1963 United States Grand Prix

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United States  1963 United States Grand Prix
Race details
Race 8 of 10 in the 1963 Formula One season
Watkins Glen International Track Map-1960-1970.svg
Date October 6, 1963
Official name VI United States Grand Prix
Location Watkins Glen Grand Prix Race Course
Watkins Glen, New York
Course Permanent road course
3.701 km (2.30 mi)
Distance 110 laps, 407.11 km (252.97 mi)
Weather Sunny
Pole position
Driver United Kingdom Graham Hill BRM
Time 1:13.4
Fastest lap
Driver United Kingdom Jim Clark Lotus-Climax
Time 1:14.5 on lap 50
Podium
First United Kingdom Graham Hill BRM
Second United States Richie Ginther BRM
Third United Kingdom Jim Clark Lotus-Climax

The 1963 United States Grand Prix was a Formula One race held on October 6, 1963 at the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Race Course in Watkins Glen, New York.


Summary[edit]

By the time the teams – including Ferrari for the first time at Watkins Glen – came to America, Jim Clark had wrapped up the Driver's Championship with five wins in seven races. At The Glen, however, the day belonged to Graham Hill and BRM, as Hill started from the pole and won by more than half a minute over American teammate Richie Ginther. Hill owed much of his success to Clark's dead battery on the dummy grid (used for the first time in F1), and the failure of John Surtees' Ferrari engine while leading with 30 laps to go.

In the first hour of qualifying on Friday, Clark's Lotus equalled his lap record of 1:15.0 from the previous year. Hill and Surtees were right on the Scot's pace, as well, and all three were soon under 1:14. At one point, Hill's BRM jumped out of gear on the back straight and left the track, skipping through the woods without hitting any trees, but at the end of the session, he was fastest at 1:13.4. Jack Brabham was glad just to be at the circuit, after he was unable to find a rental car or a taxi at the airport in Elmira, twenty miles (32 km) away, and ended up hitchhiking to the track with his baggage and racing gear!

On Saturday, Canadian Peter Broeker's Stebro (running a four-cylinder Ford with 110 horsepower (82 kW) compared to almost 200 for the Climax and BRM V8's) dumped oil all around the circuit. The session was stopped for 30 minutes to clean up, but conditions were never again good enough for anyone to better their Friday times, so the top six were Graham Hill, Clark, Surtees, Ginther, and the Brabhams of Sir Jack and Dan Gurney. In addition to Ginther and Gurney, the grid contained five other Americans – Masten Gregory, Phil Hill, Jim Hall, Hap Sharp and Rodger Ward – the most ever in a Formula One field, as well as Mexican Pedro Rodríguez, who was making his Formula One debut.

Race day was bright and clear with a record crowd of nearly 60,000. A dummy grid was used for the first time in a Championship Grand Prix, and when the field moved forward to the starting grid, Clark's Lotus remained still. At the flag, Hill led Ginther, Surtees, Gurney, Tony Maggs, Gregory and Brabham up the hill and through the Esses. The Lotus crew discovered that Clark's battery was dead, and by the time they replaced it, Broeker's Stebro, trailing the field, was already into his second lap.

Surtees made the first move, getting by Ginther to split the BRM's, and then, on lap seven, taking the lead from Hill. Gurney followed him and took second briefly, before surrendering the spot back to Hill. By lap 15, Clark was up into 14th place with his engine still not sounding entirely right.

Hill began pushing Surtees on lap 30. He got by to take the lead after shadowing for two laps, gave it back, took it again two laps later, and finally surrendered it again, settling into the Ferrari's slipstream. On lap 43, Gurney suddenly slowed and then retired from third place with fuel starvation and a chassis failure, moving Clark up to seventh.

After trailing Surtees closely for some time, Hill lost his tow when his anti-roll bar came loose and the BRM's handling changed abruptly. Fighting severe understeer, he began throwing the car into turns to slide the rear end around, flinging stones off the curbs and losing ground to the leading Ferrari. On lap 82, with no threat to his lead, Surtees' engine lost power, and he cruised into the pits to retire. "I was just hanging on to him," Hill said afterward. "He's a very tricky driver. He was gaining a half-second each lap on me until he went out. I think it was a good measure of the difference in our two cars." Suddenly in the lead again, with only Ginther on the same lap, Hill backed off and set his sights on bringing the car home.

The Englishman drove under the flag 34 seconds ahead of teammate Ginther, repeating BRM's season-opening sweep at Monaco. New World Champion Clark took the final podium spot when he overtook Brabham, whose engine had been misfiring for much of the race. It was Hill's first American win, but one that he would repeat in 1964 and 1965.

Classification[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 1 United Kingdom Graham Hill BRM 110 2:19:22.1 1 9
2 2 United States Richie Ginther BRM 110 + 34.3 4 6
3 8 United Kingdom Jim Clark Lotus-Climax 109 + 1 lap 2 4
4 5 Australia Jack Brabham Brabham-Climax 108 + 2 laps 5 3
5 24 Italy Lorenzo Bandini Ferrari 106 + 4 laps 9 2
6 12 Netherlands Carel Godin de Beaufort Porsche 99 + 11 laps 19 1
7 21 Canada Peter Broeker Stebro-Ford 88 + 22 laps 21
8 11 Sweden Jo Bonnier Cooper-Climax 85 + 25 laps 12
9 23 United Kingdom John Surtees Ferrari 82 Engine 3
10 16 United States Jim Hall Lotus-BRM 76 Gearbox 16
11 3 New Zealand Bruce McLaren Cooper-Climax 74 Fuel pump 11
Ret 14 Switzerland Jo Siffert Lotus-BRM 56 Gearbox 14
Ret 4 South Africa Tony Maggs Cooper-Climax 44 Ignition 10
Ret 18 United States Rodger Ward Lotus-BRM 44 Gearbox 17
Ret 6 United States Dan Gurney Brabham-Climax 42 Chassis 6
Ret 10 Mexico Pedro Rodríguez Lotus-Climax 36 Engine 13
Ret 9 United Kingdom Trevor Taylor Lotus-Climax 24 Electrical 7
Ret 17 United States Masten Gregory Lola-Climax 14 Engine 8
Ret 22 United States Hap Sharp Lotus-BRM 6 Retirement 18
Ret 25 United States Phil Hill ATS 4 Oil pump 15
Ret 26 Italy Giancarlo Baghetti ATS 0 Oil Pump 20
WD 7 United States Walt Hansgen Lotus-Climax
WD 15 United Kingdom Innes Ireland Lotus-BRM Driver injured
WD 19 Canada Ernie de Vos Stebro-Ford No car

Championship standings after the race[edit]

  • Notes: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings. Only the best 6 results counted towards the Championship. Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.


Previous race:
1963 Italian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1963 season
Next race:
1963 Mexican Grand Prix
Previous race:
1962 United States Grand Prix
United States Grand Prix Next race:
1964 United States Grand Prix

References[edit]

  • Doug Nye (1978). The United States Grand Prix and Grand Prize Races, 1908-1977. B. T. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-1263-1
  • Dean Batchelor (January, 1964). "Grand Prix of the United States". Road & Track, 50-55.
  • "The Formula One Record Book", John Thompson, 1974.