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GP Week : Issue 18
Motor racing is dangerous! FIFTY years ago my life completely changed. I watched my first Grand Prix, the 1958 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, and everything in my life changed. It was a wonderful occasion. I saw a wonderful race in which British Ferrari drivers finished 1-2, after Stirling Moss had retired in his Vanwall. The gentleman who made the public commentary was tired and emotional, and after a few laps was replaced by someone far more coherent. There were so many things to see and enjoy. Three years earlier I had been to Goodwood and seen my first motor race. Tantalisingly, I had to watch and listen from faraway public enclosures the sounds of machines like the 16 cylinder BRM, witness many long-forgotten drivers like Don Beauman and Mike Sparken and even saw an Australian called Jack Brabham demonstrate sideways motor racing in Britain for the first time. Silverstone in July 1958 however was the first time things pieced themselves together for me. This was the real thing. I wish I could have afforded to take a lot more films with me. I remember snapping Peter Collins and Mike Hawthorn chatting together behind the pits (right, above) – how many more times did they talk with each other in Britain? I snapped whatever I saw and cherished every single shot. For the next five years or so I watched as many of the important races in Britain as I could, learning the tricks of taking pictures and trying to find ways to remember everything that I saw. Before my life became swamped by other motoring priorities. The other day I was looking again at the pictures and realised there was something else unexpectedly special about Silverstone 1958 – I saw my first real rally car! It was a Triumph TR3A, registration number VRW223, with the exciting competition numbers 403 still on the sides. I had assumed at first that this number meant the car had competed in a Mille Miglia, but then they talked about this car on the pa system. It had been rushed back to Britain after winning a cup on the Coupe des Alpes. My parents wanted me to be a lawyer and I was shortly to go to University. On my arrival I found I was lodging with a someone who apparently did not shave and whose eyes were bloodshot on Monday mornings. It was my first encounter with a real rally man. He had arrived at university hot-foot from an all night rally in Wales. Within months I found that rallying was a true vocation and source of satisfaction, and Saturday nights were never the same again. I have always wondered why motorsport authorities word their safety warnings in the way they do. They always say Motor Racing is Dangerous. They should add that it could change your life. Silverstone in July 1958 certainly did change my world. It taught me so many tricks – like how to find insecure chestnut paling surrounding the paddock areas in faraway places like Crystal Palace, Snetterton, Oulton Park and Goodwood. It taught me how to stand self confidently so officials did not challenge my permission for being near Stirling Moss and his car, and it provided memories that I would never forget. You can never tell where things will end. 50 years later, it brought me to GPWEEK. Motor Racing is indeed dangerous in unpredictable ways! ... Pos # Driver Team Laps Time Grid 1 22 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 60 1:39:09.440 4 2 3 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 60 +68.5s 5 3 17 Rubens Barrichello Honda 60 +82.2s 16 4 1 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 59 +1 Lap 3 5 23 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 59 +1 Lap 1 6 5 Fernando Alonso Renault 59 +1 Lap 6 7 11 Jarno Trulli Toyota 59 +1 Lap 14 8 8 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 59 +1 Lap 15 9 7 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 59 +1 Lap 20 10 10 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 59 +1 Lap 2 11 14 Sebastien Bourdais STR-Ferrari 59 +1 Lap 13 12 12 Timo Glock Toyota 59 +1 Lap 12 13 2 Felipe Massa Ferrari 58 +2 Laps 9 Ret 4 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 39 Spin 10 Ret 16 Jenson Button Honda 38 Spin 17 Ret 6 Nelsinho Piquet Renault 35 Spin 7 Ret 21 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 26 Spin 19 Ret 20 Adrian Sutil Force India-Ferrari 10 Spin 18 Ret 15 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari 0 Spin 8 Ret 9 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 0 Spin 11 FORMULA 1 | Round 9 SILVERSTONE Points – Drivers: Massa 48, Raikkonen 48, Hamilton 48, Kubica 46, Heidfeld 36, Kovalainen 24, Trulli 20, Webber 18, Alonso 13, Barrichello 11. Manufacturers: Ferrari 96, BMW 82, McLaren-Mercedes 72, Toyota 25, Red Bull 24, Williams-Toyota 16, Renault 15, Honda 14. F1 BRITAIN >> MARTIN HOLMES Rallies Editor o p in io n 33