100 F1 race winners part 3: 1959-1962

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Bruce McLaren in the car that bore his name in the 1966 Mexican Grand Prix

Part three of our look at Formula 1’s 100 Grand Prix winners. This part looks at the careers of champions such as Jack Brabham, Phill Hill and Graham Hill.

21. Jack Brabham

First win: 1959 Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo
Total wins: 14
Nationality: Australian

Jack Brabham was one of the greatest driver-engineers – if not the very best. He persevered with the rear-engined Cooper and drove it to consecutive championship titles in 1959 and 1960. After that, front-engined cars were history in F1.

After that he formed his own team and, in 1966, became the first and only driver to win the championship in his own car. Barbham had a remarkably long career through some of the sports’ most dangerous periods, and in his retirement year of 1970 he was still wining races.

Read more about Jack Brabham: Jack Brabham biography

22 Rodger Ward

First win: 1959 Indianapolis 500
Total wins: 1
Nationality: American

Ward was twice a winner of the Indy 500 but it only counted towards the F1 championship when he first won it in 1959, the other win following three years later.

23. Jo Bonnier

First win: 1959 Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort
Total wins: 1
Nationality: Swedish

Swede Bonnier started out as an ice racer and made his first F1 start at Monza in 1956. He ran is own Maserati in 1957-58 before joining BRM and scoring his maiden – and only – Grand Prix win in 1959.

Bonnier remained in F1 until 1971, racing for the Porsche works team for two years, then Cooper and McLaren before entering his own cars once again. Towards the end of his career he had fallen some way off the pace of the leaders but he played an important role in the development of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Assoication.

24. Bruce McLaren

First win: 1959 United States Grand Prix, Sebring
Total wins: 4
Nationality: New Zealander

Bruce McLaren would create one of the most famous and successful Formula 1 teams of all time. But he enjoyed many successes as a driver before losing his life in a Can-Am crash at Goodwood.

McLaren’s first victory came at his eighth attempt, in the one-off F1 race at Sebring in 1959. It made him the youngest winner of all time – a record that stood until Fernando Alonso won the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2003.

McLaren learned a lot from team mate Brabham at Cooper and formed Bruce McLaren Motor Racing in 1964. He entered cars in F1 using his own team from 1966, and in 1968 scored his only win in his own car, at Spa-Francorchamps. The same year he took a memorable win in the non-championship Race of Champions at Brands Hatch.

Jim Rathmann

First win: 1960 Indianapolis 500
Total wins: 1
Nationality: American

Jim Rathmann won the last Indianapolis 500 that counted towards the world drivers’ championship in 1960.

26. Phil Hill

First win: 1960 Italian Grand Prix, Monza
Total wins: 3
Nationality: American

Phil Hill won many races in large-engined sports cars so it was ironic that he should win the first F1 championship run to 1.5-litre engine specifications in 1961. He made his F1 debut at the wheel of one of Bonnier’s Maseratis in 1958 before Ferrari promoted him to their race team.

He scored his first victory at Monza in 1960 in dominant fashion with pole position and fastest lap. He was champion the following year scoring six podiums from seven starts, though the achievement was marred by the death of team mate (and title rival) Wolfgang von Trips at Monza.

Read more about Phil Hill: Phil Hill biography

27. Wolfgang von Trips

First win: 1961 Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort
Total wins: 2
Nationality: German

Von Trips spent most of his career with Ferrari and could have been Germany’s first world champion. His F1 career got off to a rocky start, failing to make the grid on his debut at Monza in 1956 after crashing in practice, then breaking his leg at the same venue two years later.

In 1961 he was in contention for the world championship with two wins and two second places, but his two engine failures meant he was trailing team mate Phil Hill. At the penultimate round at Monza von Trips crashed again, this time with terrible consequences. His car was launched into the crowd and he perished along with 14 spectators.

28. Giancarlo Baghetti

First win: 1961 French Grand Prix, Reims
Total wins: 1
Nationality: Italian

Italian Giancarlo Baghetti remains the only driver to have won his maiden F1 race (aside from the winner of the first ever world championship event, Giuseppe Farina). There was an element of fortune about Baghetti’s win, however, and he never ran at the front of a Grand Prix again.

Read more about Giancarlo Baghett’s win in the 1961 French Grand Prix

29. Innes Ireland

First win: 1961 United States Grand Prix
Total wins: 1
Nationality: British

Innes Ireland impressed Colin Chapman enough for the Lotus boss to give him an F1 drive in 1959. With the rear-engined Lotus 18 in 1960 he had a strong, though win-less, year.

The following year he was injured at Monaco but bounced back to win the season finale at Watkins Glen. Despite that he was dropped by Chapman and spent the rest of his career in lesser teams.

30. Graham Hill

First win: 1962 Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort
Total wins: 14
Nationality: British

Graham Hill’s career spanned 18 seasons from 1958-1975 and a then-record of 175 start – an impressive achievement in itself given how dangerous that cars were at the time.

Hill was with Lotus when they entered F1 in 1958 and bore the brunt of their unreliability for two years – finishing only four times. He moved to BRM and scored his first win at Zandvoort season opener in 1962, adding three more wins that year to claim the championship.

The next season began with his first of five victories at Monte-Carlo – a record that would stand until Ayrton Senna won his sixth in 1993. He lost the 1964 title at the final round in Mexico when he was hit by Lorenzo Bandini – the team mate of eventual champion John Surtees.

Hill was runner-up for a third consecutive season in 1965 and left BRM after his 1966 season was blighted by mechanical failures. Returning to Lotus, he helped the team bounce back from the shock death of Jim Clark in 1968 by winning the title for them that year.

After that final championship he only won once more, and gradually fell down the grid before forming his own team backed by Embassy. He retired in 1975 after failing to qualify for the 1975 Monaco Grand Prix. Tragically, Hill was killed when his light aircraft crashed in fog that November, along with his promising young driver Tony Brise and four team members.

Read more about Graham Hill: Graham Hill biography

This is part three of a ten-part series: join us tomorrow for part four. To make sure you don’t miss it you can subscribe to F1 Fanatic by RSS or email.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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5 comments on “100 F1 race winners part 3: 1959-1962”

  1. From my own memories of ’59 – ’62, I am surprised so many drivers that impressed me then won so few GP races (Phil HIll only 3? von Tripps only 2?). Brings to mind that old Maurice Chevalier tune: “Ah yes, I remember it well.”

  2. Nice to see Jo Bonnier getting some credit for his work with the GPDA. Although Jackie Stewart lead the fight to improve safety Bonnier was at his side and fighting every bit as hard at a time when even the drivers were against improving safety.

  3. the story of von Trips is horrible. Monza just wasn’t his track.

    Anybody know what were the consequences of von Trips crash at Monza. 14 spectators and a driver!

  4. Keith, just letting you know I’m really enjoying this series of articles. Keep it up and thanks :)

  5. Ed McDonough
    10th March 2010, 9:44

    Looking for photos of the 1962 US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen for a book.
    Ed McDonough edmcd@btopenworld.com

Comments are closed.