Graham Hill led precariously for six laps as Surtees and Gurney made big moves behind him. Then, as they completed the seventh lap, Surtees in his red racer had the barest advantage over Hill's green car and Gurney, acting like the jungle animal he is reputed to be, was snarling close behind Hill.
If only Clark had been among them...but say this for the little Scot: he drove as if he were, picking off stragglers with unbelievable rapidity.
Until the 18th lap, Gurney stayed with the top three. Then fuel starvation on the straights put him back a bit, and his fight was ended after 43 laps when his car's front suspension broke.
Meanwhile, Hill hounded Surtees and, on the 32nd lap, rousingly led him past the pits. He had already nudged ahead four or five times on the back part of the course—"A bit dicey, that was"—only to be quickly repassed. But suddenly, in the midst of the excitement, Hill's rear sway bar began to come adrift. It broke. The BRM's handling went just sour enough to take the closeness out of the duel. Surtees pulled nicely ahead. Hill's chances of winning seemed lost.
But—ah, the scythe of attrition was still swinging. It butchered—Surtees. Just when he looked untouchable, his engine expired. Surtees came into the pits, swallowed some soda, received a consoling look from his gorgeous brunette wife, who had kept vigil on the pit counter with stopwatch in hand, and reported that probably he had burned a piston.
It gives one the willies when the five or six original hotspurs in a race have been reduced to one or two. Could the general epidemic remove Hill? Many other cars were already out. Only eight of the 21 starters were to finish and, of those, several were clattering invalids.
Rumpled Tony Rudd stood worriedly in the BRM pit with huge stopwatches in both hands. Toward the end his cars were nothing less than first and second, Ginther trailing Hill by half a minute.
The scythe spared the BRMs. Hill took the checkered flag first, having averaged 109.91 mph, a record, and Ginther next—and then, as St. Andrew himself would not deny, it was Jim Clark third. Clark has often said that some of his best races are those in which he has had to try to overcome a staggering misfortune, and this was one to remember.
But how pleasant for Graham Hill, and how popular a victory. He won the world championship last year—and everyone said, "Oh, well, Jimmy was faster. He just had bad luck." But let no one believe that Hill was not then, and is not now, a brilliant and brilliantly tenacious racing driver. Everything has been hard for him. Not a natural talent like Clark, he has fought to perfect a winning style, starting out by actually paying for lessons in race driving.
He is also cool and articulate in any company. After sloshing some New York State champagne from a big silver trophy, he conceded that Surtees was "that shade quicker" when both cars were healthy. "I appeared to be a bit down on the speed I was able to manage in practice. But needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the day."