This womderful action photograph was taken at Tabac corner during the Monaco Grand Prix on May 28, 1968. Graham Hill is in his Lotus 49 powered by a Cosworth DFV V8. 1968 was the year when the Formula One cars began to sprout wings in search of downforce, following the concepts originated by Jim Hall for his Chaparral sports cars. Hill’s Lotus now has a pair front winglets to help plant the front end and a slightly raised rear section of the bodywork do do likewise at that end of the car.
Hill had qualified on pole to head a field of 16 cars which was the limit set by the organizers. Several of the slower runners who would otherwise have had to qualify now made the field due primarily to the absence of the Scuderia Ferrari. Ferrari perhaps had not been fully satisfied with the modest safety changes introduced after the horrifying fiery crash at the Chicane the year before which had claimed the life of Ferrari driver Lorenzo Bandini. Even so, the race had been shortened by 20 laps from its historic 100 as there was concern that Bandini had become exhausted, precipitating his unfortunate accident.
At the start, Hill followed the Matra MS-10 – being run by Ken Tyrrell for Johnny Servoz-Gavin who was subbing for an injured Jackie Stewart – which had shared the front row with Hill. That lasted but three laps until the Matra suffered a drive shaft failure with a resulting crash but he made it to retirement in the pits. The Matra works team was also there in force with their new V12 car which had been given to Jean-Pierre Beltoise. It would crash, too, albeit lightly. Hill then took over and stayed there until the finish. He is seen to the left at the first gear hairpin in front of the Loews hotel which occupied the position once held by Monaco’s gare.
There were only five official finishers, but other than Richard Attwood in second place on the lead lap with his Parnell-entered BRM 126. the others were all four or more laps down. Beyond Servoz-Gavin and Beltoise, McLaren, Oliver, Rindt and Rodriguez had also joined the Crash Club.
Hill’s win was his fourth victory at Monaco and was only to be capped by a final win there in 1969. What an astounding record!
Photos by Nigel Snowdon ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
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