Hill's most thrilling Silverstone win
When it comes to Graham Hill and BRM’s title-winning year, it’s the excellent victories at Zandvoort, Nürburgring, Monza and East London that get all the plaudits, and rightly so, given that these all counted towards the 1962 Championship. But there’s little doubt Hill’s most thrilling win of the year came at the non-championship Daily Express International Trophy F1 event held at Silverstone in May. In this extract from Graham Hill Scrapbook 1929-1966, Graham recounts significant moments from the race.
‘The Daily Express May meeting at Silverstone was a damn good one. On the BRM we had been having a bit of trouble getting the exhaust pipe to pass through the suspension and so we were running on stub exhausts at this time. We had fitted them sticking up in the air and slightly slanting towards the rear. I could see them all in my mirrors, four on either side of the engine. In practise I broke the lap record made by a 2 ½-litre car and it looked as though I was the fastest. I was also racing a Jaguar E-type and a 3.8 saloon, so I was going to be fairly busy.
‘In the Formula 1 race, Jimmy Clark got a pretty good lead and I was lying about fourth having a bit of a ding-dong with Surtees and with Richie. Then Richie had a bit of a shunt. That left myself in front of Surtees and behind Jimmy who was about 25 seconds in the lead. Then I noticed that the exhaust note had changed and the engine began to feel a little bit flat. Looking in my mirror I suddenly saw that one of the stub exhausts was slightly out of line; then it disappeared altogether. I began to lose exhaust pipes one by one. On one side I was reduced to just two, and one of those was falling off; on the other side I had three left. I was losing pipes all round the track and losing power at the same time.
‘Anyway, it began to rain towards the end of the race and I began to catch Jimmy. By the last lap I was only two or three seconds behind and coming up fast. Going through Abbey I could see that I was really gaining on Jimmy and the finishing line at Silverstone is only just at the exit of the next corner, the very fast Woodcote Corner right in front of the grandstand.
‘I came up fairly fast approaching Woodcote and he obviously saw mw in his mirror. I was going to go through on the inside but as soon as he realised what I was up to, of course he shut the gate on me, which, incidentally, is exactly what I would have done. So I whipped the BRM round to the other side and went straight round the outside of him. Unfortunately, the track – it had stopped raining – was only dry on the proper line and I had to go right onto the wet. I crossed the finish line in a great big broad slide, all sideways on, and I pipped him by just about a car’s length or less. Of course, it was a fantastic finish and I must say one of the most thrilling finishes I’ve ever had. To beat Jimmy Clark and Lotus at the same time made it doubly a pleasure. I must say, even though I had won, I did feel a tiny bit sorry for Jimmy – it must have been very disappointing having had the race in the bag only to be pipped on the line.
‘And the exhaust pipes – I had just one left on the right-hand side, and two on the left; three out of eight. But it had been enough.’
Please click on the following link for more information on the Graham Hill Scrapbook.