1957 British Grand Prix (partially found footage of Formula One World Championship race; 1957)

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1957britishgrandprix1.jpg

Stirling Moss crosses the line to take the first Formula One World Championship win achieved with a British car.

Status: Partially Found

The 1957 British Grand Prix was the fifth race of the 1957 Formula One Season. Occurring on 20th July at the Aintree Circuit, the race would ultimately be won by Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks in a shared drive for Vanwall, marking the first Formula One World Championship victory with a British car.

Background[edit | edit source]

The 1957 British Grand Prix was the eighth running of the event within Formula One, with the race lasting 90 laps.[1][2][3] The tenth British Grand Prix overall, the event has remained an annual race on the Formula One calendar, primarily taking place at Silverstone, although Aintree and Brands Hatch have also hosted the event.[1] The 1957 edition was also given the European Grand Prix title.[4]

Heading into the race, Vanwall's top two drivers, Moss and Tony Brooks, were recovering from a sinus infection and an accident at Le Mans respectively.[4] Neither had raced at the previous French Grand Prix.[5] The cars proved competitive in qualifying, with Moss achieving pole position with a time of 2:00.2.[4][5][3] Maserati meanwhile stuck with its six cylinder design, after its 12 cylinder proved uncompetitive in previous Grand Prix.[4] Jean Behra, the pre-race favourite, proved the fastest for Maserati, starting second, with Brooks lining up third.[6][4][5][3] Maserati's Juan Manuel Fangio qualified fourth out of 19 competitors; he was also reportedly not 100%, with his car having broking down at the previous Grand Prix, with him also recovering from a gastric issue.[6][5][4][3] In qualifying, one incident saw an Aston Martin DB3S enter the track, with its passenger holding a camera to film the action surrounding them.[4] Motor Sport noted how strange this was, since it not only obstructed a qualifying session, but the Aston Martin itself flew a white flag that indicated it was an ambulance.[4]

The Race[edit | edit source]

With the starting order decided, the 1957 British Grand Prix commenced on 20th July.[3] The field was close together on the opening lap with Behra initially gaining the upper hand, but Moss repassed him on the opening lap and began to extend the gap.[5][4][6][3] Brooks meanwhile lost third to Ferrari's Mike Hawthorn, and lost further ground five laps in as his legs were still suffering from the Le Mans crash.[4] Fangio also experienced a bad start, and seemed unlikely to challenge for the win.[5][6][4] By lap 10, Moss had seemingly recovered from his infection, having achieved a 7.5-second gap ahead of Behra, extending it to nine by lap 20.[4][5] A lap later however, Moss entered the pits with concerns that his Vanwall was suffered a magneto issue.[4][5][6] After the mechanics made some modifications, Moss re-joined, albeit now down in seventh.[4][5] Ultimately, the Vanwall suffered a more serious misfire, forcing Moss to re-enter the pits.[4][5][6][3] He then took over Brooks' car on lap 26, with the latter admitting he was not expecting to race the full duration due to his condition issues.[4][5][6][3] Moss re-joined in ninth.[6][4][5]

With Behra in first, Moss began to move back through the order, including passing Fangio on lap 35.[4][5][6][3] He was helped as some drivers like Ferrari's Peter Collins began to retire following mechanical issues.[5][4][3] Behra meanwhile led strongly ahead of Hawthorn, while also being a minute ahead of Moss.[4][5][6] By lap 45, Behra led by nine seconds, with Fangio retiring four laps later following a broken valve gear.[4][6][5][3] However, Moss, now lying in fourth, began to deplete the gap between himself and the leader, setting the fastest lap multiple times to reduce the distance to 35 seconds by lap 65.[4][6][3] Just as he passed his teammate Stuart Lewis-Evans for third on lap 70, he suddenly ended up in the lead.[4][5][6][3] The reason was that Behra's Maserati suffered a spectacular clutch and flywheel failure, with debris causing Hawthorn's left rear tyre to be punctured before he could take the lead.[4][6][5][3]

Moss was now unchallenged in front, but Vanwall were denied a 1-2 as Lewis-Evans entered the pits following a throttle linkage failure on lap 73.[4][5][6][6][3] By lap 79, Moss was around 40 seconds ahead of nearest challenger Ferrari's Luigi Musso.[4] Musso reduced the gap to 25.6 seconds by the race's end, but that allowed Moss to claim the first Formula One World Championship victory for a British car.[4][6][5][3] As his result was a shared drive, he and Brooks were deemed joint-winners and shared four points each, Moss earning another for setting the fastest lap.[7][3] According to Moss, Fangio was the first to congratulate him.[6] Musso took second, with Hawthorn third.[5][4][6][3] Collins finished fourth after having taken over Maurice Trintignant's car, but the Brit did not complete enough laps to be eligible for points, allowing the Frenchman to score all three.[7][3][4] Cooper-Climax's Roy Salvadori took the final points position by pushing his car over the line to finish fifth, thus scoring the first World Championship point for Cooper and for a rear engine car.[6][3][4]

Availability[edit | edit source]

According to Issue 1,757 of Radio Times, the race received partial live coverage from the BBC.[8][9][10] This included 50 minutes dedicated to the race's start, 15 minutes midway through, and a further 27 where the race's end was described by commentator Raymond Baxter, for a total of 92 minutes of coverage.[8][9] The broadcast has yet to publicly resurface, however, having originated from an era where telerecordings were rare until videotape was perfected in the late-1950s.[11] Nevertheless, some footage can be found in British newsreels.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

Reuters newsreel of the race.
British Pathé newsreel of the race.
Movietone News newsreel of the race.
British Pathé newsreel documenting Aintree being prepared for the upcoming race.


Images[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 The History Press detailing the history of the British Grand Prix. Retrieved 16th Aug '22
  2. Ultimate Car Page listing all instances of the British Grand Prix. Retrieved 16th Aug '22
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 Racing-Reference detailing the qualifying and race results of the event. Retrieved 16th Aug '22
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 4.19 4.20 4.21 4.22 4.23 4.24 4.25 4.26 4.27 4.28 4.29 Motor Sport providing a detailed race report. Retrieved 16th Aug '22
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 5.17 5.18 5.19 5.20 Grand Prix summarising qualifying and the race itself. Retrieved 16th Aug '22
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 6.17 6.18 6.19 ESPN summarising the race and post-race comments. Retrieved 16th Aug '22
  7. 7.0 7.1 Motor Sport detailing the results and points scored. Retrieved 16th Aug '22
  8. 8.0 8.1 BBC Genome archive of Radio Times issues detailing the BBC coverage of the race. Retrieved 16th Aug '22
  9. 9.0 9.1 Issue 1,757 of Radio Times listing the BBC coverage. Retrieved 16th Aug '22
  10. List of Formula One television broadcasts noting BBC provided some live coverage. Retrieved 16th Aug '22
  11. Web Archive article discussing how most early television is missing due to a lack of directly recording television. Retrieved 16th Aug '22