michael Schumacher's chance of winning the first six races of the reason ended with a shunt from Juan Pablo Montoya. Trulli held off Jenson Button to the line. By the end of 2009, it was his only win in 216 Formula 1 starts.

1999
The Lawrence Dallaglio sting came out in the News of the World. Some of their undercover reporters wormed details from him about taking Ecstasy on the Lions tour of South Africa in 1997 and so on. The story cost Dallaglio the England captaincy. Those reporters are probably still proud of themselves. He later successfully sued the Daily Mail for claiming he snorted cocaine after a match.

2004
A better day for Dallaglio. He captained Wasps to victory in the Heineken Cup final. The score was 20-20 with extra time coming up. Then a kick bumbled along the touchline and Toulouse full-back Clément Poitrenaud watched to see what the ball would do. While he waited, scrum-half Rob Howley acted. He dived for the touchdown and Wasps won 27-20. Wasps were back at Twickenham for the Premiership final on May 29.

1973
Dallaglio's old oppo Richard Hill was born in Surrey. The back row of Dallaglio, Hill, and Neil Back was one of the greats. Whereas the other two were highly visible (and vocal) during a game, you had to watch carefully to see what made Richard Hill so good: a lot of his work was in the hidden recesses. A heavy tackler and ball carrier, he covered acres of ground to make good ball available from rucks and mauls. You could tell his value to a side when it had to play without him. On the 2001 tour to Australia, the Lions won the first Test 29-13. Now, it's been a tradition for Southern Hemisphere hosts to crock the best player in a Lions team. Richard Sharp in 1962, Barry John in 1968, Brian O'Driscoll in 2005. In 2001, it was Hill's turn. The Australians knew who'd quietly set up that big win - and he was concussed by Nathan Gray's elbow in the second Test. The Lions lost the series. Two years later, Hill pulled a hamstring in England's opening match of the World Cup. He didn't come back until the semi-final, when England played really well at last. He was his usual important self in the revenge win over Australia in the final. But injuries were always a part of his later career, and he retired in 2008 after two knee operations. He scored 12 tries for England, including one in the last of his 71 matches, and helped the Lions win the 1997 series in South Africa. Typically, the match they lost was the one he missed.

1964
In athletics, the longest-lasting world record of all time was broken at last. It's an ersatz stat, to be honest. Women's marathons weren't run regularly until the 1960s - so Violet Piercy's time of 3 hours 40 minutes 22 seconds, set at Stamford Bridge in 1926, wasn't officially bettered until today, when another British runner, Dale Greig, ran 3 hours 27 minutes 45 at Ryde on the Isle of Wight. On April 13 2003, Paula Radcliffe set a world record of 2 hours 15 minutes 25

1954
Marvin Hagler was born in New Jersey. The meanest middleweight boxer of his generation, he would have been one of the all-time greats if he hadn't let one or two get inside his head. An ageing Roberto Duran, fighting above his weight, took him the distance - and above all Sugar Ray Leonard ended Hagler's career on April 6 1987. There was always the very slight suspicion that Hagler didn't quite have the weapons against really great fighters. There again, most people don't share that opinion - and you can't argue with his figures: Leonard inflicted his only defeat in 11 years, and Hagler beat everyone else that mattered. He took the world title from Alan Minter on a shocking night in 1980 (27 September); beat Tommy Hearns with a single punch (April 15 1985); and broke down Tony Sibson (February 11 1983) and John Mugabi (March 10 1986). Changing his name to Marvelous Marvin by deed poll was spectacularly naff, but there was no-one brave enough to tell him.

1944
John Newcombe was born in Sydney. A serve-volleyer first and last, the best he did on clay was one quarter-final at the French Open, but he won the other three Grand Slam tournaments, which were all held on grass. He won the last amateur Wimbledon and US titles (1967) when the best players were professionals, and he lost to the returning Rod Laver (born August 9 1938) in the 1969 final. But in the early Seventies, he was the top fast-court player in the world. He won Wimbledon in 1970 and 1971 before being banned in 1972 for joining WCT. He came back to win the US and Australian Opens in 1973 and the Australian again two years later. His big serve and athleticism helped him to six Wimbledon doubles titles, including five with Tony Roche (May 17 1945). The tennis pin-up of his day despite an oversized droopy moustache, Newc helped Australia win the Davis Cup four times.

2003
The new World Series Of Poker champion won his place in the tournament via a $40 online tournament and helped to start the internet poker boom. The WSOP Championships in Las Vegas was his first live poker tournament. His name? Chris Moneymaker. No, really.

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