In 1981, the Monaco Grand Prix was held on 31st May. In qualifying Nelson Piquet took pole in the Brabham and alongside him on the front row was the Ferrari 126 CK driven by Gilles Villeneuve, who was just 78 thousandths slower.
At the start, Piquet kept the lead ahead of Villeneuve and a young Nigel Mansell in the Lotus. Behind them it was chaos as Andrea de Cesaris in the McLaren collided with the Alfa Romeo of Mario Andretti.
Piquet was leading comfortably, while Mansell retired with Alan Jones fighting back in the Williams, even passing Gilles Villeneuve. On lap 53, Piquet came up behind some backmarkers and ran onto the dirty line trying to pass them, lost control of the Brabham and ended in the barriers. Jones seemed to be heading for the win but with a few laps to go, he had to pit because of a fuel problem.
Gilles Villeneuve was thus easily able to pile on the pressure and the Canadian passed Jones with four laps remaining and went on to be a very popular winner. It led to the famous “Time” magazine cover depicting the victory of car number 27, driven by the man from Saint Jean sur Richelieu.