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60TH ANNIVERSARY: 1962 FRENCH GRAND PRIX

Today marks 60 years since the 1962 French Grand Prix, held at Rouen-Les-Essarts. It was held over 54 laps of the compact 6.542 km circuit for a race distance of just over 219 miles.

 

Credit: Motorsport Images

Due to a metalworkers’ strike in Italy, Ferrari was unable to take part in the race, which left the track open for Graham Hill, who was able not only to get away on the start line, but also managed to set a new lap record of 2:16.9 on lap 32. Ginther’s car, however, had refused to start, setting him a half lap back at the start, but as cars ahead of him all began to break he drove harder and harder.

Credit: Motorsport Images

As reported by llustrerad Motor Sport, Hill had pulled out a twenty-second lead ahead of Clark, but on the thirtieth lap he made contact with Jackie Lewis’ Cooper when lapping him, allowing Clark to pass. Hill gave chase, netting the lap record, and re-took the lead on lap 33. On the next lap, Clark had to stop with a broken front suspension. Hill and BRM looked sure to win, but on lap 42 he stopped in a hairpin with fuel injection and throttle linkage troubles; he lost several laps and ended up dead last after also having stopped in the hairpin to pick up the engine cover that he had left behind during his earlier visit there.

The final standings saw Ginther in 3rd, and Hill in 9th.

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