Puneet Varma

1968 Italian Grand Prix

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Date  September 8, 1968
Course length  5.750 km (3.573 mi)
1968 Italian Grand Prix
Official name  XXXIX Gran Premio d'Italia
Location  Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy
Course  Permanent racing facility
Distance  68 laps, 391.000 km (242.956 mi)

The 1968 Italian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at the Monza Autodrome on September 8, 1968. It was the ninth round of the 1968 Formula One season. The 68-lap race was won by McLaren driver Denny Hulme after he started from seventh position. Johnny Servoz-Gavin finished second for the Matra team and Ferrari driver Jacky Ickx came in third.

Contents

There was a five-week break after the previous Grand Prix in Germany, and before F1 circus resumed in Italy. The season so far had seen both rainfall and tragedy. During the break, the Oulton Park Gold Cup attracted some of the top names, with Jackie Stewart taking the victory, after his dominant victory at the Nürburgring.

Entry

A total of 24 F1 cars were entered for the event, making this the biggest of the season, with a couple of notable American drivers on the entry list. Italian American Mario Andretti, entered in a third Lotus and his USAC rival, Bobby Unser, replacing Richard Attwood at Owen Racing Organisation (BRM). Many others team increase their drivers crews. Johnny Servoz-Gavin due to drive the second of Ken Tyrrell's Matra International cars. Scuderia Ferrari ran a third car for rising English star, Derek Bell, while David Hobbs with fielded by Honda Racing.

Qualifying

The early qualifying session saw Andretti and Unser set the pace, recording fast time, especially as both drivers wanted to fly back to the US for the Hoosier Hundred, at Indiana State Fairgrounds, on the following day. They then intended to fly back to Milan and race in the Grand Prix. The event organisers announced that if the either driver returned to the States and race, they would be banned from competing in the Grand Prix, under a ruling which forbade drivers to complete in an other event within 24 hours of the start of the Grand Prix. Both Andretti and Unser flew back to the US and did not return.

Qualifying resulted in John Surtees taking pole for the Honda Racing team, in their Honda RA301, averaging a speed of 150.314 mph. He was joined on the front row by Bruce McLaren in his own McLaren M7A and Chris Amon in a Ferrari 312. The second row saw the Ferrari of Jacky Ickx and the Lotus of Graham Hill. Jackie Stewart, Denny Hulme and Derek Bell shared the third row.

Race

The race was held over 68 laps of the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, taking place in sunny conditions, with John Surtees leading straight from the start. By the end of first lap, Bruce McLaren was ahead. McLaren stayed in front until Surtees slipstreamed back into the lead. The following lap McLaren was ahead again, while the leading Ferrari of Chris Amon lost control on oil dropped by one of the Honda RA301s and his car flew over the barriers into the trees at one of the fast Lesmo corners. Surtees also hit the wall trying to avoid the Ferrari. This put Jo Siffert into second place, with Jackie Stewart third. The Scotsman moved into second and a slipstreaming battle developed for the lead between McLaren, Stewart, Siffert and Denny Hulme.

McLaren's M7A had to stop for more oil on lap 35 and retired. Stewart disappeared on lap 43, when his Cosworth engine failed. Hulme was by this stage already leading the race, and when Siffert went out with a rear suspension failure, nine laps from the end, Hulme was left to win. He won in a time of 1hr 40:14.8mins., averaging a speed of 146.284mph. There had been a lively battle behind him, between Johnny Servoz-Gavin, Jacky Ickx and Jochen Rindt. The Ferrari of Ickx had emerged ahead, only to stop in the closing lap for more fuel. In the process, he dropped to third behind Servoz-Gavin, while Rindt had to retire with an engine failure. Piers Courage, Jean-Pierre Beltoise, and Jo Bonnier rounded out the top six, with no other finishers.

Championship standings after the race

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
  • References

    1968 Italian Grand Prix Wikipedia


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