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The interval between guns and engines was filled with business. Stewart's managers lined up an endorsement deal with Rob Roy scotch, and between qualifying runs Jackie oversaw the application of the decal on the bonnet of his blue Matra. Rob's upraised claymore went well with the band of Royal Stewart tartan that adorns Jackie's helmet, but the old warrior might have been pained to learn that Jackie rarely drinks. Though not as pained as Jackie, who sipped a Pimm's Cup No. 1 at the Villa d'Este one night and promptly developed a sore left shoulder. "Must be a nerve I bruised somewhere," he said.
While Helen drifted through the blue night of Como, a Nicean bark among the rowboats, Jackie dined with Juan Manuel Fangio, a longtime hero of his, discussing a possible appearance in the Argentine at a race Fangio is organizing. Jackie also turned up at the Sporting Club of Monza to receive a driver of the year award. While he chatted in his super-cool way with the assembled guests, Rindt played game after savage game of Ping-Pong on the Club's sunken table, smashing his rivals as he hoped to smash Jackie on the following afternoon.
Race day at Monza once again brought rain, this time a steady, depressing drizzle that ended only an hour before starting time. The crowd—some 120,000—was as usual a Ferrari crowd, though the single red machine driven by Mexico's Pedro Rodriguez was barely competitive. Young men in gold-buttoned Renaissance shirts clustered around the pits, tape recording the engine noises and then rhapsodizing over the instant replay. Tough little Milanese kids circulated through the crowd, puffing on regular cigarettes with the same self-important smirk American kids devote to grass. Police in at least five kinds of uniforms strutted around Monza Park, ogling the birds and busting anyone who looked at them cross-eyed. From the pits came the glint of gold teeth and the flash of mineral-water bottles. The race itself was a whirligig of sound and color, with Stewart leading the pack for 59 of the 68 laps, and anyone who says he knows exactly what happened on any of those laps simply wasn't there. Monza isn't built that way, as Jackie would be the first to acknowledge.
"The lead changed fewer times than I thought it would," he said. "I think I lost it and got it back about seven times. I always made it a point to be in the lead when I could passing the grandstand. But I'd expected the lead to change more often. It's very difficult to break away at Monza—almost impossible on such a fast course. About a third of the way along, when Surtees went into the pits and came back out again just as we were passing the finish line, I thought I could get enough of a tow from him to break away, but John wasn't moving fast enough. All the way along, whenever I looked back, there were Jochen and Bruce sitting on my shoulders like vultures. But the real surprise was Jean-Pierre. At the end there he behaved like any normal, healthy young man who wants to win a motor race. He bloody near did, too."
One of these weeks Beltoise is bound to do it, if only because the day of the Matra seems to be dawning. Matra is a French missile company largely subsidized by the government, and automobiles—both Formula I and II chassis, plus sports prototypes and road cars—amount to only a tiny fraction of its total business. Like most Grand Prix cars today the Matras are powered by Cosworth-Ford engines made in England with the enthusiastic consent of the controlling American Ford Motor Co. (At Monza, only the sixth-place Ferrari and the Brabhams mounted their own power plants.) While France would prefer an all-French car, the Matra chassis is reason enough for jubilation. Not since the legendary Bugatti has that nation had a first-class Grand Prix contender.
In the moments after the race, Jochen Rindt was the saddest young Austrian in the world. He had finished in the points in only one of the season's seven previous races—a fourth at Silverstone—and now his machine had finally been ready. It wasn't ready enough. While Jackie and Helen were braving the mob with the victor's wreath around both their necks, Jochen was weaving his Lotus back to the garage, a filter-tipped cigarette pasted in the middle of his face, his right foot giving off mean, loud jabs on the accelerator.
"Well," said Jackie, "I've been unhappy, too. We do it to each other all the time in this business."