In 1970 Jochen Rindt was the best F1 driver and Colin Chapman at Lotus was unquestionably the best designer. They both knew that they were now a winning combination: Rindt’s undoubted talent and Chapman’s Lotus 72. But the 72 was no yet fully ready for the Monaco Grand Prix so Rindt made do with the older standby, the 49. This photo was taken just after the finish at Monaco on May 10, 1970 where Rindt had won by 23 seconds from Jack Brabham’s Brabham BT33. Rindt had qualified only eighth but caught Brabham one lap from the finish. Rindt’s pressure caused the three-time World Champion to miss his braking point on the final corner and slide into the guard rail. Rindt then set a new lap record on the final lap.
Rindt had come to F1 via sports cars, with a surprise win of the Le Mans 24 Hours in a Ferrari 250LM co-drievn by American Masten Gregory. He had previously been driving his own F2 car and Rob Walker’s Brabham-BRM but he had graduated to the Cooper team, driving their heavy Maserti V12-powered cars before joining Lotus in 1969. But 1970 was Rindt’s year to win the Championship, with five victories, enough to defeat Ferrari’s Jackie Ickx by five points, even though Rindt would perish during practice at Monza before the Italian Grand Prix when his Lotus 72 suffered a front brake shaft failure which threw his car into and partially under the poorly-installed barriers on the approach to Parabolica. Rindt thereby would become F1’s only posthumous World Champion.
Photo by Colin Waldeck ©The Klemantaski Collection