Video: British Grand Prix 1968
There were plenty of nerves at the start of the 1968 British Grand Prix, as the paddock was still reeling from the loss of Honda driver Jo Schlesser, who was killed at the previous GP in France.
The 1968 season had already seen four F1 drivers killed between April and July in a variety of racing machinery and British fans had lost both Jim Clark and Mike Spence. Much of the concern was due to the increasingly large rear wings the cars were running and what effect they might have in causing a “big one”.
British star Graham Hill arrived at Brands Hatch with a big lead in the World Championship and was an early favorite in the Lotus 49B, and his pace in qualifying backed it up.
Hill was fastest by half a second with Lotus team mate Jackie Oliver alongside him. Chris Amon completed the front row in his Ferrari. On the second row Jo Siffert (Rob Walker Lotus) lined up alongside Jochen Rindt‘s Brabham while the third row featured Dan Gurney (back in action after missing several races in his Eagle-Weslake because of engine problems), Jackie Stewart in Ken Tyrrell’s Matra-Ford and Jack Brabham’s Brabham.
There was light shower at the start and Oliver took the lead from Hill and Siffert. Oliver’s Lotus began to blow smoke and on the fourth lap he was overtaken by Hill. Despite the smoke trail Oliver hung onto second place.
On lap 27 lap a moan from the crowd signaled the retirement of Hill’s Lotus with a rear suspension failure and so Oliver inherited the lead.
Behind him a monumental battle was raging between Siffert and Chris Amon, but gradually the Swiss driver managed to pull away.
On lap 44 of the 80 lap event Oliver’s Lotus also expired, this time with transmission failure and so Jo Siffert was in the lead.
“Seppi” kept the hammer down and went on to win Rob Walker’s first victory in seven years. The Ferrari’s of Amon and Ickx came home second and third.