The XXIX Italian Grand Prix, the penultimate round of the Drivers’ World Championship, which will be held on Sunday in Monza, happens at the moment of the most acute crisis of Italian motor racing. Driver crisis, evidently, since the racing cars are still and always the best or among the best. Other times, the crisis has been of a technical nature, and therefore easier to overcome: the machine is built, improved, replaced. Man is not. One can also become a runner (hardly through driving schools), but most often one is born as such. In Italy, there has always been a tradition of steering aces, from Lancia to Nazzaro, from Bordino to Salamano to Antonio Ascari, from Campari to Brilli Peri, to Nuvolari, Varzi, Farina, Trossi, Taruffi, Alberto Ascari, up to Castellotti and Luigi Musso, the last two drivers who ensured the continuity of this tradition. Now there is emptiness. Young runners, undoubtedly gifted, are coming out of the great mass of practitioners; there are few, but they are there. However, the limits and the real possibilities are still not known. Nor can one claim humanly, to know what these limits are, to send them into disarray. Only Maria Teresa De Filippis, Gerino Gerini and Giulio Cabianca were announced in Monza, among the twenty and more participants in the Grand Prix. The valiant woman driver is at the first experiences in Formula 1, Gerini owns a car model 57 (it is known that racing cars grow old soon...) and Cabianca will debut in Formula 1. No one, therefore, has a specific experience and, barring surprises, it is as desirable as unfortunately difficult to fight for the win. It is hard to say if the situation will be resolved quickly. Even with the disappearance of Ascari and the withdrawal of Farina, three years ago, there was talk of a crisis. Immediately, Castellotti and Musso bravely took their place, but both already had a certain experience and, above all, they managed to assimilate the school of the great drivers who preceded them. At the moment, therefore, there are not too optimistic prospects. The Grand Prix of Italy, for the first time in twenty-nine editions of the most important national race, may not see the affirmation of an Italian driver.
Luckily, despite this the situation in the field of mechanical vehicles is different after the withdrawal of Maserati from direct competitive activity, remained only Ferrari, despite the last serious misfortunes, to support the offensive against the British manufacturers, who, after thirty-five years of vain attempts, in the last five years they have managed to make machines that can win Grands Prix and now to bring their drivers close the world title. Before 1957, the last all-English victory was obtained in 1924 by Henry Segrave (who was also the holder of the world speed record), who established himself in San Sebastian, in the Spanish Grand Prix, at the wheel of the Sunbeam, a car strangely resembling the Fiat Grand Prix of '22 (one of the designers, Bertarione, came from the racing department of the Turin company, of which at that time the engineer Tranquillo Zerbi was technical director). To conclude, the British manufacturers and drivers seem to be about to take on the role that until yesterday was held by the Italians (with intervals of German dominance). The Italian defence must now limit itself to the field of the cars, and the race on Sunday in Monza summarises in this respect its fundamental reason in the comparison between the Ferraris on one side, the Vanwall and the B.R.M. may not provoke the thought that the possibilities of the Scuderia Ferrari are entrusted to foreign hands and hearts (indeed, almost exclusively to an Englishman: Mike Hawthorn), but the situation must be accepted as it is. As for the World title, it is now a matter of the British drivers Hawthorn and Moss. It is not sure that it is Monza to decide, but this penultimate clash between the two claimants to the succession to Fangio will still have a great interest for fans, precisely because it is closely linked to the Ferrari-Vanwall confrontation. The fundamental reason for the XXIX Italian Grand Prix - needless to say - is the double comparison between Ferrari and Vanwall for the seasonal superiority of the car, and between Hawthorn and Moss, respectively first drives of the Italian and the English team, for the conquest of the drivers’ world championship, of which the next will be the penultimate round. The two elements - technical and sporting - evidently intertwine to merge into one, by simple law of interdependence. So far, Vanwall has won four times, against only two wins by Ferrari (the other two claims are by Cooper, a stunning English car): the figures speak for the London car; a little less of an analysis of the events and individual episodes that have so far characterised the long struggle.
The Italian car has in fact almost always given the impression of a superior overall efficiency, even if only at Reims and Silverstone it was supported by positive results. But, above all, the Modena factory has lost, fallen on the tracks, two of its best drivers, with the consequence of having to defend themselves with the remaining forces instead of being able to attack the compact British formation. Besides the value of men and the possibility of mechanical means, in motor racing it is necessary to prepare a race tactic that only the full availability of forces can allow. However, the result seems very open. At Monza, Ferrari brings four different single-seater configurations: Hawthorn is entrusted with the 246 model with a 2417 cc engine and 290 horsepower, but the big novelty is the Dunlop disc brakes, mounted for the first time on an Italian car (taken from the car of the late Peter Collins, who had them mounted on his 250 GT), which guarantee greater efficiency and a reduced weight of three pounds per wheel. Trips instead drives the Ferrari 256 of 2451 cubic centimetres and 320 HP, while Gendebien boasts a car with rear Koni type telescopic suspensions. Phil Hill, instead, has a new type of drum brakes, lightened in weight, and Houdaille shock absorbers. Ferrari aims for triumph in the Italian Grand Prix, considering, however, one very important variable: the Englebert tyres with reduced section mounted on the four single-seaters. After the Portuguese Grand Prix, Ferrari had time to complete development work on a new version of the V6 engine that was the Dino 256. The normal Dino engine has a bore and a stroke of 85x71 mm, and a displacement of 2417 cc, while the new one has the size of the cylinder equal to 85x72 millimetres, one millimetre longer in the stroke, bringing the displacement to 2451 cc. This is identified with number 256. All four cars are equipped with Perspex covers on carburetors that extend far forward to an air intake in the front protected by a metal mesh screen. For the race, three cars will use the 246 engine, leaving only one car the task of testing the new engine 256. The Vanwall team has four cars, the same used in Portugal, since the equipment had been brought to Monza without returning to Great Britain, except for the engines that have been overhauled. During the first practices, a car is equipped with a curious Perspex cover, which wraps the cockpit around the driver’s head. Fixing is done from inside the cockpit by means of stops, leaving a small opening through which the pilot can look without his vision being distorted by the Perspex.
At Monza, Team Lotus brought two cars, one from 1958 and one from 1957, which temporarily replaced the car demolished in Portugal. The 1958 car was slightly modified on the hood, giving the driver more room to manoeuvre, and fitted with a 2.2-liter engine, while the old car is equipped with a 2-litre engine for testing and a 1500 cc engine for the race. Cooper brings his two regular Formula 1 cars, although the Salvadori one runs without the upper transverse arms in the rear because this gives more oversteer than the double swing arm layout, and the driver prefers it so. The Walker Team has two cars, a 1958 Cooper with a 2.2-litre engine and another 1957 car with a 2-litre engine; the 1958 car will be used in the race. In view of the high speeds of Monza, this car is equipped with a special high gear, produced by Pippbrook Garage. The Scuderia Temple Buell, which can be considered the official Maserati team, has two cars from 1958, although only one will be used in the race. Built, prepared and maintained by the Modena company, it is a real Maserati team, with the difference that Buell pays and chooses the drivers and takes care of the organisation, while the Maserati engineers and mechanics take care of the cars. The second car is fitted with Houdaille shock absorbers at the front and telescopic at the rear, while the first is equipped with Houdaille shock absorbers at the front and rear. In other respects, these two cars are identical, being the last 250F with six cylinders shortened and lightened, and are painted with the American colours, blue and white. To complete the list of cars, five other Maserati, all old: Bonnier lends the car driven by Godia to Cabianca, and the one driven by Scarlatti to Herrmann, while Maria-Teresa De Filippis does repair her car after the accident in Portugal. The Scuderia Centro-Sud car breaks down during practice, so the mechanics will have to quickly borrow another car from the factory, this being the one driven at the beginning of the season by the late Keith Campbell. In the first official tests, held Friday, September 5, 1958, characterised by a very hot weather, the officers of the Automobile Club of Milan enter the usual state of excitement, helped and encouraged by the Italian police and, in the confusion that becomes part of the Monza show, practice begins at 3:30 p.m., thirty minutes late. The Vanwalls (which mount a new oil cooler) are slightly faster than the Ferraris, but, apart from the relative reliability of these exploits for a thorough evaluation of the possibilities of mechanical vehicles.
The difference in timing is little more than a nuance. It will be seen in the race if this slight speed superiority of the cars with English four-cylinder engine will be confirmed or not. First, however, the drivers entered in the XXIX Italian Grand Prix will finish the official practice, providing some further reliable indication of the real relationships and maybe it will be revealed which, between the rival cars Ferrari and Vanwall, will be faster, and if even the B.R.M., potentially on the level of efficiency of the former, may aspire in the Sunday race to a role not only of an extra. It is expected, however, based on the times achieved by the best, that in the race,the average speed of 200 km/h will be approached. In this regard, it should be pointed out that the race will be held - as in 1957 - not on the complete ten-kilometre course including the high-speed loop, but only on the road course. In Monza, Luigi Musso and Peter Collins, fallen in the height of their rise, and Juan Manuel Fangio, outgoing World Champion and wise administrator of the victory won on the slopes of each country, will unfortunately miss. Senior career racers and young runners, consecrated aces and others who aspire to join them at the top of the value scale will compete in the Grand Prix. Surprisingly, there is instead Enzo Ferrari, who stops in Monza for the only day on Friday. There will be, for starters, Stirling Moss, number one in Vanwall and currently second in the world ranking, but without a doubt the most complete of the aces in the race. There will be Mike Hawthorn, to whom Ferrari fans trust the hopes of a victory at least half Italian. Then Tony Brooks, the young London dentist who, with the two victories of Spa and Nurburgring, entered the elite of the champions, Jean Behra, generous as well as unlucky driver who has been chasing the great victory for years, and Wolfgang Von Trips, the German aristocrat to whom the disappearance of Musso and Collins left a heavy responsibility. On the number one car the Dunlop disc brakes had been acquired from the 250GT Ferrari that used to belong to the late Peter Collins, he having had them fitted himself. There was no connection between Dunlops and Ferrari, though a fitter was loaned to Maranello to help with the assembly. The fitting of these disc brakes meant rebuilding the Ferrari wire-spoke wheels with the spokes set to the outside of the rim in order to give clearance for the caliper.
The other three cars had transverse turbo-finned drums as used in the past but instead of the whole drum being of cast-iron they were now hi-metal, of alloy with a steel liner. The experimental Monza car had revised rear springs, much longer and being mounted on a bracket that extended from below the de Dion tube. All four cars were fitted with Perspex covers over the carburetters extending far forward to an air intake at the front protected by a wire mesh screen. For the race three cars used the 246 engine and one car a new 256 engine. Team Lotus had two cars, one 1958 and one 1957, the old one temporarily replacing the car written-off in Portugal. The 1958 car had been modified about the scuttle slightly, giving the driver more elbow-room and had a 2.2-litre engine, while the old car was fitted with a 2-litre engine for practice and a 1.500cc engine for the race. Cooper had their two regular F1 cars though Salvadori’s was running with no top wishbones at the rear as this gave more oversteer than the double-wishbone layout and the driver preferred it like that. The Walker team had two cars with them, a 1958 Cooper with 2.2-litre engine and a 1957 car with 2-litre engine, the 1958 car being used in the race. In view of the high speeds at Monza this car was fitted with a special high top gear manufactured by Pippbrook Garage. The Scuderia Temple Buell, which can be considered the works Maserati team had two 1958 cars though only one was used in the race. Built, prepared and maintained by the Modena firm it was really a works Maserati effort except that Buell was paying and choosing the drivers and handling the organisation, Maserati engineers and mechanics looking after the cars. One car was the one driven by Shelby at Portugal, this actually being the one raced at Monza, and the second car was brand new, these two being 2.533 and 2.534, respectively, following on the sequence of numbering of 250F Maseratis. The latest car had Houdaille shock-absorbers at the front and telescopics at the rear, the other car having Houdaille all round. In other respects these two cars were identical, being the latest shortened and lightened six-cylinder 250 F mode’s, and were painted in the American, colours of blue and white.
To complete the list of cars were five more Maseratis, all old ones, Bonnier lending his ex-Godia car to Cabianca and his ex-Scarlatti car to Herrmann, while Maria-Therese de Filippis had her car repaired after her Portugal crash and the Scuderia Centro Sud entered one of their own Cars and Gerini’s car, this latter being fitted with a new body with a Vanwall-like tail. The Centro-Sud teams own car broke in practice so they hurriedly borrowed another car from the factory, this being the one raced earlier in the season by the late Keith Campbell, but it was very much a question of starting money for the car was not in race-worthy condition. On Friday afternoon, under a hot sun, the Automobile Club of Milano officials get into their usual excited state, aided and abetted by the Italian police and, amid the usual confusion that has become part of the Monza scene, practice gets under way at 3:30 p.m., 30 minutes late. Behra is first away in a B.R.M. and soon Hawthorn and von Trips are following, both having the enlarged Dino 256 engines, the English driver’s car having disc brakes. One car after another go away from the pits, Salvadori, Trintignant, Moss with the first of the Vanwalls, Phil Hill having his first F1 drive for Ferrari, Gendebien in the experimental Ferrari, Cabianca having his first go in a F1 car, Graham Hill in the cigar-shaped 1958 Lotus, and so on. Soon, the track is full of activity and the Ferraris are going round in 1'45"0 and Behra and Moss in 1'46"0. Bonnier has a go in one of his own Maseratis before trying a B.R.M. and Gregory is out in the new Maserati, his first appearance since his Silverstone crash in the Lister-Jaguar. Behra is trying all three BRMs at various times and there is so much activity that traffic conditions prevent anyone making any meteoric laps, so almost as though someone has given a signal, there is a lull after 30 minutes and Brabham is left circulating on his own, but not for long, as Schell appears with the number two B.R.M. and Moss goes out again in his Vanwall. Once again, there is a rush as everyone seems afraid that someone fast is going to have a clear track; Gregory goes out and begins trying really hard through the corners, Phil Hill is really getting the hang of F1 car driving, and at long last, Lewis-Evans is let out. Moss is getting below 1'43"0 and Lewis-Evans is not far off, while Hill is keeping up with them, but the B.R.M.s of Behra and Bonnier are sticking at around 1'45"0.
The aim is to get below 1'42"0 as, last year, Lewis-Evans has done 1'42"4, and whereas 1'50"0 has been a reasonable time last year, it is now obvious that 1'45"0 is to be a minimum, anything over that being left behind. Since last year, the long fast bend after the pits straight has been resurfaced and some bumps removed, but whether this is an advantage or not seems open to question among the drivers. There is a hint of a discussion as to whether Shelby is driving for Buell or Centro-Sud, but in the meantime he goes out in the second Buell Maserati, the one that he drove in Portugal, and then Moss fits the bubble top to his Vanwall and goes out. It proves highly successful from the driver’s viewpoint but its speed advantage seems doubtful, even though the Vanwall is going well with or without its top. Shortly after 5:00 p.m., there is another lull and a lone Maserati is left circulating, this being Bonnier’s old car with his Swedish friend Norrinder driving it. Having been testing the Vanwall the previous day, Brooks does not go out until near the end of practice and is soon down below 1'43"0, and does a final 1'42"0, which leaves him with FTD, Moss being unable to retaliate as he has broken his engine when he misses a gear-change. Gregory is trying very hard, doing some real Fangio stuff in the Lesmo corners. but the new Maserati is down on maximum speed and the brakes are not happy, so that Gregory’s times are down amongst the baby-cars, of which Allison is the fastest at 1'47"8, but his practice has been stopped when a big-end bolt broke and the rod tied itself in a knot and comes out through the side of the crankcase. The afternoon finishes with Brooks fastest, ahead of Moss, Phil Hill, Lewis-Evans, Hawthorn and von Trips, the German driver having done 1'44"0, and all the remaining runners taking longer than 1'45"0. It is obvious that Vanwalls are in form, but the surprise of the day has been the young American driver Phil Hill, and even Enzo Ferrari, who is in the pits, must have realised that he has been hampering this promising driver for long enough, keeping him locked under contract to waste his time on sports cars. Next day practice, Saturday, September 6, 1958, starts amidst the same confusion but this time promptly at 3:00 p.m., and there are sonic changes to be seen.
Ferraris have replaced the Dino 256 engine by a 246 in Hawthorn’s car and all four cars have the metal bulges over the down-draught carburettors replaced by Perspex ones. Vanwalls have abandoned the bubbletop, removing the additional skin from the tail and fitted a new engine to the car, B.R.M. have four cars at the pits and Rob Walker has two. Both Buell Maseratis are numbered 32 as Shelby has to drive a Centro-Sud Maserati, so Gregory can choose between the two 1958 cars. Almost as soon as the track is opened, Phil Hill, von Trips and Behra are away, and then everyone is thrashing round, some fast and some slow, and the Vanwalls are the last to join in. The general pace is extremely fast, especially among the real Grand Prix cars, and there is some pretty furious braking going on at the South Curve, while Moss and Gregory are taking this long, smooth hairpin in full-opposite lock power slides. Once everyone has got the feel of the afternoon, there is a pause and Allison is left going round on his own, his old Lotus having a 1500-cc engine fitted in place of the blown-up 2-litre Climax. Then, things begin to get stirred up and Hawthorn, Lewis-Evans and Moss begin to make it obvious that they are trying really hard and their times, by hand-timing, agree. Hawthorn and Moss are below 1'42"0 and Lewis-Evans is only just over that figure, and while this goes on, Schell cruises round waiting for other drivers and tucks in behind as they pass to see how the B.R.M. measures up to the opposition. It does not, as he cannot break 1'43"0, nor can Behra, even though they are not completely left behind. The best of the small cars is Graham Hill’s 1958 Lotus in 1'46"0, fast by last year’s standards but not fast enough for this year. Both von Trips and Phil Hill have got below 1'43"0 in their outing in the early part of the afternoon, and Ferrari decides that it is enough and they are put away for the rest of the afternoon. Gregory at last breaks the bogey-time of 1'45"0, but Shelby stops his practice very suddenly when a drive shaft breaks on the Centro-Sud car and he spins at very high speed. As the cool of the evening descends there is another lull and Norrinder goes out in the Cabianca Maserati, and Munaron tries de Filippis’ Maserati. Then, 30 minutes before the end of practice, there is a mad rush for the front row of the grid and the session sees some really high-speed driving. All three Vanwalls are at their limit, as is Hawthorn with his Ferrari and also Gendebien. Moss does a remarkable 1'40"5, which the time-keepers find hard to believe and takes a long time to confirm.
This last-minute thrash round is kept up until the end of the practice time and the result is that everyone improves on their times of the previous day and three Vanwalls and a Ferrari share the front row, but only few tenths of a second decide the second row, which really does call for beam-timing now that the starting grid is so vital in today’s short races. The Centro-Sud team bring along another car for Shelby, to replace the one broken in practice and he sits in it for the first time on the starting line, only to find that the cockpit is laid out for someone half his size. Gregory decides to use the Reims car of the two new Maseratis, and all three B.R.M.s are 1958 ones. Sunday, September 7, 1958, at 3:00 p.m., when the starter lowers the flag, the start is really impressive, especially if viewed from above the main grandstand. As the three Vanwalls jump to the head, Hawthorn gives a quick hit on the clutch pedal, takes the turns, then snaps into a haze of smoke of tires and wheels that slide to the pursuit of opponents. From the second row, also Gendebien has problems starting and is rammed behind by Brabham, while Phil Hill is the author of a superb start, which allows him to recover the three Vanwall drivers and to overtake them. When the group reaches the braking point for the first of the Lesmo turns, Trips hits the Schell’s B.R.M.: the Ferrari gets on the rear wheel of the car of the American driver, and the German driver, who remains for a moment entangled with his left leg, falls to the ground inanimate, while the car finishes its run bent in two against a tree. Meanwhile, the B.R.M. goes off the road, fortunately landing on wheels in the bushes. Schell stays in the cockpit. Immediately transported to the hospital in Monza (the passage of the ambulance on the track arouses painful apprehension), Trips, found in a state of shock, immediately overcome, reports the dislocation of the left knee and slight abrasions on the face. Prognosis of thirty days. In front, Phil Hill enjoys leading the race in his first real experience in Formula 1, leaving behind a gasping Moss, Lewis-Evans, Hawthorn, Brooks, Bonnier and Behra, who try to reach him. When the American passes the pits in the lead, at the end of the first lap, the applause is strong for this very popular and talented driver.
The same cannot be said for Brabham, who returns to the pits to retire with the front axle bent due to the collision on the starting line. At the end of the next lap, Shelby also retires because not only does he not fit into the borrowed car, but all the wheels are unbalanced and the whole car vibrates at high speed. The second lap sees the first thirteen cars pass in rapid succession, consisting of Hill, Moss, Evans, Hawthorn, Brooks, Behra, Bonnier and other drivers; but, at the end of the third lap, they start to create a gap between themTrintignant and Salvadori, which are tenth and eleventh respectively. On the return straight, on lap four, Hawthorn overtakes Moss, taking second place. On lap five, the contestants split into three groups, with Hawthorn taking the lead closely followed by Phil Hill, Moss, Evans, Brooks and Behra; Bonnier, Graham Hill, Gregory and Trintignant are separated from the rest of the group by a few seconds, which no longer counts Gerini since he has retired after passing the Curva Sud and bumping the side dock. At the end of the fifth lap, Gendebien goes back to the pits too and retires due to the malfunction of the De Dion bridge of his Ferrari, which remains bent due to the collision with Brabham at the start. On the seventh lap, while he is driving along the Curva Sud, the left rear tyre tread on Phil Hill’s car comes off, forcing the American to stop to change the wheel, abandoning the small leading group that sees Moss in command. Before Hill could re-enter the race, the four cars of the second group manages to pass him, except for Roy Salvadori who stops due to overheating, before leaving. Although Moss is now in the lead, most of the time Hawthorn manages to go side by side trying to pass the compatriot, while Evans, Brooks and Behra follow the leading pair at a short distance. In the meantime, Graham Hill slows down during the eighth lap, due to a significant ignition error on the Lotus Climax engine. During the thirteenth lap, Brooks returns to the pits to signal a spray of oil coming from the rear; the mechanics discover that it is only a cracked rubber bellows on a transmission shaft, and that the loss is not serious, so the British driver is sent back to race behind the group of Gregory, Bonnier, Trintignant and Phil Hill. As Vanwall resumes the race, Graham Hill takes his Lotus to the pits to try to solve the problem of the ignition failure.
Shortly after, Bonnier begins to lose ground on Gregory and Trintignant; on lap 15, the motif becomes visible when the smoke rises from under the driver’s seat, because something in the transmission is blocking. Hawthorn has meanwhile resumed the lead and Behra and Lewis-Evans are on a par with Moss: during the sixteenth lap, Behra overtakes Moss and gains the second place, but on the next lap he loses the position by sliding to fourth place, behind the two Vanwall drivers. During the eighteenth lap, Moss did not cross the finish line: while Hawthorn passes firmly into the lead, in front of Evans and Behra, the British driver is seen slowing down on the return straight, and then returns to the pits having encountered problems with the gearbox. At this point, Hawthorn is consistently running 1'45"0: on lap 20, with less than a third of the race left, the Briton enjoys a seven-seconds lead over Lewis-Evans and Behra, who are still fighting each other. After a long wait, Gregory and Trintignant also reach the finish line, with Phil Hill now in their midst: the American Ferrari driver is still trying to recover the first positions, after making the tyre change. Brooks, also in recovery, follows at a distance, and the group composed of Herrmann, Graham Hill, Cabianca, Allison, de Filippis and Salvadori, who in the meantime have all been lapped. As the race continues, the first mechanical problems begin, including the one that slows down Lewis-Evans who will stop on lap 30, while Graham Hill stops again in the pits to find out why the engine plugs do not work regularly. Even Trintignant’s excellent run ends abruptly when he gives up the gearbox during the 24th lap, and starting from the 29th lap, Behra begins to have problems with the front brake; an inconvenience that forced him to stop in the pits. Meanwhile, Hawthorn stays in the lead and Phil Hill manages to set a new record during the twenty-sixth lap, recovering to third place when Behra stops in the pits. Almost neglected, during the thirtieth lap, Brooks is now fifth and goes much faster than Hawthorn, but having been almost a full lap stopped at the pits, when few people left, and least of all the mechanics present in the pits of Ferrari, think a lot about his progress.
After the pit stop, Behra returns to the track in sixth place, with a lap behind Hawthorn, while, on lap 31, Lewis-Evans returns to the pits due to overheating of the cooling system: A suspected warped warhead caused the water to boil and flow out of the refrigeration system, so there is no way for the mechanics to remedy the fault. The Ferraris are now first and second, followed by Gregory. In the middle of the race, with an advantage of thirty-eight seconds, Hawthorn decides to return to the pits to change the rear tires, because Ferrari are not happy with the lasting qualities of Englebert tyres. While Hawthorn is in the pits, Phil Hill takes the lead; shortly after, while the Ferrari with disc brakes returns to the race, Gregory quickly reaches the finish line. Lap 36 sees Phil Hill in the lead, followed by Gregory and Hawthorn. While the British driver, aboard his Ferrari, tries to get used to the new rear tires, Brooks is getting closer and closer, driving unnoticed by the mechanics present at the Ferrari pits, as they are busy preparing for tyre changes. On lap 37, Phil Hill mounts a new rear tyre on the right and Hawthorn, after having passed Gregory, returns to the lead of the race. Before Phil Hill could get back into the race, Brooks went into third position: only at this moment the mechanics present at the Ferrari box notice the comeback of the British driver, and signal the danger to Hawthorn, who in turn is engaged in defending himself from Gregory. Quite neglected by all this excitement, Behra’s race ends on lap 42, when the clutch of his B.R.M. finally gives way. Meanwhile, Allison stops at the pits with the old Lotus to see if there is oil in the tank of the gearbox, and starts again when he is told by the mechanics that everything is in order. For nine laps, Gregory will continue to press Hawthorn; however, this enormous effort will force him to replace the rear tires, in the middle of a sincere applause from his mechanics since this is his first race after the Silverstone accident. This allows Brooks to move into second place: his constant driving allows him to decrease Hawthorn’s lead to just eight seconds, while Phil Hill is in third place, twenty-two seconds behind Vanwall. Shelby follows in fourth place, and the group consists of Cabianca, Salvadori, de FiIippis, Allison and Graham Hill. Arriving at lap 50, the situation seems safe: Hawthorn, Brooks and Phil Hill all run in 1'45"0, a time that Hawthorn has maintained since the beginning of the race, because there was never the opportunity to relax.
However, at the end of the next lap, Brooks manages to gain half a second, and starting from lap 52, from the pits they start to hear the threatening sound of the clutch slip of Hawthorn’s Ferrari, who, to overcome the problem, changes the highest gear after the pits. On the next lap, from the pits, they can still hear the sound of the engine revolutions that do not coincide with the speed of the car, so it is now certain that Ferrari is in trouble. Second after second, lap after lap, Brooks closes the gap on Hawthorn’s Ferrari. On the sixtieth lap, Brooks has now the muzzle of the Vanwall in close contact with the tail of Ferrari while passing in front of the pits, before stepping out of the wake and moving to the front of the race, without that Hawthorn can do anything to defend himself. For the British driver, the only hope now is that the clutch will last for another ten laps. Meanwhile, Phil Hill is firmly in third place and Shelby, who in the meantime has taken the place of Gregory, goes quietly. Brooks, triumphant, completes the last ten laps while Hawthorn slows down progressively, finally being very relieved to see the chequered flag at the end of a really hard race. Phil Hill followed in third place, Carroll Shelby in fourth (but he did not collect or divide the points with Gregory), and Roy Salvadori closed in fifth place. Tony Brooks, the young new English ace, at the wheel of Vanwall, wins the XXIX Italian Grand Prix, a dramatic, exciting and hard-fought race. In the planned duel between Hawthorn and Moss, the classic third man has been inserted, a driver who is anything but unknown and that this year indeed claimed his third victory in a World Championship Grand Prix. Success certainly not stolen, but it can be said with objectivity - perhaps indulged by a pinch of good luck or, if preferred, by the undoubted misfortune of Hawthorn, who, after stopping mid-race for the expected change of the rear tires, while he was largely in command, failed to retain the margin of advantage gained on Brooks (in turn, actually, delayed earlier by a stop at the pits to register the rear shock absorbers) due to incipient friction disturbances. Nor, having passed the fifty-ninth of the seventy laps scheduled, was he able to react. The race, extremely tough given the decision with which it was conducted, saw in a few laps the elimination of most of the main drivers. Stirling Moss, after a long fight with Hawthorn in the lead, succumbed to the seventeenth lap for breaking the gearbox. Shortly before, the B.R.M. of the Swedish Bonnier catches fire, but the driver manages to stop before the flames can wrap the car.
And Brabham, Gerini, Gendebien, Shelby, all in the very first laps, are already out of action for mechanical failures. Later, Trintignant, Lewis-Evans and Behra also gave in (the latter two had been in the lead for a long time), Herrmann, Cabianca and the brave Maria Teresa De Filippis, last to retire. Overall seven drivers arrived out of twenty-one starters, but six classified, since Gregory, fourth arrived and author with the Maserati of a beautiful race, was replaced on lap 47 by Shelby who was not registered as a reserve for the first and therefore not authorised to take the wheel of another car. Ferrari, beaten again this time by a heap of adverse circumstances, retains the satisfaction of the fastest lap, and new official record of the circuit, achieved by his new driver Phil Hill, at 201.106 km/h of average speed. Hill is one of the brightest protagonists of the day, along with the winner Brooks, Hawthorn and Gregory. In the world ranking nothing is decided yet, even if Hawthorn conquers six points and Moss not even one, but the first has more than ever the title at hand. However, everything is postponed to the Moroccan Grand Prix in October. Before becoming a racer, Tony Brooks was a dental mechanic in London. Friends said that he drove divinely, he liked to drive a lot and one day he was offered the opportunity to take a ride at the Crystal Palace in London behind the wheel of a small Cooper with a motorcycle engine, he did not get begged. He did not win, of course, but running seemed to him the easiest thing in the world, and he discovered his true vocation. It was 1954; the following year, he unexpectedly won the Syracuse Grand Prix on a modest Connaught, ahead of the official Maserati. Brooks is a slender blond, with light eyes. He is modest, a bit scruffy, always calm and smiling. He has neither the attitudes nor the physical figure of the champion. But he is a champion, unquestionably. He won three Grand Prizes this year, more than his foreman Stirllng Moss, more than Hawthorn and all the others. He won at Spa, Nurburgring and Monza. No one wins, especially at the Nurburgring and Monza, unless one is an authentic ace. Undoubtedly he had some luck, he is the first to recognize it, but luck is in a way a sure sign to recognize the true champions. So the British, for the second year in a row, won with their own car and with their own driver the Italian Grand Prix. There was no doubt about the nationality of the winner, although the prediction was restricted to the names of Hawthorn and Moss. However, there was a lot of confidence in everyone that Ferrari would win.
Indeed, the hopes of the Italian sportsmen had become stronger after a few laps of the race, when it was seen that Hawthorn was able to juggle beautifully between the Vanwall, and that the same Phil Hill - new to the single-seaters of Maranello - participated bravely in the fight. It should be noted that, on the other hand, the Grand Prix had begun badly for Ferrari: Gendebien lingered at the start, and Trips off the road after a fearful collision with Schell during the tumultuous first lap. Shortly after Hill also stopped to replace a tire (after just thirty-five kilometres, the thing still seems inexplicable), but meanwhile Hawthorn moves away from the three Vanwall drivers, and his direct opponent, Moss, stops because of the failure of the change. Now we are, the Italian fans say, wins the Ferrari and Hawthorn is World Champion. And the enthusiasm rises even when Hill, after a pursuit that has the prodigious, conquers the second place. Then Hawthorn stops for the expected change of tires, and few realise that Brooks, meanwhile, is recovering. However, Ferrari’s slight advantage seems sufficient to contain Brooks' wishful thinking. But here is the mockery of bad luck: suddenly the clutch of Hawthorn’s car begins to slip, and in gear shifts Mike loses precious moments. Between lap 40 and lap 55, everyone who has a chronometer starts to consult him nervously. The gap decreases with each pass, and when Brooks manages to join the Ferrari of his fellow countryman, then overcoming it with a very skilful manoeuvre in the middle of the straight, a long murmur of disappointment rises among the spectators. Hawthorn is still very close to the world title. Counting the points, the Ferrari driver has 36 points, against 32 of Moss, but in reality, in the next Moroccan Grand Prix, to be overtaken by Moss in the ranking, the latter would have to win and also win the fastest lap point, and at the same time Hawthorn does not go beyond a third place. Unfortunately, there is little to say about the Italians in the race at Monza. Gerino Gerini managed to cover only three laps; Giulio Cabianca, at his first race in Formula 1, makes an honest but inconspicuous race, retiring then on lap fifty-two; from De Filippis can certainly not expect great things. The brave Neapolitan sails in the last positions abandoning twelve laps from the end. For the first time in the history of the Italian Grand Prix, not even an Italian champion does line up at the start. There is little to do. It is the time of the English: how long will it last?