The 1965 German Grand Prix, officially advertised as the XXVII Großer Preis von Deutschland, was the seventh round of the 1965 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the legendary Nürburgring on the 1st of August. The race was the first chance for Championship leader Jim Clark to win the World Championship of 1965, on a weekend which would be dominated by the title contenders.
Indeed, with the Scot having won five of the six races so far in 1965, many made Clark the favourite for victory in Germany and for the World Championship, although Graham Hill had an outside chance of defeating him. For that to happen, however, Hill would have to win every race to the end of the season, so when Clark claimed pole by over three seconds, the Championship battle was swung even more heavily in the Scot's favour.
Off the line, it was still an advantage for Clark, with the Scot's Lotus roaring off to an early lead while Hill slotted into second, ahead of teammate Jackie Stewart and Ferrari's John Surtees. A series of increasingly quick laps saw Clark break the lap record several times as he disappeared up the road in search of a sixth win of the season.
As Clark charged off for a likely sixth and decisive victory, the field behind was reduced by a series of accidents and retirements, the most notable involving Stewart when he broke his suspension by running wide at Wipperman. An increasingly tense battle for fourth saw Jochen Rindt, Bruce McLaren, Mike Spence and Denny Hulme fight right to the end, where a series of mechanical failures left Rindt as the last man standing.
But, out front, no one could challenge Clark, and when the Scot crossed the line to complete the fifteenth and final lap, the Lotus lead driver was declared as World Champion for a second time. In a typically dominant display, the Scot earned an eighth career Grand Chelem in the process, with Hill and Dan Gurney completing the podium.
The Championship returned for its annual jaunt around the Nürburgring in West Germany, with the Eifel circuit in use as usual. There was some late protests among the teams when the Automobil Club von Deutschland dropped one of the practice sessions, meaning there would be around six hours of practice. They had also invited the top teams from across the F1 world, with the top privateer teams also on their way to battle in the Eifel mountains.
For Team Lotus and Brabham-Climax, the Nürburgring was an opportunity to field a third car, done so in order to increase their chances of taking points (or at least finish). For Lotus, a race winning Lotus 25 was brought to the Nürburgring for local racer Gerhard Mitter to use, while Champion elect Jim Clark and team mate Mike Spence went to battle with 33s. Brabham had a third car for Denny Hulme, meaning team owner Jack Brabham could start a race for the first time since the 1965 Belgian Grand Prix.
Cooper-Climax arrived with Jochen Rindt and Bruce McLaren set to do battle once again in their usual T77 chassis. Ferrari, in contrast, were out in force, having a brand new F12 chassis for John Surtees, meaning he had the choice of the two, while Lorenzo Bandini had the choice of the two V8 cars. In previous seasons the Italian firm had entered an expanded entry for the German Grand Prix, but with none of their Endurance drivers available, they would have to battle with just the two.
For Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart, the BRM team provided the same three cars as they had in the Netherlands, with minor revisions to the suspension. Honda arrived with Richie Ginther once again, the Californian hoping to battle with the leaders once again for the increasingly effective Japanese car. They also entered Ronnie Bucknum, but both drivers would be disappointed when they withdrew when major problems were uncovered during testing back in Japan.
Into the privateer field and Jo Bonnier and Jo Siffert were out to impress with the RRC Walker Racing Team once again with their pair of mismatched Brabhams. DW Racing Enterprises had finally persuaded Team Lotus to rebuild Paul Hawkins damp Lotus 33, a symptom of his dip in the harbour in Monaco. Reg Parnell Racing were back with Chris Amon and Richard Attwood at the wheel of their ex-factory Lotuses, while Scuderia Centro Sud returned with their pair of ex-factory BRMs for Masten Gregory and Roberto Bussinello. John Willment Automobiles rounded out the field with their single car entry for Frank Gardner.
A fifth victory in five starts meant that Clark had won half the season's races, so it was only a matter of time before the Scot was crowned for a second time. Only Hill could deny him, but the Englishman would have to win the remaining four races to make it a dead heat on wins, with the best remaining finishes then deciding the title. The rest were out, unable to get to five or six wins, with Stewart just a point off of Hill in third, while Surtees and McLaren completed the top five.
Lotus-Climax were also set to win the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers, with an eight-point gap back to BRM with dropped scores coming into effect from the weekend's round in Germany onwards. Ferrari were a distant third, seventeen points off of second placed BRM, before a nine point cushion over Brabham-Climax. Cooper-Climax were fourth thanks to McLaren, while Honda were still behind Brabham-BRM as they continued to develop their cars.
The full entry list for the 1965 German Grand Prix is outlined below:
The extreme size of the Nürburgring meant that a problem for a driver out on circuit could see them stranded for almost all of a session, or even miss out completely as recovery could only be done via the circuit. This meant that the six hours or so of available track time could be reduced to as little as just a few minutes if an issue was found right at the start, with two two hour sessions on Friday, before a third two hour run on Saturday. As for target times, the top runners would be aiming for John Surtees' pole time from 1964, a 8:38.4.
The early running on Friday morning was dominated by trial and error, with teams having to constantly adjust their suspension settings to cope with the infamous dips and rises of the Nordschleife. A prime example of this were Team Lotus, who had Jim Clark and Mike Spence complete one lap each before returning for setup changes, while Gerhard Mitter would not run at all until those two were sorted. Ferrari were in a similar position, with the team focusing only on the usual cars of John Surtees and Lorenzo Bandini, meaning the brand new F12 car was abandoned in the paddock.
The Nordschleife had been badly deformed by a harsh winter a couple of years earlier, and the track surface was steadily being replaced. A fair amount had already been completed, almost the entire track up to the Karusell, meaning Surtees' time was almost instantly beaten when the pace picked up near the end of the first session. This was not a surprise, but the sheer scale of improvement on the old time, by none other than Nürburgring virgin Jackie Stewart, caused much clamour around the paddock after the Scot topped the times with an 8:30.6.
The afternoon session saw the intriguing prospect of Stewart going out to better his time from the morning, so there was a slight shock to the system when Clark and Lotus finally got up to speed. The Scot was hunting down his compatriot just after the lunch break, and on what was his first full lap, Clark danced his Lotus 33 round in an unprecedented time of 8:22.7. The record shattering time would not be matched, although Stewart, Graham Hill, John Surtees and Dan Gurney all got under the 8:30.0 mark.
The final Saturday session would see the entire field go for a time to match Clark, although the size of improvement required meant that the Scot could focus on race setup and leave them to it. Ultimately, the best of the rest would be the second Scot Stewart, who found half a second on team mate Hill to set an 8:26.1 to claim second. Surtees and Gurney were left to battle for the final front row spot (fourth), with the Englishman beating the New Yorker by over a second.
The full qualifying results for the 1965 German Grand Prix are outlined below:
- * Anderson was unable to start, but it was decided that Bussinello and Raby were too slow to safely start.
It was rare for a German Grand Prix weekend at the Nürburgring to lack any rain, so when a shower passed over the circuit as the grid was assembled caused little surprise. The timing of the shower did cause some concern, but the heat already poured onto the circuit meant the little water that hit the circuit boiled away before the flag dropped. The nineteen strong grid, lacking Bob Anderson after his accident in qualifying, were released from the dummy grid without issue thirty seconds before the start proper.
Pole sitter Jim Clark would start on the edge of the pitlane, which was made of concrete and so had more grip than the older tarmac of the circuit. It was therefore unsurprising to see the Team Lotus machine leap straight into the lead when the flag dropped, with the Scot having a few yards in hand when the field dropped through the Sud Kerve to get onto the Nordschleife proper. Most of the field would get away in grid order, although Jackie Stewart lost out to team mate Graham Hill and Dan Gurney, while John Surtees suddenly lost all drive a few yards after the start to send him to the back of the field.
Although there were seventeen different camera locations dotted around the Nordschleife the only reliable source of timing was to be found on the start/finish straight. So, when the field streamed back across the line, the lead Clark had established over Hill was some three seconds, with the Scot setting a new lap record on the opening lap. Hill was trying incredibly hard to keep the green-gold Lotus in sight, but had to keep an eye on the close scrap behind, with Stewart managing to elbow his way back past Gurney on the run out of the mini-Karusell.
As Clark set about smashing his own lap record on the second lap, Surtees limped back to the pits to have his gearbox looked at, only for the fault to be discovered in the ignition. Richard Attwood was also an early visitor to the pits, the BRM engine of his ex-factory Lotus running rough, while Frank Gardner failed to appear at all after catastrophic gearbox failure. They would soon be joined by rookie Stewart, who smashed his suspension at the Wippermann esses early on the second lap to end his race early.
With Stewart out, Gurney could try and hunt down Hill and Clark once again, having lost a lot of time during Stewart's incident. For Hill, the task of taking Clark was becoming an increasingly difficult one, with the Scot setting a new lap record with an 8:27.7 as Hill slipped slightly further back. These three were some way ahead of an intense battle for fourth, which involved almost half the field, and saw cars scattering across the circuit into every corner.
Leading the impressive brawl around the Nordschleife was Lorenzo Bandini, who had Bruce McLaren and Mike Spence right alongside as the rest of the field completed lap two. Flashing through just fractions of a second later were Jochen Rindt, Jo Siffert, Jo Bonnier and an fast starting Jack Brabham, up from fourteenth on the grid, while Denny Hulme and Gerhard Mitter began to tag on at the back. More casualties were reported from the back of the circuit, with Chris Amon and Paul Hawkins stopping with unrelated mechanical issues just a few yards apart, although Amon persuaded Hawkins to let him use a transistor box off the Australian's oil starved engine.
Back with the leaders, and Hill managed to match Clark on lap three, both setting a new record time of 8:27.4, moments before Surtees emerged from the pits to try and survive to the end. Then came Gurney, who was out of both the lead fight and safe from the fourth placed brawl behind, led across the line by Spence in the second Lotus. The Englishman's fourth place was being narrowly held from McLaren, while Bandini and Rindt were engaging in an increasingly bad tempered duel in the middle of the tight group.
Through lap four, and Clark began to pull away from Hill once again, the gap stretching to just six seconds before a ten second gap back to Gurney. The fourth place brawl, meanwhile, had split into two when a Bandini slide in the middle of the group was turned into a full spin with assistance from Rindt. This gap was further enhanced when Hulme dropped out from the pack with handling issues, caused by a slipping seat which had actually managed to pierce the fuel tank, ending his race.
The race was beginning to stretch the field out, with Clark finding a further three seconds over the following lap, while Hill pulled another second ahead of Gurney. The brawl for fourth had become a train after Bandini's tumble, with Spence now fending off intermittent attacks from McLaren, Bonnier, Siffert and Rindt, while Brabham was having a private scrap with Mitter. Bandini had rejoined some distance back, just ahead of Gregory, while Attwood and Surtees continued to orbit as the final cars still running.
As race leader Clark crusied past half distance, still pulling a couple of seconds a lap out of Hill, the fourth place battle saw further casualties, as McLaren and Bonnier lost time with pit visits. For McLaren the race was run, a gear level linkage breaking round the run out of the Karusell, while Bonnier stopped after his car suddenly snapped sideways on the run to the mini-Karusell. The following lap saw Spence drop out with a drive shaft failure, while Mitter joined him a lap later with a water pipe failure, causing some concern in the Lotus garage as two of their three cars fell in the space of a couple of minutes.
Their worries, however, were not shared by Clark, as the Scot decided to hussel his car around on the tenth lap to set a lap record of 8:24.1, meaning an average lap speed of 101 mph. Hill was still setting consistent times in the 8:28.0 range, with Clark's push seeing him slip almost half a minute behind, while Gurney continued to fall slightly further back. Ferrari signalled to Surtees that Clark had the new record, urging the Englishman to push for a record himself, although after only one lap, getting an 8:27.0, the gearbox of his car had to be scrapped.
The closing stages saw Clark wind down his pace after lapping Gregory, allowing Hill and Gurney to both close down the gap with three laps to go. Siffert, meanwhile, was still battling on for fourth with Rindt as the last runners of the original fourth place group, with the pair charging over the rise at Flugplatz. It was at that point that the Swiss racer's engine blew up, caused by the car jumping out of gear at high revs, meaning Rindt inherited fourth.
With that, the race was done, the only interest being the continued engineering work of Amon, who pulled up alongside Spence's stricken Lotus to borrow a second transistor. The final lap went by without issue as Clark allowed a 23 second lead to drop to 15.9 seconds across the line, while Gurney put one last push together to halve the gap to Hill, taking third just five seconds off the back of the Englishman. Rindt, Brabham and Bandini crossed the line a few minutes later, amid scenes of jubilation at Lotus for the dominant victory of Clark saw him crowned as World Champion for a second time.
The full results for the 1965 German Grand Prix are outlined below:
|8||24||Masten Gregory||BRM||14||+1 lap||18|
|Ret||3||Gerhard Mitter||Lotus-Climax||8||Water leak||12|
|Ret||20||Richard Attwood||Lotus-BRM||8||Water leak||16|
|Ret||6||Denny Hulme||Brabham-Climax||5||Fuel leak||13|
|Ret||22||Paul Hawkins||Lotus-Climax||3||Oil leak||19|
- Fortieth pole position for a Climax engine.
- Jim Clark became World Champion for the second time.
- Clark claimed his nineteenth career victory.
- Also the Scot's fifth win in a row, and his sixth win of the season.
- Pole and Fastest Lap also meant that Clark earned a record eighth Grand Chelem.
- Fortieth and final win for a Climax engine.
- That win did, however, put them at the top of the all time list for engine wins.
- Twenty-fifth fastest lap for a Team Lotus built car.
Six wins from seven rounds meant Jim Clark was World Champion with maximum points for the second time in three years. His tally of 54 could not be beaten, as only six results counted to the Championship, so it was now impossible for Graham Hill and co. to catch him. The Englishman would therefore have to battle with rookie team mate Jackie Stewart for the runner-up spot, while John Surtees slipped slightly further back.
Clark's sixth victory also meant that Team Lotus were the winners of the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers once again, with BRM now unable to challenge. They looked set to finish second, however, with Ferrari some eighteen points back with just three races to go. The Italian firm were therefore left to look over the shoulders, with Brabham-Climax finally getting some representative finishes to match their pace.
Images and Videos:
- 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: GERMAN GP, 1965', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2016), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr138.html, (Accessed 25/07/2016)
- D.S.J., '27th German Grand Prix: Clark and Lotus all the way', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport Magazine, 01/09/1965), http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/september-1965/37/27th-german-grand-prix, (Accessed 25/07/2016)
- 'Germany 1965: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1965/allemagne/engages.aspx, (Accessed 25/07/2016)
- 'Germany 1965: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1965/allemagne/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 25/07/2016)
- 'Germany 1965: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1965/allemagne/classement.aspx, (Accessed 26/07/2016)
|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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