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1971 Italian Grand Prix

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Date  September 5, 1971
Course length  5.750 km (3.573 mi)
1971 Italian Grand Prix
Official name  XLII Gran Premio d'Italia
Location  Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy
Course  Permanent racing facility
Distance  55 laps, 316.25 km (196.515 mi)

The 1971 Italian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Monza on September 5, 1971. This race is often referred to as the fastest Formula One race of all time, with a record average speed of 242.615 km/h (150.754 mph), a record that was not broken until 32 years later at the 2003 Italian Grand Prix at Monza. This race featured the closest finish in Formula One history. Peter Gethin came from 4th place to lead on the final lap with a bold move. None of the 6 points-scoring drivers had ever previously won a Grand Prix.


Race report

The rather simplistic Monza National Autodrome, located just north of the northern Italian city of Milan, had recently become the fastest circuit used by Formula One at the time (after the Belgian Spa-Francorchamps circuit was removed from the calendar)- for only one year, as it was modified with chicanes to slow the cars down for the next and subsequent year. With the championship settled, this was an opportunity for new drivers to prove themselves. Chris Amon in the Matra proved an embarrassment to Ferrari by seizing pole at their home track with the fastest lap of all time in a Formula One championship race, lapping at 156 mph (252 km/h), with the BRM's on the second row, whilst champion Stewart was in 6th after suffering gearbox problems. Mike Hailwood was making his debut for Surtees—an inspired choice as he held both the Formula 5000 and motorbike lap records for Monza. Clay Regazzoni's Ferrari thrilled the crowd by surging forward from the fourth row to lead from Jo Siffert and Stewart until lap 3, when Ronnie Peterson took the lead. On lap 7, Stewart took the lead. By lap 16, Stewart and Jacky Ickx retired with engine problems, followed two laps later by Clay Regazzoni. The race began to break into high-speed packs—the leading one containing Hailwood (leading on his debut), François Cevert, Peterson, Siffert, Howden Ganley, Chris Amon, Peter Gethin and Jackie Oliver. Gethin, Peterson, Cevert, Hailwood and Ganley (who fell back slightly) battled right down to the line and all finished within two-tenths of a second of each other. Siffert dropped back after problems with a gearbox that would only select fourth gear.

Championship standings after the race

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

    1971 Italian Grand Prix Wikipedia

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