The XIV Grote Prijs van Nederland, otherwise known as the 1966 Dutch Grand Prix, was the fifth round of the 1966 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at Zandvoort on the 24th of July, 1966. The race would be won by Jack Brabham at a canter, with the "old man" starting the race from pole with a false beard and a walking stick before putting in a masterful display in the race.
The Australian double Champion had arrived with two wins in the previous two races with his self-built Brabham-Repco, and when he and team mate Denny Hulme claimed first and second in qualifying few thought that they could be defeated. Jim Clark, defending Champion, would start on the outside of the front row despite his handicap of using a modified, under-powered, 1965 car, with Dan Gurney and Mike Parkes completing the second row.
When the flag dropped the quickly dis-bearded Aussie vaulted into the lead of the race, although he would have to push on as Clark beat Hulme off the line. The top three would soon drop the rest of the field as Hulme reclaimed second, only to suffer an ignition failure and hand the position back to the Scot.
Brabham and Clark were soon having to play chicken with the back markers, and when the Aussie got baulked on lap 27 the Scot slipped into the lead. Clark would then pull steadily clear until lap 76, when a water pump fracture forced him to stop to take on water. Brabham flew past to cruise to victory, as Clark emerged down in third, Graham Hill slipping by for second.
Just eight days, officially long enough for a break between races under FIA rules, separated the British and Dutch Grand Prix, meaning it was a rush for the teams to get to the Netherlands in time for the first session. The need and cost of quick shipping meant that several teams and drivers were absent, although all of the major manufacturers would get to Zandvoort. As for the circuit, nothing had changed despite the shifting dunes, which kicked sand across the circuit whenever the wind blew.
Headlining the field was the return of Ferrari who had Lorenzo Bandini and Mike Parkes back in action having missed the British Grand Prix after strikes in Italy. The break in action for them due to industrial dramas meant there were only a few changes to their cars since their last appearance at Reims, which included reupholstered cockpits and plated rear suspension parts. Various other revisions were made, from adjustable windscreen positions to guards installed around vital engine parts.
Team Lotus would run their two cars as they had at Brands Hatch, with Jim Clark getting the new Lotus 33 with the Climax, while Peter Arundell got the old car with a BRM engine. Rivals BRM were also running as they had back in the UK, Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart using the under-powered Tasman Championship cars rather than the pair of H16 chassis. Indeed, the H16 project had been withdrawn from action for both the Lotus and BRM teams for the rest of the European season, as the engineers worked on ways of preventing the torque output from ripping apart gearboxes.
Cooper-Maserati were enjoying one of the most competitive seasons for the Cooper Car Company for some time, as John Surtees and Jochen Rindt went to battle once again. They, however, had planned a series of tests for their cars, which included a brand new chassis yet to have been driven as they planned to tailor the cars to their drivers. Bruce McLaren and Dan Gurney were also back with their self-built/entered entries with both focusing on handling ahead of the weekend in the sand.
Yet, arguably the class of the field in 1966 were Brabham-Repco after their one-two in Britain, as Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme arrived hunting for success once again. They had their pair of cars ready and were happy to be in the Netherlands, the scale of their triumph at Brands meaning they had little need to work on the cars. Their third car was a modified 1965 chassis, with M.G.M. getting hold of it with their paint pots just in case it was used in the race.
Into the privateer field and Jo Bonnier was back with a rebuilt Cooper-Maserati, which had required a new chassis after it entered the window of a farm house at Spa. He was one of the number of drivers to get attacked by the M.G.M. painters, lured by their American dollars, with Jo Siffert and Guy Ligier also in privateer Coopers. Reg Parnell Racing had an ex-factory Lotus for Mike Spence as usual, who had his helmet painted in his own colours, while John Taylor was entered in the David Bridges Brabham-BRM.
Victory for the second race in a row left Jack Brabham ten points clear at the top of the World Championship standings, meaning he was a win ahead of the rest of the field. Jochen Rindt was his closest challenger in second, a point ahead of Lorenzo Bandini and Denny Hulme, while Jackie Stewart and John Surtees were tied for fifth. Defending Champion Jim Clark was finally on the board down in tenth, while Bruce McLaren had his first point with his own car.
Brabham-Repco and Ferrari had 21 points each at the top of the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers, and it was the Anglo-Australian outfit who were ahead with two wins to the Italian firm's one. BRM were sat in third, eight points off of the leaders, while only two points clear of a revived Cooper-Maserati effort. Lotus-Climax were finally on the board in fifth, while McLaren-Serenissima had their first point in Formula One.
The full entry list for the 1966 Dutch Grand Prix is outlined below:
Practice/qualifying opened with a two hour session on Friday morning, although with slate-grey skies and a wet track, many were disheartened. A second session in the afternoon was held in dry conditions, lifting everyone's spirits before a final session on Saturday afternoon, although the entire field was dragged into a ten minute film session for the upcoming M.G.M. film Grand Prix. Serious practice, however, would be the order of the day on both Friday and Saturday, with the pace setters expected to smash Jim Clark's lap record from 1965 at 1:30.6.
Friday morning's soaked circuit meant that the only quick times were posted just before the lunch break, when the sun had finally began burning off the water. Despite the treacherous conditions, however, Clark was the man to beat on Friday, the Scot dancing his underpowered Lotus through the dunes to record a 1:30.9. His closest challenger proved to be John Surtees in one of the new-for-1966 Cooper-Maseratis, with the Englishman a tenth of a second back.
The afternoon session on Friday saw the circuit bone dry before the start, which meant that Brabham-Repco finally sent Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme out to do some running. The two Antipodeans were immediately on the pace, both breaking through the 1:30.0 barrier before the end of the first hour, as Clark continued to impress by joining them. Dan Gurney had the Eagle-Climax running well and in the sub-1:30.0s while Surtees and Jochen Rindt were steadily going through the Cooper test programme.
The end of the Friday afternoon session saw the touch paper set alight as the pole contenders went out for the final minutes to set quick times. First man through was Hulme with a 1:28.7 to take him to the top, although this time was matched by a slithering Clark who had a significant power disadvantage. Gurney and Rindt joined the fray, a 1:29.4 and 1:29.2 respectively, before Brabham went out right at the death of the session and delivered a decisive time of 1:28.4.
Once Phil Hill and the camera crews were cleared away for the ten minute photoshoot, in which Bruce McLaren had diced with the two BRMs to counter their boredom, the circuit was opened again for Saturday practice. There were early dramas from the get go, as Lorenzo Bandini spun off and damaged his Ferrari, leaving him out of the session and with an injured hand. His team mate Mike Parkes was slowly closing in on the Friday pace setters, who all went out to try and best their times, joined by the two BRMs of Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart.
The pace saw an impressive flurry of times with improvements for everyone bar Clark and Hulme, the latter's race almost put into doubt when his engine imploded and dumped oil on the circuit. Elsewhere, Brabham found three tenths to confirm his pole position with a 1:28.1, Gurney just fell a tenth shy of beating the aforementioned Hulme and Clark, while Parkes got within a second of Brabham to steal a second row starting spot from Rindt. It would, however, be a busy night in the pits for the 1966 runners, as Hulme, Rindt and Bandini all had engine changes, the latter also requiring some suspension replacement.
The full qualifying results for the 1966 Dutch Grand Prix are outlined below:
- * McLaren could not start the race as he ran out of engines, Amon having been withdrawn for the same issue
Race day dawned bright and warm amid the dunes, and a short session was held in the early morning as a warm up to allow engines to be run in and M.G.M. to play with their camera car. When Bruce McLaren dropped out the Hollywood staff set upon Mike Spence once again, painting his car white with a unique helmet design to resemble one of their fictional drivers, as the rest of the field gathered on the dummy grid. There were some late dramas elsewhere, Denny Hulme helping his mechanics replace some gearbox parts while John Surtees pulled in late for a wheel change, but all seventeen confirmed starters were in place before the 2:30pm start time.
When the flag dropped it was the green-gold Lotus of Jim Clark who shot away into the lead, but the two Brabham-Repco cars simply had too much power. Jack Brabham was therefore able to get back into the lead through the first corner, the Tarzan Hairpin, and only some canny driving from Clark meant the Scot managed to stay ahead of Hulme. Their three way scrap for the lead would soon pull clear of the rest of the field on the opening lap, as Graham Hill pushed through to an early fourth place while Dan Gurney dropped through the field.
The leading trio were providing all the action in the opening laps as Clark continued to attack Brabham while also fending off constant harassment from Hulme. The only distraction was an accident for Jochen Rindt on lap three, where the Austrian disappeared over the dunes after a gear change chucked the car sideways and into the sand. Moments later Hulme managed to get past Clark down the start/finish straight to take second, a vital but inevitable move as the two Brabhams immediately began working together to try to escape the Scot.
Their ploy to escape, however, would not work as Clark was actually quicker round the back of the circuit, so the Antipodeans changed tactics and settled for simply blocking the Scots charge. The leading trio's pace therefore plummeted, leaving Hulme with the eventual fastest race lap on lap two while also allowing Hill to make ground. The addition of a fourth car, however, did not change the Brabham team's plan, with Hulme and Brabham continuing to work hard to prevent the Brits from getting past.
As their battle rumbled on, Mike Parkes completed a picture perfect replication of Rindt's accident, although the result of his off was rather more messy, as the Ferrari smashed into the abandoned Cooper-Maserati causing both cars heavy damage. This was after ten laps, with the order standing as Brabham, a hardworking Hulme, Clark and Hill, before a fair gap back to Jackie Stewart and Dan Gurney who were being shadowed by Surtees. Next through was Lorenzo Bandini, whose hand was still not fully recovered, meaning the Italian was fighting with the privateers along with Peter Arundell, who looked a shadow of his former self.
The race was in a tense stalemate for the following laps, with the only overtaking on the circuit being done by Gurney, who elbowed Stewart out of the way into Tarzan. Yet, on the seventeenth lap, the picture at the front of the field suddenly changed, as Hulme limped into the pits with an ignition fault. Without a rear gunner, Brabham had to push on harder than before and, although the Aussie managed to drop Hill, Clark was still throwing the Lotus in his wake, looking for any opportunity to get past.
It soon became clear that the pace of the leaders was so close that it would take intervention from outside of their cockpits to decide the battle. The dancing pair then came up to the back of a tight pack of cars, Bandini, Siffert and Spence, and it was the Scot who took the greatest risk by barrelling down the inside into Tarzan to lap Spence and take Brabham. The dicing in the backmarkers lasted two more laps, although the fact that Clark cleared them half a lap ahead of Brabham meant the Scot was now in command of the race.
Without the Brabham to trouble him physically, many thought that the Scot would ease off, but they were proved wrong as he threw a lunge up the inside of Surtees a few laps later. The two survived with the Englishman running wide and clipping the sand to make room for the charging Scot, and although he allowed Brabham through too, the Australian still lost more ground. Elsewhere, an oil leak had put Gurney out of the race after a strong opening run, Siffert had to stop for water, and Bandini and Spence were enjoying a private duel, until the latter got caught behind a slow Surtees who was well off the pace.
Clark's mesmerising pace meant he was in the lead for over half the race, but when a thump from the engine bay caused him too look over his shoulder, his race looked to be over. The Climax was running roughly for the rest of the race, with Clark deciding that the issue was minor and carrying on, although his pace was dropping as the engine began to overheat. The actual damage had been to a damper on the end of the crankshaft, which caused the roughness, but the pieces of metal that were thrown out from the small failure were enough to fracture the water pump.
Soon, the balance of power was in Brabham's favour, with the Australian making huge ground when Clark got caught lapping Hill, who was lapping team mate Stewart, who was lapping Bandini, all on lap 65. When Brabham caught and passed on lap 75, Clark called time on his gamble and slammed on the brakes at the Lotus garage, a precision manoeuvre that presented the water tank right to a mechanic holding water. A quick refill and the Scot was underway, but the damage to the engine was already at force, leaving Clark to limp to flag and try and fend off Hill.
It was not too long before Hill chased down and passed the Lotus, taking just eight laps to pass his hampered rival, with Clark once again pitting for more water. He emerged on the same lap as fellow Scot Stewart, and it was a tense finale as the BRM made over ten seconds a lap on the Lotus in the closing stages. Elsewhere, Bob Anderson was out after a suspension failure, Bandini had spun after locking up a rear wheel to allow Spence to get by, while Bonnier made a late charge to take Ligier.
Yet, out front and on his own, Brabham swept to a third straight victory to emerge as the favourite for the title as the F1 circus went into the second half of the season. Hill was a lap down in second with Clark third, just a few seconds ahead of the charging Stewart, with the flying BRM passing the Lotus a few yards after the finishing line. The timekeepers initially awarded third to Stewart because of this fact until it was proved that Clark had been ahead, an issue that also affected the position of Bonnier, who had not taken John Taylor before the end, despite the timekeepers insistence otherwise.
The full results for the 1966 Dutch Grand Prix are outlined below:
|2||12||Graham Hill||BRM||89||+1 lap||7||6|
|3||6||Jim Clark||Lotus-Climax||88||+2 laps||3||4|
|4||14||Jackie Stewart||BRM||88||+2 laps||8||3|
|5||32||Mike Spence||Lotus-BRM||87||+3 laps||12||2|
|6||2||Lorenzo Bandini||Ferrari||87||+3 laps||9||1|
|7||30||Jo Bonnier||Cooper-Maserati||84||+6 laps||13|
|8||38||John Taylor||Brabham-BRM||84||+6 laps||17|
|9||36||Guy Ligier||Cooper-Maserati||84||+6 laps||16|
|Ret||10||Dan Gurney||Eagle-Climax||26||Oil line||4|
- 100th Grand Prix start for Cooper.
- Tenth career win for Jack Brabham.
- Fifth win for Brabham.
- Third victory for Template:Repco-CON.
- Maiden fastest lap recorded by Denny Hulme
Victory for the third race in a row meant that Jack Brabham was sixteen points clear of the rest of the runners in the World Championship, as dropped scores came into effect from the Dutch Grand Prix onwards. Graham Hill was up to second after another podium, joined in the top three by team mate Jackie Stewart, while Jochen Rindt dropped to fifth. Lorenzo Bandini and John Surtees were no longer tied on points and race records, with Denny Hulme now inbetween, as fifteen drivers were now registered on the board.
Brabham-Repco went into the second half of the season with an eight point lead in the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers thanks to Brabham's recent run. Second place was still held by Ferrari, who simply looked to have been outdone by the Anglo-Aussie combination, and were only three points ahead of BRM in third. Cooper-Maserati were ahead of Team Lotus into the second part of the season, who were at the bottom of the top five.
Images and Videos:
- 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: DUTCH GP, 1966', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2016), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr146.html, (Accessed 02/08/2016)
- D.S.J., 'THE DUTCH GRAND PRIX: THAT BRABHAM AGAIN', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport Magazine, 01/09/1966), http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/september-1966/38/dutch-grand-prix, (Accessed 02/08/2016)
- 'Netherlands 1966: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1966/pays-bas/engages.aspx, (Accessed 02/08/2016)
- 'Netherlands 1966: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1966/pays-bas/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 03/08/2016)
- 'Netherlands 1966: Results', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1966/pays-bas/classement.aspx, (Accessed 03/08/2016)
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