United States GP 1964

United States GP, 1964

With John Surtees having won the German and Italian GPs and Lorenzo Bandini having won in Austria, Surtees was suddenly in with a chance of winning the World Championship for Ferrari. Graham Hill was leading the championship with 32 points (despite having won only one round) while Jim Clark was second with 30 points (including three wins). Surtees had 28 points.

Enzo Ferrari was in dispute with the Italian national automobile club over the homologation of the 250LM sportscar and so the Ferrari team appeared at Watkins Glen in the blue and white colors of the United States rather than Italian red, the entry having been made by Luigi Chinetti's North American Racing Team. The field was much as normal with the addition of a number of local drivers including Hap Sharp in a Rob Walker Brabham and Walt Hansgen in a third factory Lotus. AJ Foyt was entered in a third BRM but decided not to take part.

Clark was fastest in practice and shared the front row of the grid with Surtees while Dan Gurney's Brabham was just ahead of Hill's BRM. The third row consisted of Bruce McLaren in his Cooper and Mike Spence in the second Lotus.

At the start Surtees went into the lead while Spence made a great start from the third row to take second place with Clark third and G Hill fourth. On the fifth lap Hill managed to pass Clark for third and then took Spence as well. Clark took advantage of this to pass his team mate on the next lap and Hill soon afterwards. Clark then went after Surtees and on lap 13 he took the lead, leaving Surtees to battle with Hill and Gurney, who had moved past Spence.

Clark was in dominant form until lap 40 when the Lotus began to misfire with fuel injection problems. He dropped quickly back through the field. Team Lotus decided to call in Spence and the two drivers switched cars. Clark could not score points but hoped that he could take them away from his rivals. After Clark disappeared Hill moved clear of the battle he had been having with Surtees and Gurney while Clark (in Spence's car) closed in. Gurney retired with oil pressure problems on lap 70. Clark's efforts to catch and pass his title rivals were ruined by fuel pump trouble which dropped him right back int he closing stages of the race and so third place was inherited by Jo Siffert.

The result meant that Clark's hopes of winning the World title were slim while Surtees moved to within five points of Hill and had the advantage that whatever he scored in Mexico would count for the title. Hill would have to drop three points if he finished in the top three as drivers could only count six scores in the title race.

Graham Hill BRM P261 110 2h16m38.000s  
John Surtees Ferrari 158 110 2h17m08.500s  
22 Jo Siffert Brabham-BRM BT11 109  12 
Richie Ginther BRM P261 107  13 
17 Walt Hansgen Lotus-Climax 33 107  17 
12 Trevor Taylor BRP-BRM MK 2 106  15 
7r= Mike Spence Lotus-Climax 33   
7r= Jim Clark Lotus-Climax 33 102 Fuel Pump  
8r 14 Mike Hailwood Lotus-BRM 25 101 Mechanical 16 
Dan Gurney Brabham-Climax BT7 69 Engine 
nc 23 Hap Sharp Brabham-BRM BT11 65  18 
Lorenzo Bandini Ferrari 1512 58 Engine 
r= Jim Clark Lotus-Climax 25   
r= Mike Spence Lotus-Climax 25 54 Fuel Injection  
28 Ronnie Bucknum Honda RA271 50 Engine 14 
15 Chris Amon Lotus-BRM 25 47 Starter 11 
16 Jo Bonnier Brabham-Climax BT7 37 Mechanical 
Bruce McLaren Cooper-Climax T73 26 Engine 
Jack Brabham Brabham-Climax BT11 14 Engine 
10 Phil Hill Cooper-Climax T73 Ignition 19 
11 Innes Ireland BRP-BRM MK 2 Gearbox 10