Silverstone, July 20, 1963 – the British Grand Prix. Here is a wonderful close-in photo of Graham Hill pressing on with his BRM 57 which carries the number 1, indicative of the reigning World Champion. In those days photographers out on the circuit stood inches behind a low cement wall (seen in the lower left), leaving them perhaps a yard from the speeding F1 cars.
The BRM 57 was now over a year old, a 1962 chassis although it had seen both engine and transmission updates. A new BRM was almost ready but was not used at Silverstone. Hill’s main rival Jim Clark was now totally in charge so far in 1963 with the monocoque Lotus 25. In fact, Clark had been on pole again at Silverstone, having won three times already in this year to Hill’s once, a win at the season-opening Monaco race when Clark’s Lotus had selected two gears at once and retired. Clark’s Silverstone pole time was only two tenths shy of the outright lap record, held by Innes Ireland with a 2.5 liter Lotus-Climax. That said, Hill’s BRM set a practice time only four tenths behind Clark’s Lotus with Dan Gurney’s Brabham BT7 between them and Jack Brabham on the outside of the front row.
At the start Brabham and Gurney led but Clark was soon on his way, taking the lead on the fourth lap and that was it. Clark had some handling difficulties but nevertheless continued to expand his lead, even while maintaining a fuel conservation mode for the final quarter of the race. The two Brabhams both retired with engine failures which left Hill’s BRM in second until it ran out of fuel on the final lap, allowing John Surtees’ Ferrari to take over second with Hill third as he rolled across the finish line with a silent engine. Perhaps Surtees had made a wise decision the night before to have his mechanics fit a three gallon reserve fuel tank!
Photo by Colin Waldeck ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
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