Neha Patil

1968 Monaco Grand Prix

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Date  May 26, 1968
Course length  3.145 km (1.954 mi)
Course  Street Circuit
1968 Monaco Grand Prix
Official name  XXVI Grand Prix Automobile de Monaco
Location  Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco
Distance  80 laps, 251.600 km (156.337 mi)

The 1968 Monaco Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at the Monte Carlo Circuit on May 26, 1968. It was the third round of the 1968 Formula One season. The race was won by Lotus driver Graham Hill, who started from pole position. Richard Attwood, driving for BRM, gained second place and fastest lap, while Lucien Bianchi finished in third position in a Cooper, in what was to be these drivers' only podium finishes.

Contents

Background

Following the fatal accident of Lorenzo Bandini a year earlier, the track was altered with the harbour chicane being tightened and the race shortened by 20 laps. Ferrari still chose not to attend the race since they felt the safety measures to be insufficient. While Graham Hill stated Lotus were still "in despair" over the losses of Jim Clark and Mike Spence, the team nevertheless introduced their new Lotus 49B for the race. The B specifications introduced a wedge shape and a front wing. 1968 would prove to be the season in which wings became a common place on Formula One cars. Jackie Stewart was still sidelined by his wrist injury and was replaced by Johnny Servoz-Gavin. With France in political unrest, the race organizers borrowed power generators from a local film production company in order to ensure that the tunnel would stay illuminated even in case of a power outage. Richard Attwood was promoted from Reg Parnell Racing to the BRM works team after Mike Spence's replacement, Chris Irwin, suffered career-ending head injuries at the 1000km Nürburgring endurance race. Brian Redman, who had produced a solid performance in the previous race by finishing third, was racing at the 1000 km Spa and was therefore replaced at Cooper by Lucien Bianchi. With the Indianapolis 500 taking place just five days after the grand prix, McLaren's Denny Hulme was busy flying back and forth to attend both the Monaco Grand Prix as well as qualifying at Indianapolis.

Qualifying

During qualifying, Graham Hill, a previous three time-winner at Monaco, set the pace and secured pole position 0.6 seconds ahead of the strong Johnny Servoz-Gavin. The Frenchman proved once more the Matra MS10, which had recorded the fastest lap for Jean-Pierre Beltoise in Spain, was highly competitive.

Race

Johnny Servoz-Gavin took the lead from Hill at the start, while Bruce McLaren took out the other Lotus of Jackie Oliver at the chicane on the first lap. Servoz-Gavin was struck by bad luck on lap 3 when he suffered a drive shaft failure and crashed. This set the tone for the rest of the race, when after a series of accidents and mechanical failures, only five cars finished the race, with everyone from 3rd-place finishing at least four laps down on eventual winner Hill, who cemented his reputation as "Mr. Monaco" by taking his fourth win in the principality. It was however a close finish, with BRM replacement Richard Attwood surprising by finishing just 2 seconds behind the Englishman. Even though Hill broke the Monaco lap record three times during the race, it was Attwood who ultimately recorded fastest lap, the only one of his career. This would also be his one and only podium finish at a Formula One race, just as for Belgian Lucien Bianchi, who finished third.

Disaster would strike Formula One again just one month later as fourth-placed Ludovico Scarfiotti was killed during the Rossfeld hillclimb event.

Championship standings after the race

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

    1968 Monaco Grand Prix Wikipedia


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