Murray's Memories: Monaco Grand Prix 1982 - 'Craziest race ever'

By Murray WalkerFormula 1 Analyst, BBC Sport
Murray's Memories: Monaco's six leaders

Legendary F1 commentator Murray Walker will be providing a series of archive-based videos and written articles for every race of the 2013 season.

'Murray's Memories' are his personal recollections of some of the most dramatic moments in the history of F1, and the sixth in the series is the "incredible" ending to the 1982 Monaco Grand Prix.

There have been exciting grands prix, dramatic grands prix and amazing grands prix. But if you were to pick the craziest, you would have to go for Monaco 1982.

Early on in one of the closest and most memorable seasons there has ever been, Monaco produced a race of such thrills, spills and sheer unpredictability that if you were to write a movie script for it, people would dismiss it as incredible.

And yet it really did happen.

That was the year turbo-charged cars really came into their own, with Renault and Ferrari both producing competitive chassis combined with powerful engines.

Heading into Monaco, the big question was could the turbos - which had until then tended to be quite unwieldy on tight circuits - compete with the more nimble Cosworth-powered cars around the streets of the principality.

That question was answered in qualifying when the Renaults of Rene Arnoux and Alain Prost locked out the front row.

But could they repeat it in the race?

Indeed they could. Arnoux went off in front, only to spin at the Swimming Pool and stall his engine after 14 laps.

That put Prost into the lead and he controlled the race almost throughout. He looked set to take a brilliant win until, as it started to rain with two laps to go, he lost control coming out of the harbour-front chicane, which was much faster then than it is now, and slammed into the barrier.

Now Riccardo Patrese led in his Brabham - but not for long. He, too, spun - this time on the way down from Mirabeau to Loews - and ended up pointing the wrong way and perched on a kerb.


Two leaders out and now, on the last lap, it was Didier Pironi's Ferrari which led into the tunnel - only to splutter and cough and finally grind to a halt out of fuel.

Two other drivers should have been in a position to benefit - Alfa Romeo's Andrea de Cesaris and Williams's Derek Daly.

But De Cesaris had himself run out of petrol and Daly had stopped with a broken gearbox.

So who was going to win? It was Patrese, who had reversed down the kerb and got his Brabham going again.

He crossed the line not knowing he had won and, when he was told, was just as amazed as everyone else - including me.

What a race and what a memory.