Formula 1: the day Maradona arrived at the Monaco GP embracing Claudia, found no hotel and revolutionized Montecarlo

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It was just over a month before a year had passed since the day that woman dressed in white had taken his hand and led him away from the court. And 18 weeks to finish the 15 month suspension that the Fifa had forced him to consume ephedrine. Diego Maradona was on holiday in France when he went to Monk make a dream come true: to see the Grand Prix of Formula 1who this weekend returns with his circus to the shores of the Mediterranean.

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On May 27, 1995 Maradona was Diego, the car fanatic who took a picture with four-time champion Alain Prost, spoke in Italian with Niki Lauda and asked him for the cap to Michael Schumacher, who had already won the first of his seven titles and was on his way to his second with Benetton.

In jeans, a gray T-shirt, black sneakers and sunglasses with iridescent purple lenses, Maradona arrived at the paddock half an hour before the start of the second qualifying session.

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Diego Maradona and Niki Lauda at the 1995 Monaco Grand Prix. (Freeze photo)

Diego Maradona and Niki Lauda at the 1995 Monaco Grand Prix. (Freeze photo)

According to the report that Alejandro Prosdocimi wrote that day, the journalist sent by clarionDiego “didn’t walk far before being recognized by photographers and before being invited to a passing lunch in the Williams tent, together with the president of FOCA, Bernie Ecclestone, and the former world champion in the category, the Frenchman Alain Prost. Prost got the photo with the idol; Maradona too”.

“I’m shocked. This is a Grand Prix I’ve never seen. People go crazy, it’s all very spectacular”he told Ecclestone, through a translator, shortly before interrupting his meal to give Sylvia Tamsma Piquet, the ex-wife of Brazilian racing driver Nelson Piquet, a note for Italian TV.

The Monaco Grand Prix is ​​the most coveted (still today) by the jet set, but champion in Mexico 1986 that world was alien to him. As revealed in the first contact with the press during that weekend, both he and his entourage of seven – which included Guillermo Coppola and Carlos Fren, with whom he had formed a technical duo in Mandiyú and Racing – were to remain at Menton, 20 kilometers north of Monaco, because there was no room in the hotels of Montecarlo. “In addition to a friend of Claudia they had to throw a mattress in the room because if it didn’t stay on the street”he observed amazed.

Back in the pits, chased by paparazzi and surrounded by fans who wanted a memory in an era far from selfies, Maradona turned the tables when he ran into Niki Lauda, ​​one of his idols, and exchange a few words in Italian before taking their last position to see the standings, just above the pits. With plugs in his ears and embracing Claudia Villafañe, he encouraged Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger, even if he had to resign himself to seeing how the Ferraris finished fourth and fifth, while Damon Hill took pole position in the Principality with Williams.

"The Boca affair is a closed matter," Maradona told Clarín in Monaco.  A few months later he will return to the Argentine club.

“The Boca affair is a closed matter,” Maradona told Clarín in Monaco. A few months later he will return to the Argentine club.

But his first day was still missing a meeting: the visit to the world champion. Once the engines were turned off, Maradona arrived at the Benetton camper, where there were two tables. In one was German Michael Schumacher, who had just finished second in the standings, and in the other was Diego.

In the middle of a 15-minute chat in Italian with team members, the Argentine broke out of his role as an idol and was encouraged to an earthly request. “Tell him if he won’t give me the hat”he entrusted it to one of the Italians from Benetton, pointing it out to him Schumi and his black cap with the inscription “F1 world champion”. Schumacher fulfilled the wish but Maradona found the unexpected: THE cap it wasn’t good

-“But look: his head is tiny,” Diego yelled in Italian.

-“It’s better this way, it’s more aerodynamic”, replied Schumacher in English.

With the souvenir in his left hand, Maradona shook his right hand with the German and a handful of photos were taken before the footballer was required to Ecclestone’s caravan for the last meeting of a day full of public relations. On Sunday, the F1 managers would no longer have time to take care of themselves: there was a Grand Prix to race.

The third of nine victories for two-time champion Schumacher

The Monaco Grand Prix, the fifth round of the 1995 season, presented itself as an opportunity to break the tie between Schumacher and Hill after two victories side by side -Brazil and Spain for the German, Argentina and San Marino for the Englishman-. The pole position gave a slight advantage to the Williams driver, who dreamed of emulating his father, five-time Monte Carlo winner Graham.

Hill kept the lead both at the start and on the restart, after a 15-minute interruption due to the incident between David Coulthard and the Ferraris at Sainte Devote corner during the first lap, which did not prevent them from rejoining the track with the backup of cars. And for 28 laps the dream seemed achievable.

Michael Schumacher's Benetton on the Montecarlo street circuit.  Reuters photo

Michael Schumacher’s Benetton on the Montecarlo street circuit. Reuters photo

But Williams’ two-stop strategy was not as strong as that of Benetton and Schumacher. With just one pit stop, the German lost the lead by just one lap – until Alesi also pitted – and was on his way to the third of his nine victories in a season which it will end with his double championship at Benetton and the agreement with Ferrariwhere he would face a magical realm.

While this was happening on the track, In the pit lane, journalists are informed about the future of Maradona. Despite being suspended until 30 September, Diego was analyzing various offers to continue his career as a footballer.

On holiday on the Côte d

On holiday on the Côte d’Azur, Maradona said “no” to Boca and flirted with Santos.

“We are reaching an agreement, we are at 80 percent”told a Brazilian media before the consultation to go play at the Saints. “Why not? I’d like to end my career by playing in the European Cup with Napoli,” he replied to an Italian reporter on the possibility of returning to Napoli.

What Maradona ruled out, however, was a return to Boca. “I don’t see it, beast, I don’t see it. Boca’s is a closed matter. What I want is to see Formula 1,” he told Clarin.

Two months later, on Friday July 21 at 19:10, Maradona signs a contract until December 31, 1997. His return after 14 years finally arrives on October 7 against Colón in a packed Bombonera which celebrates, beyond the 1-0 , the 90 minutes on the pitch of the best player in the world.

Getting on an F1, the dream that Diego could not achieve

At the 2008 Rally Argentina, during the Carlos Paz shakedown, Diego Maradona showed up dressed in a red fireproof suit and got on the Citroen C4 WRC as a team mate. Sebastian Loeb. Once out of the car, he revealed to the journalist Diego Durruty that he had missed the opportunity he had enjoyed in 1987 when Williams invited him to get into one of its Formula 1 single-seaters.

“There was an Argentinian who knew people from the team. I was ready for the test, but… I canceled it because I had to play for the Coppa Italia. Then the opportunity never came again,” he complained.

On the other hand, Diez was invited several times by Argentine drivers and, before that experience in the World Rally Championship, they encouraged a Turismo Carretera, when his teammates were still allowed. It was September 1991 on the car of Oscar Aventín, future champion of that season.

The smile of ten.  In Córdoba, when he joined Loeb before the Rally of Argentina.  Photo AP Photo_Eduardo Di Baia

The smile of ten. In Córdoba, when he joined Loeb before the Rally of Argentina. Photo AP Photo_Eduardo Di Baia

“I will never forget those laps in TC. I had a huge scare. It felt like we were stuck in a bend. I realized that was the way to deal with it. And there I calmed down. When I sat down as a passenger, I realized how badly it drives,” she told of that experience in the Ford Falcon.

He also bonded with Gabriel Raies during those 90s. “José María Volta, who was my partner, explained the road map to him and we set off. He read it quite well and went crazy,” said the Cordovan rally driver about that passion for irons that Maradona he had been exhibiting since before he became world champion. , with his black Ferrari in Italy, until the end of his career, when he arrived in a Scania truck at Boca training.

Unforgettable.  Diego and the Scania truck with which he arrived at a Boca training session.

Unforgettable. Diego and the Scania truck with which he arrived at a Boca training session.

Source: Clarin

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