Friday, June 2, 2023

Mr Monaco: how Graham Hill ruled the streets of Monte Carlo

A year later, Hill had another shot at glory, going wheel-to-wheel with the Lotus of pole-sitter Jim Clark in a thrilling battle for the first third of the race. Changing places on several occasions with the other BRM of Richie Ginther, there was initially nothing to separate the leaders as they made their way through the winding and challenging roads of Monte Carlo.

Clark then spun the Lotus legs to take a breather between his car and Hill’s car, and the clash began to turn in their favor as they entered the second half of the race. This was until a gearbox failure stopped him dead in his tracks and opened the door for Hill, who duly secured a lead he would not relinquish.

Crossing the line nearly five seconds ahead of Ginther, with McLaren and John Surtees 10 seconds behind, reigning world champion Hill can now add the ‘King of Monaco’ title to his growing collection, setting a new speed record. Average caste to boot.

1964 – Doubling in the princely state

It was a similar story on F1’s subsequent trip to Monaco at the start of the 1964 season, with Clark taking pole position and putting in another impressive performance, only for additional technical problems, this time involving the suspension and engine, causing He again thwarted his attempts.

While Clark took a commanding lead early in the race, maintaining the pace even when his rear anti-roll bar came loose, Hill was ‘best of the rest’ against Jack Brabham and Dan Gurney. ‘ was for location. But when Brabham lost power and Clark pitted for a temporary suspension, Gurney and Hill found themselves occupying the top two positions.

From there, Gurney, Hill and a recovering Clarke raced head-to-head in a battle for the lead, with Hill, briefly pressing, finally making a move on Gurney after the halfway mark. , Any hope of Gurney fighting back was ended by a gearbox failure, before Clarke struggled with engine problems of his own.

This left a clear path to the finish for Hill, whose pace was relentless in the open air, underlined by the fact that he overtook the rest of the field at least once. Ginther followed home to turn it into a BRM one-two, with Peter Arundell’s Lotus taking the lead on lap three.

1965 – Making a hat-trick of victories

After his technical problems in 1963 and 1964, Clark did not make the list of Monaco Grand Prix finalists for another reason at the 1965 event, when he went to the United States to meet and win the Indianapolis 500. This meant that a major contender was out. out of the way, providing Hill with a golden opportunity to…

The weekend started perfectly for the BRM starter, who took his first pole position at Monaco after beating Brabham and new teammate Jackie Stewart during qualifying before maintaining his lead at the start and controlling the early exchanges.

However, drama affected both BRM drivers for about a third of the race: Hill made contact with Bob Anderson on the slow exit of the tunnel (forcing him to push his car back onto the track), and Stewart made an escape. took the path of a drive soon. This meant that Stewart and Hill were fourth and fifth respectively when they restarted.

Encouraged, Hill led the comeback, which was initially helped by engine trouble and the retirement of leader Brabham amongst young teammate Stewart. Then there was an intense battle with the Ferrari pair of John Surtees and Lorenzo Bandini, which Hill won brilliantly before holding off a charge of over a minute.

1968 – Hitting Play After a Hiatus

After three consecutive wins at Monaco, which put him on his way to earning the nickname ‘Mr Monaco’, Hill’s run came to an end when he finished third on lap one during his final season with BRM in 1966, and Then be in second place. Upon his return to Lotus (briefly promoted by BRM) in 1967.

Lotus was mourning the recent deaths of Clark and Mike Spence when they arrived in Monaco for the 1968 edition of the Grand Prix, while Ferrari was absent and did not officially state why, although their aforementioned driver Bandini did. also lost his life after an accident. in last year’s race.

Nonetheless, Lotus went ahead with the unveiling of their new 49B, which Hill drove into a virtually commanding pole position as the race weekend unfolded: more than half a second faster than his nearest rivals, Johnny Servoz-Gavin and Jo Siffert. lap time.

Hill lost the lead to Servoz–Gavin at the start, but regained the lead when the Matra driver suffered a driveshaft failure and crashed. Hill could not be stopped thereafter, despite the best efforts of his BRM replacement Richard Attwood, who finished a few seconds back. Only three other cars made it to the penultimate race, all several laps down.

1969 – Hill increases its number to five

After finishing runner-up in the 1963, ’64 and ’65 championships, Hill secured an elusive second world title until 1968, when his return to Lotus paid off. Little did he know at the time that 1969, and specifically that year’s Monaco Grand Prix, would bring him his 14th and final F1 victory.

Former teammate Stewart (now of Matra) and Ferrari’s Chris Amon led from the start, but technical problems for both gave Hill P1, a comfortable win over the Rob Walker-driven Brabham of Pierce Courage and Siffert’s Lotus. went out to get it. In the process, the first rider to wear a full-face helmet wins.

Hill raced into his 40s and made five further Grand Prix starts at Monaco, as well as one last unsuccessful attempt to qualify for his own namesake team in 1975, the year he was killed in a plane crash on his way back to the United Kingdom. I will tragically lose my life. , From a test session at Paul Ricard.

Hill’s record for Monaco wins stood until the early 1990s, when Ayrton Senna equaled it in 1992 and bettered it the following year. But the legendary British driver ranks second on the all-time list with Michael Schumacher having taken 35% of his Grand Prix victories on some of motorsport’s most famous roads to date…

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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