The 1970 Monaco Grand Prix was the third race of the season, held on May 10. An otherwise processional race featured an exciting finish, when leader Jack Brabham overshot the final corner, allowing Jochen Rindt through to take a surprise victory.
The circuit remained unchanged, except for an increased complement of Armco barriers around the perimeter. Once again Monaco was using a "seeded driver" system, where 10 drivers, including all previous winners and world champions, were guaranteed spots in the race. With 21 entries, this meant that 11 drivers were scrambling for spots. An idea was kicked around where the 11 non-seeded drivers would compete in a qualifying race on Saturday, and the six top finishers would be guaranteed spots in the Grand Prix on Sunday. The plan collapsed when it was pointed out that drivers competing in a Grand Prix may not compete in another race within 24 hours. What finally happened was the 11 drivers had an extra half hour of practice on Saturday afternoon, but the times set in the extra session could not bump a seeded driver out of their spot on the grid.
- Brabham: No changes to the cars since Spain.
- BRM: While George Eaton's car was still in the classic BRM green and gold color scheme, the other two hand now been repainted in the white, gold and brown Yardley pattern. And the team had changed from Lucas to Marelli ignition.
- De Tomaso: No changes to the car since Spain.
- Ferrari: Jacky Ickx had a new spare car, and was using the old spare as the race car, as his old race car had been burned to a cinder in Spain.
- Lotus: The model 72s were having a lot of teething problems, so the team returned to the tried-and-true 49Cs for the race, and intended to spend the month after Monaco sorting the 72s. With the team using his rental chassis, Alex Soler-Roig was not entered for this race. Both of the works cars now had the same triple rear airfoil first seen on the 72s.
- March: No changes to the factory cars.
- Matra: Jean-Pierre Beltoise's car had new modified front hubs.
- McLaren: No changes to the cars since Spain.
The full entry list for the 1970 Monaco Grand Prix is outlined below:
As was traditional, only 16 cars would be allowed to start. 10 seeded drivers were guaranteed spots in the race, and with 21 entries, only the fastest six of the remaining 11 would qualify. As a concession to the 'other 11', an extra half hour of practice was held on Saturday afternoon, exclusively for the non-seeded cars.
As mentioned before, 10 drivers were seeded, guaranteeing them spots in the race. Those drivers were (alphabetically) Chris Amon, Jean-Pierre Beltoise, Jack Brabham, Graham Hill, Denny Hulme, Jacky Ickx, Jochen Rindt, Pedro Rodríguez, Jackie Stewart and John Surtees. This meant that Andrea de Adamich, Piers Courage, George Eaton, Bruce McLaren, John Miles, Jackie Oliver, Henri Pescarolo, Ronnie Peterson, Johnny Servoz-Gavin, Jo Siffert and Rolf Stommelen were battling for the six remaining spots.
Another Monaco tradition is having first practice on Thursday, and stretching things out over four days. The official qualifying record was set in 1969 by Amon at 1:25.8, but yet another weird Monaco rule required Stewart's pole time of 1:25.1 to be disregarded, as Stewart retired from the race. But on Thursday, it was Stewart setting the pace again, beating his old time by a full second at 1:24.1. Again Amon was hot on his heels with a 1:24.6, but he then made a mistake at Mirabeau, and damaged the monocoque and suspension. Other problems included Siffert having a down-on-power engine, and Oliver's gearbox breaking. Friday's practice was in the early morning, and heavy rain meant no one improved their times. The fastest lap was Stewart with a 1:37.1.
On Saturday afternoon, the weather was cold, but dry. Stewart went out early on, and lowered his time to 1:24.0, which would hold up for pole. Two drivers who were in trouble were Hill, who crashed his 49C at the approach to the Casino (not a normal place to go off), and Servoz-Gavin, who had a hard crash at the chicane. Since Hill was a seeded driver, his only concern was whether the car would be repaired by race time. But Servoz-Gavin scrambled to get the spare car ready, as it had been adjusted to fit Stewart.
The extra half hour session was without incident, but featured a lot of hard driving, including a startling lap from Siffert at 1:24.6, and other good ones from Courage (1:25.3) and Oliver (1:25.8). Pescarolo had some issues with his fuel system, so he took Beltoise's car out for a while, but wasn't really concerned, as he was the fastest of the non-seeded drivers before the session, at 1:25.7. Poor Servoz-Gavin was having a great deal of trouble with the shift linkage in the spare Tyrrell March, and since his time was based on strictly laps run in that car, he would end up slowest of all. The six non-seeded drivers to advance were Pescarolo, Siffert, Courage, McLaren, Oliver and Peterson. Since Miles was one of the non-qualifiers, Hill was allowed to borrow the car from the factory team, and overnight the body was repainted and the chassis set up for him. At the same time, Colin Chapman was heard ranting to the press about what he believed was a lack of effort on the part of Miles. Due to no laps being run in this car, Hill would have to line up at the back of the grid.
Unfortunately the records from that extra session are incomplete.
|7||9||Henri Pescarolo||Matra||1:25.7 (1:26.6)||+1.7 (+2.6)|
|9||24||Piers Courage||De Tomaso-Ford||1:26.1 (1:25.3)||+2.1 (+1.3)|
|11||19||Jo Siffert||March-Ford||1:26.2 (1:24.6)||+2.2 (+0.6)|
|13||23||Ronnie Peterson||March-Ford||1:26.8 (1:26.2)||+2.8 (+2.2)|
|15||16||Jackie Oliver||BRM||1:27.5 (1:25.8)||+3.5 (+1.8)|
|DNQ||10||Andrea de Adamich||McLaren-Alfa Romeo||1:26.3||+2.3|
The cars were unable to do a warmup lap before the start, as Prince Rainier was driving the course in his GT Maserati. Instead they just queued up on the dummy grid, then when the track was clear, they rolled forward to the actual grid. At the start, Stewart was off like a shot. Amon made a good start, but was more than a car length behind at Ste. Devote. For once there were no first lap incidents, and at the stripe it was Stewart, Amon, Brabham, Ickx, Beltoise, Hulme, Rindt and Pescarolo. On lap 2, Beltoise got past Ickx, and on lap 3, Rodríguez came in with his throttle jammed open. By the time he rejoined the race, he was two laps down. By lap 10 Stewart was five seconds clear, and no one looked to be able to catch him. On lap 12 Ickx rolled to a stop with a broken U-joint, and on lap 15, Surtees parked at the pits with low oil pressure. Not long after that, McLaren made a mistake at the chicane, and he had to pull out with his suspension broken, and Pescarolo got past Rindt.
By lap 20, Stewart's lead was 20 seconds, and Brabham had closed up behind Amon. Beltoise was losing ground with final drive trouble. and soon after being passed by Hulme he also parked his car. On lap 22, Brabham managed to squeeze past Amon, but Stewart was 25 seconds up the road. That changed rather suddenly on lap 26, when Stewart stopped at the pits to have his rough sounding engine looked after. After changing several electrical components he rejoined, but now he was 12th and last, three laps down. Around the time that Rindt re-passed Pescarolo, Courage came in with the rack-and-pinion seizing up, which gave him several exciting moments. He hopped out of the car, assuming that he had retired, but the mechanics effected repairs, and he rejoined the race, now 22 laps down.
Lap 40 and the order on the lead lap was Brabham, two seconds ahead of Amon, then Hulme, Rindt, Pescarolo and Siffert. One lap down were Peterson, Surtees, Oliver and Hill, with Rodríguez two laps down and Stewart three. On lap 43, Oliver's engine blew up in a big way, and then Siffert started moving up the order, passing Pescarolo and Hulme (who had lost first gear). Stewart's engine was losing power, and eventually he just gave up. On lap 61, Amon lost a bolt in the read suspension between the chicane and Tabac. The car went all over the place before he managed to stop it without hitting anything. Brabham now had a 12 second lead, but the race was starting to get interesting. Rindt started picking up the pace, and both he and Siffert were within striking distance with 10 laps to go. But Siffert's hope were soon dashed when his throttle started sticking closed, causing him to slow way down. This had an effect on the race, when a few laps later when Siffert was reaching down, trying to free it, he unintentionally balked Brabham, and caused him to lose several seconds.
The last lap started with Brabham holding a four car length lead on Rindt, and it seemed like the Lotus driver's charge was too little, too late. but just as he was coming up on the Gazometre hairpin he caught up with Courage. Rather than just taking the normal line around the corner behind the De Tomaso, he cut the inside (dirty) side of the track, and left his braking very late, to keep Rindt from trying to outbrake him. What then happened was Brabham's brakes completely locked up on the marbles, and he went straight across the track to hit the tire barrier. Rindt and the Lotus team could not believe their good fortune as he sailed across the line for a completely unexpected victory. A crestfallen Brabham managed to extricate himself, and come over the line in second, 33 seconds later. Pescarolo was another 30 seconds back, and Hulme had been just short of a lap down in fourth. Hill never passed another car on the track, but kept his nose clean and was rewarded with fifth, a lap down. Rodríguez had driven as hard as anyone on the track after his long early stop, and after passing Peterson late in the race, was rewarded with a point for sixth. Peterson came close to scoring a point in his debut, and Siffert finally wound up in eighth, four laps down. The only other car on the track was Courage, many laps down.
|5||1||Graham Hill||Lotus-Ford||79||+1 Lap||16||2|
|6||17||Pedro Rodríguez||BRM||78||+2 Laps||15||1|
|7||23||Ronnie Peterson||March-Ford||78||+2 Laps||12|
|8||19||Jo Siffert||March-Ford||76||+4 Laps||11|
|NC||24||Piers Courage||De Tomaso-Ford||58||+22 Laps||9|
|Ret||14||John Surtees||McLaren-Ford||14||Oil pressure||13|
Standings after race
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