After Lewis Hamilton's frankly shocking slip from a pole position start and 20 second lead to third place, sports fans know that it ended up being his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg who sprayed the crowd with champagne for the third time in a row on the winner's podium at this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix. And while popping bottles has now been adopted in many sports upon a big win, the significance of seeing it at the Monaco F1 circuit is that this is the sport where the celebratory move started out.
The connection of the Grand Prix with champagne itself dates back to 1950, when the first-ever French Grand Prix was held at the Gueux circuit in Reims. Obviously, for a race held down in the green, vineyard-heavy hills of the Champagne region, the winner was presented with a bottle on his win.
However, as for the victor spraying the crowd with the beverage, you have to fast-forward over a decade. As with many great traditions, it happened for the first time by complete accident. Upon winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966, Jo Siffert accidentally sprayed the crowd as the bottle of champagne had been sitting out in the sun, causing pressure to build up inside the magnum. The next year, Californian racer Dan Gurney deliberately copied Siffert's gesture when he won the same race and the tradition was born.
While the original, loosely-corked bottle was a magnum of Moet & Chandon, today's F1 winners have had not only an upgrade in size to a Jeroboam - that's double the amount of champagne to soak the crowd in - but also a change of champagne house. Since 2000, all Formula One race podiums are supplied copious bottles of GH Mumm Cordon Rogue.
Produced in Reims (of course), we got to see the Jeroboams before anyone else deep in the cavernous, 25 kilometres cellars of the world-famous champagne producer. Turned by hand to collect and remove the sediment that collects during the maturing process, the blend is monitored for two-and-a-half years before it's ready to go.
Each bottle is also labelled by hand above ground by specially trained staff - a job that, considering the bottles are beamed at high resolution around the world to millions of people, we can imagine is fairly highly pressured. On a side note, it's interesting that if you look at the bottles, you'll see that one GH Mumm logo is upside down - so the name of the champagne can be seen from all angles in case the driver goes rogue and tips it upside down.
If you want to live it up like Rosberg, but haven't just won a high-stakes car race, you'll be pleased to hear that bottles of GH Mumm's Cordon Rouge are available to buy in both Jeroboam (3L) and standard sizes (750ml) right now as both F1 limited edition and as regular bottles. However, we'd recommend you leave the crowd-spraying to the professionals - trust us, this is far too good to spill.
GH Mumm Cordon Rouge is available to buy now in both Jeroboam (£350 for F1 limited edition or £185 for regular) and standard bottles (£35 for F1 limited edition or £26.50 for regular) at The Champagne Company. ghmumm.com
Source: GQ UK
A big personality in the world of motorsports in general and F1 in particular, Philippe Gurdjian, who passed away last year, also raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans six times.
It was in 1975 that Philippe Gurdjian discovered the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a Ferrari 365 GTB/4 (the famous "Daytona"). He passed under the checkered flag in 13th place in his first participation. After being forced to retire in 1976, he was at the start for three editions at the wheel of Porsches prepared by brothers Manfred and Erwin Kremer. Thanks to those two great Porsche experts, Gurdjian achieved his best result in La Sarthe in 1977 with a seventh place finish and class victory. In 1978 and 79, Gurdjian's teammate was German gentleman-driver Louis Krages (John Winter), future winner of the 24 Hours in 1985. In 1981, for his last participation, he joined Ferrari, with Luigi Chinetti's prestigious American team, NART, which in 1965 won Ferrari's last victory to date in Le Mans.
During the last quarter-century, Gurdjian could typically be found in the world of Formula 1. He was the promoter for the French Grand Prix from 1985 to 1990 at Paul Ricard Circuit and from the moment he arrived at the Magny-Cours circuit in 1991 until 1998, then contributed to the presence of F1 in developing countries, namely Malaysia, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi; and was involved with the success of the Spanish Grand Prix from 2001 to 2009. To him we also owe the renovation of the Paul Ricard Circuit, renamed HTTT the safest Circuit in the World, which today hosts the preliminary tests for the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), as well as the French round of the European Le Mans Series.