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German Grand Prix 1969 at the Nurburgring

Submitted by on July 24, 2009

Here is some classic footage from the 1969 German Formula 1 Grand Prix. There is no commentary, just the beautiful sounds of three litre engines screaming at full noise.

German race organisers decided to allow entry for F2 cars to compete, as F1 grids were small in 1969. Things got off to a bad start during Friday practice when European Hillclimb Champion Gerhardt Mitter crashed his BMW F2 at Flugplatz and was killed. The other BMW F2 drivers withdrew as did his close friend Hans Herrmann, cutting the F2 field to 8 cars. Ferrari also withdrew its F1 entry at the last minute although this was not related to Mitter’s crash.

Qualifying saw Jacky Ickx driving the Brabham-Cosworth BT26A beating Jackie Stewart, the championship leader, to pole. Jack Brabham missed the event due to a broken ankle, but Mario Andretti made an appearance in the four-wheel drive Lotus 63, qualifying the troublesome machine in 15th.

So the scene was set for another nail-biting 14 lap journey around “Green Hell”. The team owners and wives on the pit wall must have been wondering if all the drivers would make it back alive after Friday’s tragedy.

Stewart got off to a great start, leading Jo Siffert and Jochen Rindt whilst Ickx got away poorly and fell back into the pack. On lap one, Andretti lost control of the Lotus and crashed. Unfortunately for Vic Elford, following in the McLaren, he collected a loose wheel from Andretti machine and speared off into the bushes landing upside down in the trees badly breaking his arm. In the video, there is a driver climbing out of a crashed car at 4min 08sec, which appears to be Piers Courage in the Williams-entered Brabham who crashed out on lap one.

Ickx soon got into a rhythm and closed up on Stewart, and passed him for the lead at half-race distance. Stewart clung to the back of the Brabham until gear selection problems slowed him, allowing Ickx to win comfortably by nearly a minute. Third was Bruce McLaren, followed by Graham Hill’s Lotus and the first of the F2 cars driven by Henri Pescarolo in the Matra Cosworth MS7 who claimed an impressive fifth from 17th on the grid.

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