Italian GP 1968
SEPTEMBER 8, 1968
Italian GP, 1968
There was a five-week gap in the World Championship calendar after the German GP and after a season of rainfall and tragedy the F1 circus was able to take a break. The Oulton Park Gold Cup attracted some of the big names and victory went to Jackie Stewart, who had won a dominant victory the Nurburgring before the summer break.
The entry was the biggest of the season with American driver Mario Andretti entered in a third Lotus and his USAC rival Bobby Unser replacing Richard Attwood in the BRM team. Ken Tyrrell's Matra International has expanded to run two cars the second being driven by Johnny Servoz-Gavin. Ferrari ran a third car for rising British star Derek Bell while Honda fielded a second RA301 for David Hobbs. Cooper had been planning to run three cars but Robin Widdows was out of action after an accident and so the team ran only Vic Elford and Lucien Bianchi.
Early qualifying saw Andretti and Unser setting fast times as both wanted to fly back to the United States to race in the Hoosier 100 in Indianapolis the following day. They then intended to fly back across the Atlantic and race in the Grand Prix. The organizers announced that if the two drivers did fly back to the United States and race there they would be banned from competing in the Italian race under a rule which forbade drivers to compete in an other event within 24 hours of the start of the Grand Prix. They flew off back to the US and did not return.
Qualifying resulted in John Surtees taking pole his Honda with Bruce McLaren (McLaren) and Chris Amon (Ferrari) alongside him. The second row was shared by Jacky Ickx's Ferrari and Graham Hill's Lotus while Jackie Stewart shared the third row with Denny Hulme (McLaren) and Bell's Ferrari.
For the first time in months the race took place in sunny conditions with Surtees taking the lead at the start. McLaren was ahead by the time the cars returned at the end of the first lap. McLaren stayed ahead until lap seven when Surtees slipstreamed into the lead. The following lap McLaren was ahead again while Amon crashed and Surtees also hit the wall trying to avoid the Ferrari. This put Siffert into second place with Stewart third. Stewart then moved to second and a slipstreaming battle developed for the lead between McLaren, Stewart, Siffert and Hulme. Hill disappeared when a wheel fell off his Lotus.
McLaren dropped out when he had to pit for more oil on lap 35. Stewart was the next to disappear with engine failure on lap 43 and when Siffert went out with a rear suspension failure of lap 59, Hulme was left to win. There had been a lively battle behind the leaders between Servoz-Gavin, Ickx and Rindt. Ickx had emerged ahead but in the closing laps had to stop for more fuel and so dropped to third behind Servoz-Gavin, Rindt having gone out with an engine failure.
|1||1||Denny Hulme||McLaren-Cosworth M7A||68||1h40m14.800s||7|
|2||5||Johnny Servoz-Gavin||Matra-Cosworth MS10||68||1h41m43.200s||13|
|3||8||Jacky Ickx||Ferrari 312||68||1h41m43.400s||4|
|4||27||Piers Courage||BRM P126||67||17|
|5||6||Jean-Pierre Beltoise||Matra MS11||66||18|
|6||3||Jo Bonnier||McLaren-BRM M5A||64||19|
|r||20||Jo Siffert||Lotus-Cosworth 49B||58||Suspension||9|
|r||10||Jack Brabham||Brabham-Repco BT26||56||Engine||16|
|r||15||David Hobbs||Honda RA301||42||Engine||14|
|r||4||Jackie Stewart||Matra-Cosworth MS10||42||Engine||6|
|r||19||Jackie Oliver||Lotus-Cosworth 49B||38||Transmission||11|
|r||2||Bruce McLaren||McLaren-Cosworth M7A||34||Mechanical||2|
|r||11||Jochen Rindt||Brabham-Repco BT26||33||Engine||10|
|r||26||Pedro Rodriguez||BRM P138||22||Mechanical||15|
|r||21||Dan Gurney||Eagle-Weslake T1G||19||Overheating||12|
|r||16||Graham Hill||Lotus-Cosworth 49B||10||Accident||5|
|r||14||John Surtees||Honda RA301||8||Accident||1|
|r||9||Chris Amon||Ferrari 312||8||Accident||3|
|r||7||Derek Bell||Ferrari 312||4||Mechanical||8|
|r||23||Vic Elford||Cooper-BRM T86B||2||Brakes/ Accident||20|
|exc||18||Mario Andretti||Lotus-Cosworth 49B||Raced In Usa Within 24 Hours||21|
|exc||25||Bobby Unser||BRM P126||Raced In Usa Within 24 Hours||22|
|nq||28||Frank Gardner||BRM P261||23|
|nq||12||Silvio Moser||Brabham-Repco BT20||24|