A newly released recording from a British control room monitoring lunar activity in the late 1960s revealed that the Russian actually tried to beat the Americans in the race to the Moon: just hours before the Apollo 11 landed on the Moon, a Russian spacecraft Luna-15 crash-landed there:
Sir Bernard Lovell, the astronomer, was among the team listening to transmissions coming from the area of space and began tracking the unmanned Soviet spacecraft Luna 15, which was trying to collect samples of lunar soil and rock and then return to Earth before the US mission.
The recordings from Jodrell's Lovell radio telescope, which were hidden in archives until researchers found them, show the Russian craft orbited the Moon and crash-landed onto its surface at 15:50 on July 21 – just a few hours before the Americans lifted off. [...]
People in Jodrell's control room can then be heard shouting "it's landing" and "it's going down much too fast" as they track Luna 15's final moments before it crashes.
A voice is later heard saying: "I say, this has really been drama of the highest order."