29th January 2014

MONACO GRAND PRIX

STIRLING WINS A THRILLER

There is no doubt that the 1960 Lotus 18 is a very fast car but equally, it is a difficult car to drive. Would this make winning on the twisty street of Monaco difficult - or impossible. Not so; Stirling Moss and Innes Ireland (along with Cooper's Bruce McLaren) gave us a wonderful race with the Rob Walker car beating the Team Lotus car by a very narrow margin indeed. Read on....

*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

ENTRY

Twenty four cars arrived in the Principality to try to qualify for one of the sixteen places on the grid for the 100 lap grind around the streets. Heading the list were the three very neat works B.R.M P.48s with drivers Jo Bonnier, Dan Gurney and Graham Hill. Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren were, as usual, the two Cooper drivers - the new T.53s finally beginning to show proper form following a difficult start to the season. Team Lotus brought three of their 18s for Innes Ireland, fresh from his victory at Silverstone, Alan Stacey, Championship leader following his surprise victory in Argentina and John Surtees, who has even now driven in no more than a handful of motor races in any category, getting his first taste of Grand Prix racing. Stirling Moss arrived with a degree of optimism, having had a good race at Silverstone where he was pipped at the post by Ireland's similar Lotus.

Four other British-entered Coopers were entered. The Yeoman Credit team, having sadly lost Harry Schell, brought just two cars for Tony Brooks and Chris Bristow. The Tommy Atkins team had their T.51 Cooper for Roy Salvadori while Bruce Halford optimistically attempted to qualify with his own T.45 Cooper. One other entry from Britain was the one-off J.B.W Maserati which was to be driven as usual by Brian Naylor. .

No less than eight red cars appeared. Four of these were Ferraris; Phil Hill, Wolfgang von Trips and Cliff Allison were down to drive the normal front-engined Dino 246 cars but Ferrari's fourth entry was brand new. This was the Scuderia's very first attempt to put the cart in front of the horse! i.e. a rear-engined car. Richie Ginther was entrusted with the job of handling the rather large but very tidy vehicle. The Scuderia Centro Sud pulled out all the stops and brought three of their T.51 Coopers with Maserati engines. Their drivers were to be Masten Gregory, Maurice Trintignant and Ian Burgess. Another brand new car from Italy was the Cooper Castellotti or Cooper Ferrari - delete as per prefence - appearing for the first time, in the hands of Giorgio Scarlatti.

And finally, everyone was delighted to see the first American-built cars to join the Formula 1 circus. The Scarabs, resplendent in their metallic blue and white livery were to be handled by the team owner Lance Reventlow and regular Scarab sports car driver Chuck Daigh. The cars are front-engined and are clearly influenced by the design of Indianapolis-type roadsters but whatever their design, their presence was most welcome.

PRACTICE

Monaco always organises three practice sessions. In the first two of these Phil Hill dominated the times, looking very, very good indeed. Popular opinion was that he would be on pole position after the third session but it proved not to be the case. Having barely been in the top 16 after the first practice and only 7th in the second it was Jo Bonnier who steamed around the tight circuit in the final session to take pole position by 6/10ths of a second. Phil Hill made the front row, just a fraction behind the Cooper of Bruce McLaren who, like Bonnier, saved his best for the final session. A fine effort was put in by Tony Brooks who placed last year's Cooper on row two just a whisker slower than Hill with Stirling Moss joining his former Vanwall team-mate on the second row.

Innes Ireland was a fraction slower than Moss and this put him and row three, which he shared with Graham Hill's B.R.M and Ginther with the new Ferrari, which was going very nicely indeed. Gurney and Brabham made row 4; the American being very happy with his position but the current World Champion was not overly pleased with his Cooper. There must have been a temptation for Jack to commandeer Bruce's car but he very fairly let things remain as they were. Row 5 saw the Coopers of Salvadori and Gregory joined by a very competent John Surtees who eased himself into the contest with some comfort.

The final three positions on the grid were the ones that were constantly changing, depending on who set the more recent quick times. At the end of the first session Maurice Trintignant was in the top 16 while following P.2 it was Bristow who joined the qualifiers rather than the Frenchman. Chuck Daigh was solidly in the race throughout practice, the Scarab running very smoothly and looking for all the world like an American limousine. Cliff Allison was having a terrible time with the Ferrari, finding himself down in 19th then 22nd in the first two sessions. It was only with a supreme effort that he got himself into the race in the final position, pushing out Chris Bristow by 3/100ths of a second! Just ahead of him in the sixteen was his team-mate von Trips whose car seem to handle worse each time he got in it. Daigh would start from 14th and was only a fraction slower than Surtees' Lotus.

Of the rest it was something of a surprise to see that Stacey was never in the qualifiers, the young Lotus driver just unable to get the difficult car around in a competitive time. He missed out by a couple of tenths. Trintignant had been in the race early on but slipped down to 22nd in the end, while Reventlow, Burgess, Halford, Scarlatti and Naylor never looked as though they were going to make the race.

HERE IS THE FULL GRID ORDER FOR THE 100 LAP RACE:

   1.
2
J. BONNIER B.R.M type 48
1.36'30
   2.
10
B. MCLAREN COOPER CLIMAX T.53
1.36'93
   3.
36
P. HILL FERRARI Dino 246
1.36'97
   4.
18
T. BROOKS COOPER CLIMAX T.51
1.37'10
   5.
28
S. MOSS LOTUS CLIMAX 18
1.37'24
   6.
22
I. IRELAND LOTUS CLIMAX 18
1.37'48
   7.
6
G. HILL B.R.M type 48
1.37'51
   8.
34
R. GINTHER FERRARI Dino 246 R.E.
1.37'87
   9.
4
D. GURNEY B.R.M type 48
1.37'97
 10.
8
J. BRABHAM COOPER CLIMAX T.53
1.38'06
 11.
14
R. SALVADORI COOPER CLIMAX T.51
1.38'74
 12.
40
M. GREGORY COOPER MASERATI T.51
1.39'72
 13.
26
J. SURTEES LOTUS CLIMAX 18
1.39'93
 14.
46
C. DAIGH SCARAB F.1
1.40'01
 15.
38
W. von TRIPS FERRARI Dino 246
1.40'43
 16.
32
C. ALLISON FERRARI Dino 246
1.40'53

Non-qualifiers:
16
C. BRISTOW COOPER CLIMAX T.51
1.40'56
24
A. STACEY LOTUS CLIMAX 18
1.40'79
48
L. REVENTLOW SCARAB F.1
1.42'54
12
B. HALFORD COOPER CLIMAX T.45
1.42'74
30
G. SCARLATTI COOPER FERRARI T.51
1.43'06
44
M. TRINTIGNANT COOPER MASERATI T.51
1.44'98
42
I. BURGESS COOPER MASERATI T.51
1.45'37
20
B. NAYLOR J.B.W. MASERATI
1.46'83

THE RACE

Bruce McLaren made the best start from the front row. Stirling quickly moved into second place with Graham Hill from the third row passing several cars in the early laps to sit right behind the Walker Lotus after 10 laps. Pole man Bonnier did not seem to have the pace that saw him start from the top position and it was obvious as he slipped down the field, that there was something amiss with the B.R.M. There was - JoBo stopped at quarter distance where a broken chassis was discovered at the bottom of the rear suspension. It was a very disappointing end for the Swede. Unfortunately for B.R.M Gurney had retired a couple of laps earlier with engine maladies. Meanwhile, after 10 laps the first six were covered by just 10 seconds with Ireland behind Bonnier at that point followed by Phil Hill who had made a poor start. Tony Brooks' Cooper entered the tunnel on lap 5 but never came out again. The car snapped sideways in the dark and Brooks was unable to get going again. Daigh had made a brilliant start and was up in ninth place after 10 laps. The two slower Ferraris were still at the back with Allison being rapidly left behind.

On lap 15 Moss passed McLaren to take a lead he would retain for 85 more laps, while Phil Hill shot through from his sixth place on lap 10 to move into second by quarter distance, although McLaren repassed the Ferrari by lap 30. Innes Ireland was lurking in fourth place, very close behind the McLaren-Hill battle with Graham Hill, Brabham and Ginther disputing the lower points positions. After a slowish start Salvadori was on the move. He passed Daigh to move up behind Surtees by lap 25 but Ginther and Surtees were some distance ahead of him. As half distance came up the positions at the front were stabilising, once Ireland had passed Phil Hill on lap 48. Moss had eased away to lead by 20 seconds but McLaren, Ireland and Hill were covered by just a couple of seconds. Surtees had managed to get the better of Ginther and was in seventh place behind Brabham but although Jack was just in the points he was a full half a minute behind Graham Hill.

Once half distance was passed Hill's Ferrari begun to fade and he dropped back behind Ireland and then found himself behind his namesake's B.R.M. Ireland passed McLaren for a few laps but by lap 70 Bruce was back behind Moss and the gap to the leader begun to shrink. Moss was finding the handling of the Lotus to be deteriorating, which has been the norm for the car since it first appeared. It was taking all of Moss' skill to keep going so quickly. Three-quarter distance was as far as Brabham reached, the Aussie having to retire with an electrical problem after a disappointing day. By this point McLaren had overcome Ireland again although the two were still fairly close together. The race was coming towards its end and both McLaren and Ireland were on the move, chipping away at the leading Lotus. As the final 10 laps begun Moss' lead was just nine seconds and reducing lap by lap. Ireland was right behind McLaren and a grandstand finish looked likely. The big blow fell on McLaren; as the Cooper exited the chicane on lap 97 the left rear wheel waved goodbye from the Cooper and bounced into the harbour. Fortunately, the car did not follow it but it was a desperately disappointed New Zealander wo parked the car at the Tabac. This left Ireland in the clear to chase Moss and the two set their fastest laps of the race right at the end - Innes' being just 1/100th better than Stirling's. But it wasn't enough and the Englishman crossed the line just 1.4 seconds ahead of the Scot. Chapman's delight at seeing a Lotus 1-2 was only slightly reduced by the winner being a private entry. The two Hills battled right to the finish with Graham taking 3rd from Phil by the same margin as that between the first two. Surtees was a delighted 5th, ahead of Ginther, the unusual Ferrari having run very nicely on its first appearance. Von Trips had retired his Ferrari with handling troubles on lap 81 so there were four finishers behind the top six. Salvadori and Daigh were two laps behind with Gregory finishing 9th a further lap back. McLaren's retirement having completed 96 laps meant that he was classified ahead of Allison who did at least make it to the end.

HERE IS THE RESULT OF THE THE 100 LAP RACE:

   1.
28
S. MOSS LOTUS CLIMAX 18
2.46.35'67
   2.
22
I. IRELAND LOTUS CLIMAX 18
2.46.37'04
   3.
6
G. HILL B.R.M type 48
2.47.07'91
   4.
36
P. HILL FERRARI Dino 246
2.47.09'27
   5.
26
J. SURTEES LOTUS CLIMAX 18
99 laps
   6.
34
R. GINTHER FERRARI Dino 246 R.E.
98 laps
   7.
14
R. SALVADORI COOPER CLIMAX T.51
98 laps
   8.
46
C. DAIGH SCARAB F.1
98 laps
   9.
40
M. GREGORY COOPER MASERATI T.51
97 laps
 10.
10
B. MCLAREN COOPER CLIMAX T.53
96 laps NRF
 11.
32
C. ALLISON FERRARI Dino 246
96 laps
Fastest lap:   I. IRELAND, LOTUS CLIMAX 18,   on lap 98,   1.36'36

Retired:
10
B. MCLAREN COOPER CLIMAX T.53
96 laps
38
W. von TRIPS FERRARI Dino 246
80 laps
8
J. BRABHAM COOPER CLIMAX T.53
76 laps
2
J. BONNIER B.R.M type 48
24 laps
4
D. GURNEY B.R.M type 48
22 laps
18
T. BROOKS COOPER CLIMAX T.45
4 laps

MONACO MURMURINGS

  • With three wins out of five races this season - plus a very close second at Goodwood - the Lotus 18 looks like the class of the field.
  • Ireland just failed to catch Moss in a virtual repeat of the International Trophy race.
  • Desperate disappointment for McLaren, who drove a beautiful race. Expect Brabham to be right up there in Holland.
  • Ferrari seem unable to produce more than one competitive car although the rear-engined car ran very nicely.
  • Both von Trips and Allison were extremely lucky to make the start and both ran at the back for most of the race.
  • Tony Brooks was mortified to spin the Cooper out so early and still cannot explain it.
  • Surtees acquitted himself superbly but we gather Jim Clark, rather than Surtees, will get his first Grand Prix start at Zandvoort.
  • Masten Gregory was delighted to finish the race, especially as he had been ahead of two Ferraris almost all the way.
  • Great credit must go to the Scarab team whose one starter ran smoothly for the whole race.
  • The two young British drivers, Stacey and Bristow, were both very disappointed to miss the race. Bristow thought he had done enough but was pipped by Allison at the last minute.

    Back to the Fifty-niners index page.

    Back to my home page.