Since Autosport launches the most recent episode in its own Race of My Life podcast show, we have a look back in a race where Phil Hill maintained the 1961 Formula 1 world championship – the 1961 Italian Grand Prix in Monza
Race: 1961 Italian GP, Monza
Car: Ferrari 156’Sharknose’
For the Italian Grand Prix, Ferrari entered an extremely complete group. Wolfgang von Trips, Richie Ginther and that I had the 120-level engines, Giancarlo Baghetti and Ricardo Rodriguez that the 65-level ones – Rodriguez was using a try-out together with the group.
He had been pretty damn fast, too – moment on the grid, alongside von Trips. There was a spare car for us.
The BRM V8 engine seemed for the first time also, and it Graham Hill was fastest of this non-Ferraris, even beating Baghetti to fifth on the grid. Stirling Moss at the Rob Walker Lotus and Jack Brabham at the Cooper both had Climax V8s, but equally also Appeared to Be struggling with overheating in clinic. Moss finally utilized the aged four-cylinder engine at the race, as did the BRM.
Coming to the race’Taffy’ von Trips and that I had a pretty even chance in the championship. He’d 33 points, I’d 29, and Stirling had 21. It had been one of those’in case… however’ situations.
I had had a dreadful, dreadful weekend that season. Right from the start that which was incorrect. On the very first day of training my own gearbox as screwed up – you would go first, next, then over to third and it would return to first.
It required me 20 moments to convince the powers-that-be this was really occurring. Eventually among the mechanisms needed to get in the vehicle to prove to himself that it had been. Anyhow, I’d no actual exercise that day.
I went deaf in my right ear for some odd reason, and following morning I had to hurry to downtown Milano to make it cured. You did not visit a physician for this type of thing there – you moved into a kind of massage parlour with a lot of nurses, among whom took a giant plunger plus some hot water and then taken it in my ear. I thought they did not understand what they were talking about – I had never heard of anything like this before!
Anyhow, back in Monza my car had been slow. This was the very first year of this 1.5-litre formulation, and you might measure how quickly the car was how quickly you moved across the banking – which banking was a known deal and of course you had been flat out all of the way around. As an instance, 58.1 moments was fast, 58.5s moderate – and my period was 59s.
“I moved and won the race, and also the other Ferraris went outside with valve springs. We did not understand von Trips was lifeless before after it was over” Phil Hill
I busted my tail trying to devote a quick lap, but was back to the next row someplace [fourth]. Even Ferrari arrived and I was not putting down my foot or something. The proof of this pudding me was that the item would not go around that ridiculous ring!
Hence the evening before the race I simply demanded they add a new engine – the first time I had actually been solid. When they shot the old engine they discovered a lot of valve springs.
What had happened was we had got rid of a few of those negative camber in the back brakes in clinic, place them up a bit looser, which place the rideheight up somewhat because we had been bottoming so poorly. That way too we had actually gained some pace, which was what was placing up the engine into the rate range where we had been breaking up valve springs. I received a brand new engine and we place a taller back axle ratio in the vehicle too.
At the race of class von Trips had this terrible injury on the next lap. Clark was sucked with us at the Ferraris, and he attempted to outbrake von Trips in the Parabolica. Von Trips moved and there was Clark under full braking, which meant he could not even more over the car, and all it required was a bit and von Trips was right there in a minute. It took off him.
I moved and won the raceand all of the other Ferraris went outside with valve springs. Though none broke prior to the race, the harm was done. We did not understand von Trips was lifeless till after it was over.
For me personally it was dreadful, very dreadful. I didn’t know what had been happening, I could not take it I’d won the race and the championship however, the incident took all of the pleasure from it.
Interview by Mike McCarthy, initially printed in Autosport, 26 May 1988