The 1962 German Grand Prix, staged at the Nürburgring on the 5th of August, was the sixth round of the 1962 FIA Formula One World Championship. Officially known as the XXVI Grosser Preis von Deutschland, the race would be remembered for an excellent recovery by BRM, after having one of their cars involved in a huge accident in practice.
During the combined practice and qualifying sessions, Graham Hill had hit a T.V. camera that had come away from Carel Godin de Beaufort's car which sent the Englishman off the circuit and into the trees. Emerging uninjured, Hill would start the race from second in a car that had been built overnight, taking on maiden pole sitter Dan Gurney for the race lead at the start. In a race staged in wet, but slowly drying conditions, Hill battled to the lead of the race and won for the second time in 1962 to extend his lead in the Championship.
Gurney, for his part, would finish third after his qualifying success, losing out to John Surtees for second in the opening stages. Jim Clark finished fourth for Team Lotus, although his race was hampered by a terrible start caused by the Scot when he forgot to switch on the fuel pumps on the grid. Bruce McLaren and Ricardo Rodríguez completed the scorers with sixteen finishers in total.
Having missed the French Grand Prix and only sending Phil Hill to the British Grand Prix, Ferrari arrived in Germany with a full compliment of 156s. Strikes in Italy over the early summer had severely hampered the scarlet challenge, and so Phil Hill was joined by promising youngsters Giancarlo Baghetti, Ricardo Rodríguez and Lorenzo Bandini as Ferrari sought to reverse their fortunes in 1962. Only Hill and Bandini, however, would be equipped with new cars, with Rodriguez particularly upset by having to drive one of the original development cars, meaning he would be out to prove a point throughout the race weekend.
As one marque returned, there were to be three new appearances on the grid, with much of the attention on one car in particular. Jack Brabham had been secretly developing a Formula Junior car during his last season with Cooper, and now with technical partner Ron Tauranac, the Australian was able to reveal his first Formula One creation, the Brabham BT3. Elsewhere, Gilby finally delivered their 1962 challenger, which had been expected to appear in Aintree a couple of weeks earlier, with Keith Greene débuting the Gilby 62 at the Nürburgring equipped with an engine from BRM. The third new creation was Bandini's updated Ferrari.
Porsche were also out for their home race, with Dan Gurney running their newest 804 while a third awaited in the garage in case either Gurney or Jo Bonnier were in strife. The British constructors were also out in force, with Team Lotus looking to lead the challenge, although their second driver Trevor Taylor would still have to race a 24 rather than Jim Clark's incredible Lotus 25. Lola-Climax had three cars on offer for John Surtees and Roy Salvadori, with Surtees hoping to use the updated third car to full effect after their delightful podium.
Cooper-Climax also hoped that the minor tweaks to their two T60s would propel them to the front of the field, with an older T55 in the garage as a spare. BRM also arrived in Germany with a full compliment, before also calling up a third car for Tony Marsh, although delays meant it was questionable whether the Englishman would race. With the UDT Laystall Racing Team absent after not being invited to take part, the leading privateer outfit in Germany would be the Rob Walker Racing Team, with Maurice Trintignant racing their only car after its (and his) huge accident at Rouen.
Supporting the field were a large number of 1961 equipped privateers, many regulars of both the Championship and the non-Championship Grand Prix. Jackie Lewis and Ian Burgess were hoping to continue their battle from Aintree, while Swiss outfit Ecurie Filipinetti fielded three different cars for their three drivers. Lucien Bianchi also appeared with the Belgian national team using an ENB, while there was a return for Bernard Collomb, who would use a Cooper previously raced by John Surtees.
The Championship battle had become very interesting in Britain, with Graham Hill departing his home race with a slender one point lead after Clark's dominant win. They were followed closely by Bruce McLaren after he laid claim to another podium at Aintree, while Ferrari's Phil Hill had slipped to fourth having failed to score in the previous two rounds. Surtees completed the top five after his confident season with Lola, with fifteen scorers in 1962.
With the season entering its second half, the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers was also in the grip of an intense battle, with the top three teams separated by just three points. Lotus-Climax had forged ahead in Britain the Clark, although BRM were just a point behind in second, while Cooper-Climax sat in third, two scores further back. Ferrari's poor attendance meant that they had slipped to a lonely fourth place, and were now under pressure from new boys Lola. Porsche, meanwhile, were the last of the scoring teams, but just three behind the Italian manufacturer in fourth.
The full entry list for the 1962 German Grand Prix is outlined below:
Given the remarkable length of the Nürburgring, there was some surprise when the schedule for the German Grand Prix was revealed, with the combined practice and qualifying sessions running for a total of just four hours. This time was to broken into three sessions over Friday and Saturday, but as many a driver has discovered, a recovery from the circuit could take hours, let alone the time for the repairs themselves. An early issue on the circuit on Friday would cost someone a whole day's running, and so the mechanics took extra care to ensure the cars were running as close to perfect as possible when they left the pits.
A small section near the pits allowed drivers to abandon laps early on if they had an issue, and it was the Team Lotus racer Trevor Taylor who proved the value of this concession. Having completed one lap on the "South Turn Circuit" Taylor was about to launch into a flying lap, until a valve head broke and destroyed his new Climax engine. He was able to limp around to the pits on the short circuit and get the car back to have the spare engine fitted and so could reappear before the end of the day. His team mate Jim Clark, however, would have a trouble free run, and was number of drivers aiming to best Phil Hill's qualifying record from 1961.
Nine minutes was the early target for the leaders, and it was not long before Championship leader Graham Hill was on record pace, recording a time of 8:50.2. That record was not to last, however, as Dan Gurney completed a stunning lap to find a further three seconds on Hill's time. Clark was unable to produce a clean lap, although his struggles still resulted in a lap just a second slower than Hill, while the Cooper-Climaxs slowly closed in on the nine minute mark. With rain affecting the Saturday session, Friday proved to be the day of qualifying, and it was Gurney who claimed his, and Porsche's maiden pole position.
It was also on Friday when Hill had one of the biggest accident's of his career, and one that was not the fault of himself or his car. Going down the dip of the sweeping Fuchsröhre bend, Carel Godin de Beaufort dropped the camera attached to the back of his Porsche, with the unit landing in the middle of the racing line. That charging BRM was next on the scene, and with no view of the camera until he crested the hill a few yards away, Hill had no choice but to slam into the camera, ripping off the radiator and throwing oil onto the circuit. The oil was also thrown onto the wheels of the BRM, and so Hill quickly found himself among the trees at the edge of the circuit, a heavy impact ripping off the front suspension from the car.
As Hill climbed from his car, Bruce McLaren came to a stop at the scene of the accident having seen the dust thrown from Hill's departure. The New Zealander was quickly on his way after Hill indicated he was all right, and there was no sign of the accident a few moments later. It was then that Tony Maggs came through the Fuchsröhre, unknowingly hitting the oil slick from Hill's car before the marshals could indicate the problem. The Cooper was immediately thrown off the circuit, but the South African was slightly more fortunate to hit a catch fence supported by a thick bush, and emerged from a twisted T60 shaken but unhurt.
The full qualifying results for the 1962 German Grand Prix are outlined below:
|8||18||Carel Godin de Beaufort||Porsche||9:12.9||+25.7s|
- * To qualify for the start, drivers had to complete five full laps of the circuit.
- † Seiffert only entered as a reserve driver.
|______________||9||Carel Godin de Beaufort|
- * Taylor allowed to start at the back of the grid despite failing to set five full laps.
As the teams arrived on the circuit for the race on Sunday it looked as if they would be better of with canoes rather than cars, as heavy rain hit the Nürburgring overnight on Saturday, and had continued to pound the circuit until midday. By lunch the rain had stopped although dark clouds remained, with the on circuit action starting with a six lap GT race before the scheduled Grand Prix start at 2:00 pm. Yet, as the finishing touches were being made to the cars, including a new engine for Jack Brabham, the heavens opened once again with the FIA opting to delay the start. It was 3:00 before the rain stopped, and the FIA allowed all of the drivers to do a full lap of the circuit, as the army of marshals cleared away debris washed onto the circuit. A start time of 3:15 was quickly given, as a light drizzle began to fall on the circuit.
With the light drizzle adding to the damp conditions, many of the drivers fought to keep their equipment dry, with the engineers leaving it late to clear the grid. The flag dropped a 3:15 on the dot and twenty five of the twenty six starters leapt away from the grid, all bar Jim Clark on the front row. The Scot was too busy making sure that his goggles would not steam up as the five second warning was made with the raising of the flag, meaning he forgot to turn on the fuel pumps. As Dan Gurney leapt away with the rest of the field, Clark was left as a green and gold island in the middle of the circuit his engine having dried the little fuel it had in the carburettor just as the flag dropped.
With Clark left standing on the grid until his fuel pumps had put fuel all the way through his engine, Gurney was battling for the lead along the back straight. The American had got away smartly, although Graham Hill and John Surtees had managed to keep with him, and so were roaring along in the Porsche's wake. There was a flash of scarlet behind them, Phil Hill having had one of the best starts of his career to launch away from the fourth row, taking car after car in the first corners to fun in fourth. But, as the field roared past the grandstands that littered the circuit, there must have been joy in the hearts of 360,000 fans for Gurney led the opening lap with a small gap behind.
The first casualty of the race was to be the second Team Lotus entry, as Trevor Taylor suffered a bizare failure halfway round the opening lap. Limping around the first lap with a very unhealthy Climax engine, Taylor had just crested the run to the Karussell when all eight cylinders came on line, throwing full power through the rear axle at a point where Taylor should have been slowing. The sudden surge saw him thrown into the trees, with the Lotus 24 smacking into a tree, bending the front of the car and leaving him on the sidelines uninjured. His team mate Clark, meanwhile, was making up for his thirteen second delay, taking car, after car, after car as he rose seventeen places on the opening lap.
Clark was continuing to pick off the cars ahead at every opportunity, Brabham and Richie Ginther the next to fall on his charge, as Graham Hill stalked Gurney ahead. Whereas Clark now had nothing to lose, Hill was plotting to take the lead of the race to extend his Championship hopes, and so opted to force Gurney into a mistake rather than take a chance in the treacherous conditions. The pressure did not tell until the end of the lap, as the BRM appeared ahead of the Porsche to the delight of the BRM crew, with Gurney trying to fight back.
Behind came Surtees, whom had taken Phil Hill on lap two in a move that saw the American also passed by Bruce McLaren and Jo Bonnier. The Brit now began to move onto the back of Gurney, who was now trying to keep Graham Hill from disappearing into the distance before the end of lap three. For Graham Hill the ability for him to pull away was still being hampered, with the extinguisher in his cockpit coming away from its bracket and rolling around under his legs. Those three were soon clear from McLaren in fourth, with the New Zealander just ahead of Bonnier and the first pair of Ferraris.
Clark was now running in eighth and about to engage Ricardo Rodríguez, who was doing an incredible job in the ancient Ferrari 156 to run just behind team mate Phil Hill. Before the end of the lap the Scot was passed the Mexican, as all three flashed past Bonnier, the Swede suddenly losing pace partway round the lap. Up ahead Gurney was attempting to make a repair on the fly, attempting to strap down his battery before the contacts came away along the long back straight. He just ran out of space before he could finish the job, and in running wide allowed Surtees to sneak past for second.
The next time through it was Graham Hill leading from Surtees, the Lola-Climax still hanging valiantly on to the gearbox of the BRM, with Gurney now far enough behind to lose the slipstream effect. McLaren remained a lonely fourth, but was about to be busy as Clark brushed past Phil Hill for fifth as numerous reports of failures began to affect the privateers. Carel Godin de Beaufort was the four-cylinder privateer leader at the end of lap five, with Ian Burgess challenging, after both had been passed by a charging Tony Maggs in the factory run Cooper T55.
The rain was now beginning to fall slightly heavier once again, and Clark now claimed fourth from McLaren, taking over five seconds a lap out of the New Zealander on his way past. The lead battle, meanwhile, had tightened up, with Hill now having to defend heavily from Surtees and Gurney, the two having eased off briefly for a time before relaunching their attempts at victory. Phil Hill was now tumbling away from the second group, falling to the continued charge of Maggs who was dragging Burgess and de Beaufort with him. The lower powered cars were enjoying an rare advantage in the wet, with the conditions meaning they could use the throttle more effectively than the more powerful cars ahead.
Phil Hill dropped out on the next lap through, just in time to see team mate Lorenzo Bandini being hounded by the lesser cars behind. Up ahead, Clark was providing a spectacular display of his driving skill, with his Lotus dancing across the wet tarmac to take several seconds out of Gurney in the space of a single lap. Yet, as he pulled to within ten seconds of the leaders, Clark had a dramatic slide through the quick run through Fuchsröhre, just holding onto the green and gold Lotus, prompting him to ease off the pace.
Bandini and de Beaufort were scrapping as the race entered its final phase, the older Porsche pulling alongside the new Ferrari in the run to the Süd-kehre. Bandini braked early in the increasingly poor conditions while de Beaufort slammed onto the brakes a second later. The Dutchman's momentum carried him wide, and his heavy braking threw the car into a time wasting, but otherwise un-costly spin.
The top three were still sliding their cars around the circuit almost in unison, with Hill still under pressure from Surtees. Gurney dropped slightly further back as the cars started the final lap, and on numerous occasions Surtees had the front of the Lola level with the back of the BRM but could not force his way through. Hill's defence held to the line leaving him to sweep home just a couple of seconds ahead of his fellow countryman, with Gurney just a couple of seconds further back.
The full results for the 1962 German Grand Prix are outlined below:
|13||18||Carel Godin de Beaufort||Porsche||15||+9:11.8||8|
|14||32||Heinrich Walter||Porsche||14||+1 lap||14|
|15||26||Nino Vaccarella||Porsche||14||+1 lap||15|
|16||21||Lucien Bianchi||ENB-Maserati||14||+1 lap||25|
|Ret||28||Heinz Schiller||Lotus-BRM||4||Oil pressure||20|
- * Lewis was still classified despite failing to complete the final lap, the Brit being judged to have completed enough of the race distance.
- Début for Brabham as a manufacturer.
- Maiden pole position for Dan Gurney.
- First and only pole position for Porsche.
- Graham Hill claimed his second victory.
- Tenth podium for BRM.
- Fifth and final podium for Porsche.
Victory for Graham Hill and the poor start for Jim Clark meant that the Englishman led the Scot by seven points, the largest gap at the top of the standings all season. Another good result for John Surtees saw him leap into the top three, jumping ahead of Bruce McLaren after a rare failure for the New Zealander to score. Phil Hill had now dropped to fifth with his continued poor form, while the single point for Ricardo Rodríguez meant there were three Ferrari drivers tied on four points.
As with the Drivers' Championship, the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers had been stretched in Germany, with BRM now over thirty points for the season. With dropped scores now enforced, BRM's tally was registered as 31 although they had in fact claimed 32 points, although they still sat four points clear of Lotus-Climax regardless. Behind Team Lotus came Cooper-Climax, a further four points behind, while a second podium for Surtees pushed Lola-Climax ahead of Ferrari, who also fell behind Porsche.
Images and Videos:
- Lothar Spurzem, 'File:1962-08-05 Graham Hill, Surtees, Gurney - Hatzenbach.jpg', commons.wikimedia.org, (WikiMedia Commons, 14/01/2013), https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1962-08-05_Graham_Hill,_Surtees,_Gurney_-_Hatzenbach.jpg, (Accessed 29/05/2016)
- 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: GERMAN GP, 1962', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2016), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr108.html, (Accessed 29/05/2016)
- 'XXIV GERMAN GRAND PRIX', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport Magazine, 01/09/1962), http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/september-1962/51/xxiv-german-grand-prix, (Accessed 29/05/2016)
- 'Germany 1962: Race Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1962/allemagne/engages.aspx, (Accessed 29/05/2016)
- 'Germany 1962: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1962/allemagne/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 29/05/2016)
- 'Germany 1962: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1962/allemagne/classement.aspx, (Accessed 29/05/2016)
|V T E||German Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Nürburgring (1951–1954, 1956–1958, 1960–1969, 1971–1976, 1985, 2007–2013*), AVUS (1959), Hockenheimring (1970, 1977–1984, 1986–2006, 2007–2014*, 2016, 2018–2019)|
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|* Nürburgring and Hockenheimring alternated between each other during these years.|
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