Hamilton and Moss take to the Monza banking

F1 pictures

Posted on

| Written by

Lewis Hamilton and Stirling Moss took to the historic banked Monza circuit in a pair of classic Mercedes racing cars last month.

The team was marking the upcoming 60th anniversary of its last race before withdrawing from F1 competition at the end of 1955. Their last race saw Moss finished second to team mate Juan Manuel Fangio in the Italian Grand Prix held on the 10-kilometre banked track, the pair driving Mercedes’ dominant W196 cars.

That year also saw Moss win Italy’s gruelling Mille Miglia road race at the wheel of a Mercedes 300 SLR. Example of both cars were driven by him and Hamilton at Monza.

“People try to compare modern day drivers to guys like Stirling but it’s just impossible,” said Hamilton. “What we do today is so different with all the electronic systems and so on. Back then, it was just raw machinery and raw drivers with balls of steel – they really were supermen.”

“Back then, they would set off for each race knowing there was a good chance they might not come back alive,” he added. “After driving this car I got only a sense of what that must have been like. I think mentally I might have been crazy enough to race with those guys.”

Mercedes pulled out of racing at the end of 1955 following the involvement of one of its cars in a crash at the Le Mans 24 Hours which killed over 80 spectators and the car’s driver, Pierre Levegh. Monza’s banked track was also used for the last time following an accident in which a car went into the crowd in 1961.

Pictures: Hamilton and Moss on the Monza banking

F1 pictures

View more F1 pictures

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

21 comments on “Hamilton and Moss take to the Monza banking”

  1. I caught the last half of the 1967 movie “Grand Prix” on the telly the other night and I was pleasantly surprised: the racing scenes were fantastic, you got a real feel for the cars. The racing around Monza’s banked circuit really was scary, where the bumps often exceeded the limits of the suspension travel and the cars were kicked sideways at 170mph. Thrilling and terrifying.

    1. Indeed and I particularly loved how insightful it was, or at least tried to be – the way it described the peculiarities of the old chicane-less Monza draft, the engineering issues with the banking as you mentioned, etc.

      Try catching the first half of it someday as well, because it has the other highlight of the film, the Monaco scene. It is as compelling, if not more compelling, than the Monza scene. Once again, as authentic as possible and very insightful too.

      1. The Monaco crash scene was totally awesome (no CG). And I was imagine if we could replace the main character with James Hunt when he argues with his BRM boss.

    2. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
      6th May 2015, 12:13

      @juan-fanger I saw it on Sunday, between all the silly off-track stuff are some remarkable scenes – the portrayal of Spa as the rain came down was stomach-churning, drivers of those days were a breed apart.

  2. They restored the banking?! last time I saw it it had all kinds of stuff growing between the concrete

    1. @fer-no65 Not restored, no, smothered in concrete. Seeing an iconic emblem of motorsport reduced to a skateboard park virtually reduced my to tears when I saw it first hand last year. And we were busy ranting about the run-off at Parabolica…

      1. @countrygent Its not concrete.

        Will Buxton spoke about it during last year’s GP2 coverage & said he was told that it was a coating of a special sealant which has elastic properties that will help preserve the banking, Its the same stuff they use on historical buildings, monuments etc… Apparently within a few years of weathering the color of the sealant will fade & it will look as it did before.

        It was deemed that if they simply left it as it was then it would eventually collapse, So they had to do something to try & preserve it & deemed what they did to be the best way.

        They did fill in the holes, cracks & improve the drainage on top of sealing the surface.

        1. Interesting! Thanks !

  3. I’m not jealous at all!

  4. If not for the several million pounds of Mercedes he would ruin, the end of his F1 career, a global media outcry and a likely prison sentence, I’m sure Hamilton wouldn’t mind ramming Moss over the top of the banking for the absurd and frankly aloof remark that his claim to a legendary status is somehow impaired by being a fan of contemporary music. Stirling has apparently bitterly come to the realization that history will remember Lewis’ name more admirably than his.

    1. No they won’t.

      1. Yes they will.

    2. BJ (@beejis60)
      6th May 2015, 13:41

      @countrygent this event happened about a week ago and Moss has been shooting off this mouth after this event happened.

    3. To be honest I think it’s just a generational difference. Today everyone (below a certain age perhaps) multitasks and can imagine various careers over their life-span. I can see how it must puzzle Sterling Moss that Hamilton doesn’t seem 100% dedicated to motor sport and takes music ‘seriously’ but perhaps he’s simply underestimating how someone Hamilton’s age can switch between sport and music, say, and not lose concentration over the former. Or maybe Hamilton is overestimating his ability to do so! Only the evidence so far this year contradicts that. I saw Sterling’s comments more as advice to help Hamilton focus, perhaps unnecessary, rather than any ill-feeling or jealousy, though it does have the unfortunate effect of making it sound like Hamilton is somehow a less serious driver. I’m sure he would have been racing alongside Sterling and co as he suggested – except, of course, he’d probably never have had the chance back then. The world changes.

      1. I’m not sure that’s really true, considering the driver he was praising as the second best driver he raced after Fangio here: http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/motor-racing/kevin-garside-sir-stirling-moss-brings-ghosts-of-formula-ones-glorious-past-vividly-back-to-life-10222678.html was studying to be a dentist for most of his early career, unless that is he thinks that Brooks could have achieved more if he’d been more single-minded. Interesting possibility.

    4. When you get to his age you can say pretty much whatever you want without being held accountable to be honest. At least he’s not still in control of a billion dollar business…

      1. @george – LOL when I read it! Then, 3 seconds later, more LOL when I understood it!

    5. Lewis Hamilton will never be in the same league as Stirling Moss. I bet even Lewis knows that.

  5. Repave, put up some SAFER and let’s go racing!

  6. i dont like seeing Hamilton wearing a hat driving a racing car, even if they are going slow, it does not sit well with me, it is wrong in this day and age.

  7. Michael Sumpster
    6th July 2015, 8:34

    Hamilton said “I love the sound of the V12, it’s my favourite”. The W196 is a straight eight!

Comments are closed.