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1958 Moroccan Grand Prix

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Date  19 October 1958
Course length  7.618 km (4.734 mi)
1958 Moroccan Grand Prix
Official name  VII Grand Prix du Maroc
Location  Ain-Diab Circuit Casablanca
Course  Road-based with permanent infrastructure
Distance  53 laps, 403.754 km (250.902 mi)

The 1958 Moroccan Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Ain-Diab Circuit, Casablanca on 19 October 1958, after a six-week breaking following the Italian Grand Prix. It was the eleventh and final race of the 1958 season. As of 2016 it was the only time Morocco has hosted a World Championship Grand Prix.

Contents

Mike Hawthorn (Ferrari) started from pole position, but Stirling Moss won the race driving for Vanwall. Hawthorn finished second which secured him the World Drivers' Championship. Phil Hill was third, also for Ferrari.

Vanwall made sure of the World Constructors' Championship and both this and Hawthorn's drivers' title were firsts for British teams or drivers.

The race was notable for an accident involving Stuart Lewis-Evans, who died six days later from the burns he sustained.

Background

Both Mike Hawthorn and Stirling Moss came into the race with a chance of becoming World Drivers' Champion. Moss, on 32 points, needed to win the race and set fastest lap, with Hawthorn (40 pts) finishing no higher than third.

Practice and qualifying

There was an entry of 25 cars, of which 19 were to Formula One (F1) specification. Ferrari and Vanwall entered three cars each, BRM four and Lotus and Cooper two each. There were a further five non-works F1 entries. Six Formula Two Coopers brought the total entry to 25.

In Friday practice, Jean Behra (BRM) set fastest time at 2m:25.2s. Tony Brooks (Vanwall) and Hawthorn (Ferrari) were second and third, four and five tenths behind respectively. Moss did not better 2m:26s, despite a late attempt, having been hampered by other cars during some of his fast lap attempts.

On the Saturday, Hawthorn set fastest time with 2m:23.1s which was one-tenth ahead of Moss who was content with his position in the middle of the front row on the three by two grid. Stuart Lewis-Evans was on his outside, a further half-a-second behind. The second row was made up of Phil Hill (Ferrari) and Behra.

Race

Moss and Lewis-Evans led away, with Phil Hill also making a good start from the second row. At the end of the first lap, Moss led from Hill and Hawthorn was third followed by Jo Bonnier, Brooks, Lewis-Evans and Behra. On lap three, Hill tried to out-brake Moss, but failed, and left the track without damaging the car, allowing Hawthorn and Bonnier to pass. Moss, now unhampered, began to draw away from Hawthorn who was being caught by Hill who had passed Bonnier after recovering from the earlier incident. By lap eight, Hill had passed Hawthorn but had little hope of catching Moss, who was already lapping the Formula Two cars at the rear of the field. Moss' teammate, Brooks, chased down Bonnier for fourth place and subsequently passed Hawthorn for third on lap 17. On lap 18 Moss was involved in a minor collision with the Maserati of Wolfgang Seidel which forced the latter to retire and Moss to be wary of engine temperature thereafter.

At 25 laps, Moss led Hill by 20s with Brooks a further 42s behind. Hawthorn was fourth followed by Bonnier and Olivier Gendebien with Lewis-Evans, Behra, Masten Gregory and Harry Schell completing the first ten runners. Hawthorn re-passed Brooks shortly afterwards and on lap 30 Brooks' engine blew and he retired. This left Hawthorn in third place, but some distance behind Hill, who was 27s behind Moss and steadily losing ground on the leader.

At this point, Gendebien, Tom Bridger and François Picard all retired through accidents, with only the latter sustaining more than minor injuries. Hill had little hope of catching Moss and the Ferrari team signalled to him to allow Hawthorn to catch up and take the second position needed to claim the Championship. Hill's lead over Hawthorn was such that it took till lap 39 for the change to occur. Shortly afterwards, Moss lapped Schell, who then attempted to stay close to the Vanwall hampering Moss' progress. On lap 41, Lewis-Evans' engine broke in a corner, sending him off the road where the car caught fire. The driver was able to extricate himself but was badly burned.

At 48 laps, Moss slowed to allow Schell to move back ahead and thus avoid the possibility of further interference with his own race. Such was the lead that Moss had at this stage that he was still able to finish nearly 1.5mins ahead of the Ferraris of Hawthorn and Hill. Moss had also set fastest lap, but Hawthorn's second place was enough to secure him the World Drivers' Championship.

Post race

Lewis-Evans was airlifted back to Britain by Vanwall team owner Tony Vandervell but died as a result of his burns six days later. Vandervell, already in failing health himself, ended his involvement with the Vanwall team partly as a result of the accident. Lewis-Evans was also a close friend of Bernie Ecclestone, who was at the race. Following his death Ecclestone sold his Connaught team and cars and ceased involvement with the sport till 1965.

It was also the last race for Hawthorn who retired as a driver shortly after the season ended. He was killed in a road accident in Surrey on 22 January 1959.

Picard ultimately recovered from his injuries after six months of incapacity, but did not race again.

Championship standings after the race

  • Notes: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings. Only the best 6 results counted towards each Championship. Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.
  • References

    1958 Moroccan Grand Prix Wikipedia


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