The 1965 United States Grand Prix was the ninth and penultimate round the 1965 FIA Formula One World Championship, held at the Watkins Glen circuit on October 3rd. Officially recognised as the Eighth Grand Prix of the United States, the 1965 edition of the USGP saw New York born (but California raised) racer Dan Gurney just fall shy of a historic home victory.
The World Championship had already been tied up in favor of Scottish racer Jim Clark and his backers Team Lotus, but the F1 circus still arrived at near-enough full strength for the blast around the picturesque Glen. Qualifying had long been a staple for Clark, but he was beaten to pole by long time rival Graham Hill, while Richie Ginther was the best American starter in the V12 Honda.
When the flag dropped on Sunday, Hill managed to beat Clark off the line to take an early lead, with his team mate Jackie Stewart elbowing his way up to third. The two leaders, however, were set to enter a private duel for the lead, with Clark snatching the lead on lap two before Hill retaliated on lap five.
Over the course of the race, Hill and Clark were able to pull clear from Stewart and Lorenzo Bandini, and when Clark and Stewart retired the Englishman was all on his own. Bandini fell to Gurney and Jack Brabham in quick succession, and it was the New Yorker who set off after Hill, prompting the Englishman to make a rare mistake.
Gurney, however, was unable to capitalise, running off the circuit at the same spot a few laps later to fall back behind teammate Brabham. A brief inter team battle followed before Gurney once again set about catching Hill, but time ran out well before he could get within attacking distance. Brabham claimed third ahead of Bandini, while Pedro Rodríguez and Jochen Rindt completed the points.
Despite the World Championship being settled in Germany, the F1 paddock headed to Watkins Glen, known for its brilliant autumnal scenery. Unfortunately, autumn was slow to reach North America so the trees were only just starting to change colour, rather flattening the aesthetic appeal of the weekend. Regardless, the now annual party in the Glen was set to be an exciting battle despite the above factors, with the venue popular with drivers and fans alike.
An eighteen strong invitation based entry list was submitted for the US Grand Prix of 1965, with almost a quarter of the field running Ferrari cars. Two would run for the factory team, John Surtees and Lorenzo Bandini returning to the Glen to run in the familiar scarlet colours, while the North American Racing Team entered two cars for Pedro Rodríguez and Bob Bondurant. In the week before the race, however, the F1 world was rocked when Surtees suffered a huge accident in a CanAm race at Mosport Park which left the Englishman with a badly broken leg.
The pace setting British teams were invited as usual, although only one of them would run a third driver for the US weekend. That would be Team Lotus, who drafted in Mexican racer Moisés Solana to link up with Champion Jim Clark and Mike Spence, all three using Lotus 33s. In contrast, their major rivals BRM would only run two cars for Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart, with a third chassis held in reserve.
Brabham-Climax were back with their "full-time" lineup, with Dan Gurney going into his home race with team owner Jack Brabham back in the second car. Cooper-Climax were in the midst of another poor season, with rumours that lead driver Bruce McLaren would leave, although he would partner Jochen Rindt at the Glen. Honda were also back to battle, fielding their two American drivers Richie Ginther and Ronnie Bucknum, although they had a freshly built spare with a longer wheelbase, a step towards their 1966 design.
Into the limited privateer field, and it was only the major privateer runners who were invited, or could indeed afford to ship their equipment over the Atlantic. The RRC Walker Racing Team would field Jo Bonnier and Jo Siffert as usual in their two Brabham cars, Siffert having got a fresh engine from BRM for the final two races. The other outfit was Reg Parnell Racing, who had Richard Attwood and Innes Ireland in their cars for the late season blast.
With the World Championship already settled, the focus was on who would finish runner-up, and Stewart's maiden victory in Italy meant that he was just a single point off of teammate Hill. With two races to go those two were set for a private inter-team scrap for the position, as Surtees was in the hospital and unable to compete in the final two rounds. Gurney completed the top five, while Attwood was the last man on the board after a maiden point at Monza.
Like their driver Clark, Team Lotus had already swept to victory in the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers with maximum points. BRM were also sorted out for the year, finishing second regardless of whether Ferrari could win both of the final two races, while Brabham were too far back. Cooper were six points away from the Australian owned team in fifth, while Brabham-BRM, Honda and Lotus-BRM rounded out the table.
The full entry list for the 1965 United States Grand Prix is outlined below:
Practice and qualifying would be split into two four hour sessions on Friday and Saturday, both of which were held in cool conditions. The second session was proceeded by a filming session, which delayed the running for Jackie Stewart as he had a large camera bolted to his car. Otherwise, the pace setters would be aiming to best Jim Clark's lap record of 1:12.65, set during qualifying in 1964.
Friday would start with a wet circuit after a sudden down pour, with the drivers taking a walk to examine the new kerbs, which had been installed all around the circuit at the request of the G.P.D.A.. After their tour, the drivers scrambled into their cars, Richard Attwood getting out first in Innes Ireland's car after he went back to his Motel with the flu. Almost everyone would get a few laps in in the first hour, although not at full pace, with Ronnie Bucknum and Jack Brabham the only two not to get out.
BRM sent their two drivers out together in the early stages of the session, asking Graham Hill to show the rookie Jackie Stewart how to get round at speed. On a wet, but drying circuit, Stewart steadily got onto the pace of his ex-Champion team mate, getting within a tenth of the Englishman within the first hour. As they steadily raised the pace several drivers had issues, Jo Siffert pirouetting in front of the pits, just moments after World Champion Clark had done the same while trying to push for a good time in Spence's car while his car had an engine change.
The pace by the end of the Friday session vastly improved, and provisional pole went to Hill, who set a 1:12.5 to beat Clark's record. After the delay due to filming almost everyone poured onto the circuit on the cool crisp autumn afternoon, although Ireland only managed two laps before returning to the pits to lay down. Clark, meanwhile, was waiting for his updated Climax engine to be refitted after a major repair, meaning he took Moisés Solana's car for the early running.
Once armed with his proper car, Clark set about battling with Hill for pole, with the Englishman setting the early pace with a 1:11.85, the timekeepers deploying more advanced equipment as the times got closer. Clark soon matched this time, but just moments later the two BRMs flashed across the line to record identical times of 1:11.76, before Clark replied with a 1:11.35. Hill went out late in the day and snatched pole with a 1:11.25 with time running out before Clark could respond, while Richie Ginther snuck into third with a strong lap that almost went unnoticed.
The full qualifying results for the 1965 United States Grand Prix are outlined below:
After a busy night in the garages, particularly at Team Lotus where Jim Clark would be forced to use a hobbled engine as they ran out of parts, Sunday dawned cold and hazy. The sun made occasional appearances through the low cloud throughout the morning, with the Grand Prix scheduled to start at 2:00 pm. The field was allowed to do a warmup lap before assembling on the dummy grid, prior to pulling onto the grid proper to await the signal from lavender suited starter Tex Hopkins.
Tex was still coming down from his characteristic leap and flutter as Clark and Graham Hill flew off the grid to battle for the lead of the race up the hill to the Esses. They went side-by-side through the flat out twists, the Englishman ultimately snatching the advantage with his superior BRM engine on the run down the back straight. His team mate Jackie Stewart was up to third, the Scot getting a perfect launch from sixth to get onto the back of the leaders, although Richie Ginther provided some resistance.
The field streamed past the pits to complete the opening lap with Hill leading from Clark and Stewart, before a gap back to the next runners. They were being bottled up by Lorenzo Bandini in fifth, with Mike Spence, Jack Brabham and Dan Gurney all trying to get pas the Italian Ferrari racer and challenge the leaders. Then came a third group led by Ginther, who had gone off the track during his battle with Stewart and so dropped back, with the Honda blocking the progress of the rest of the field.
The Hill/Clark fight for the lead ramped up on lap two, and when the Englishman ran wide at the final corner it was advantage to the Scot as he snatched the lead. Stewart was not able to follow his fellow countryman through, Hill firmly shutting the door, although unbeknown to anyone, other the Stewart, his race was in serious doubt. While battling Ginther on the opening lap, the Scot had been forced onto a high curb which had bent one of the wishbones, weakening the suspension as a whole, although it survived for the time being.
Away from the Scottish contingent, Gurney was making moves, taking team mate Brabham on lap three, before sizing up Spence and Bandini ahead, those two costing each other time by swapping positions every lap. The four way battle was for fourth, until Stewart limped his BRM in with a throttle issue, meaning Bandini held a podium position in the early stages. As Gurney drew the attention of the home fans, Hill managed to squeeze back past Clark to take the lead, just as a drizzle began to fall across the entire circuit.
The following laps saw Hill slowly establish a lead over Clark, although the Scot was close enough that Hill had to be immaculate or lose the lead. The order throughout the field was also stable, the only changes coming on lap ten, when Spence retired with a ruined Climax engine, while Innes Ireland called it a day with fatigue after battling with a bug all weekend. The marshals, meanwhile, were getting a workout amid the drizzle, waving slippery surface flags to warn the drivers that the drizzle was making the circuit slippery.
Two laps later and Team Lotus were out of the running, with Moisés Solana well off the pace, while Clark was limping around the circuit. He had a piston fail out of the Esses on lap twelve and so was out, joined by Bruce McLaren who lost all of his oil pressure. Stewart, meanwhile, was back in action after having his throttle cable replaced, the Scot having had to bring his BRM in early on by reaching over the back of his seat and manually pull on the cable to keep the car going.
Sadly, the Scot's return would not last too long, for the suspension damage he had sustained on the opening lap finally bit, putting him in the pits for good. Gurney, meanwhile, had finally forced Bandini out of the way through the final corner, a move which also opened the door for team mate Brabham as the Italian slid wide. The adoptive Californian was really motoring in his attempts to track down race leader Hill, but a mistake in the increasingly slippery conditions allowed Brabham to get past.
Gurney was soon back past Brabham and was once again setting about drawing in Hill as the race settled down with large gaps forming throughout the field. For a time the only entertainment was to be found in the adventures of Jochen Rindt, who pirouetted numerous times in the early stages. The young Austrian racer, however, was resilient and once he found a groove set about rectifying his problem, taking Bob Bondurant and Jo Bonnier with brilliant moves through the Esses on successive laps.
All of the attention was on the charging Rindt on lap 37, so a sudden squall at the long right-hander at the end of back straight went almost unnoticed. This was bad news for race leader Hill, who got caught out by the sudden increase in water on the circuit and so slithered wider and wider before hitting the grass. He recovered on the exit of the corner, but with Gurney managing to get through untroubled, the Englishman's lead was cut from fifteen seconds to just four by the end of the lap.
Soon, Gurney was right on the BRM's tail with Hill unable to get into his stride again, meaning the battle was well and truly on. For ten laps the two orbited the circuit almost as one, Gurney seeking for any opportunity to get past, while a fair way back, Rindt took Pedro Rodríguez for fifth. On lap 48 Gurney decided that he needed to force the issue, and so opted to push on through the Esses, only to get into a huge over-steering slide which put him on the grass. Hill scampered away to re-establish a solid lead, and before Gurney brought his car back onto Terra firma, Brabham was through into second once again.
The lead battle looked all over, but just a few laps later Richard Attwood baulked Hill severely, to allow Brabham to close right up on the back of the BRM. Hill then tried to lap the Reg Parnell Racing driver up the hill through the Esses, which cost him momentum, and so Brabham managed to draft past him down the back straight. The Aussie had not led a race for some time, but before it could be noted in the timekeeper's book, the #7 Brabham ran onto the grass on the exit of the final corner, allowing Hill and Gurney to get back past.
The rest of the race became a tense battle between Gurney and Hill for the lead, until the sun finally burned through the drizzle and warmed the circuit. In response, Hill began to lap even faster and steadily got away as the US Grand Prix entered its final throes. The sun's appearance was also good news for Bandini, who was able to take back fourth from Rindt when the Austrian's charge was halted by gearbox problems.
Five laps from the end, Hill set a new lap record at 1:11.9 before going on to win in the US for the third year in a row. Gurney never got close enough to challenge again having been so close at the halfway point, while Brabham had eased his pace significantly to fall almost a minute back in third. Bandini finished fourth as the best Ferrari driver, while Rodriguez, who was signalled by his North American Racing Team to push on when Rindt's gearbox issue surfaced, claimed fifth, putting the Austrian down to sixth.
The full results for the 1965 United States Grand Prix are outlined below:
|4||2||Lorenzo Bandini||Ferrari||109||+1 lap||5||3|
|5||14||Pedro Rodríguez||Ferrari||109||+1 lap||15||2|
|6||10||Jochen Rindt||Cooper-Climax||108||+2 laps||13||1|
|7||11||Richie Ginther||Honda||108||+2 laps||3|
|8||15||Jo Bonnier||Brabham-Climax||107||+3 laps||10|
|9||24||Bob Bondurant||Ferrari||106||+4 laps||14|
|10||21||Richard Attwood||Lotus-BRM||101||+9 laps||16|
|11||16||Jo Siffert||Brabham-BRM||99||+11 laps||11|
|12||18||Moisés Solana||Lotus-Climax||95||+15 laps||17|
|13||12||Ronnie Bucknum||Honda||92||+18 laps||12|
|Ret||9||Bruce McLaren||Cooper-Climax||11||Oil pressure||9|
- Bob Bondurant started his first Grand Prix.
- Tenth career victory for Graham Hill.
- BRM collected their twelfth win.
- Also their tenth fastest lap.
- Dan Gurney and Jack Brabham earned Climax their 99th and 100th podium finishes.
Although it was mathematically impossible for Graham Hill to finish ahead of Jim Clark when dropped scores were applied, the Englishman headed into the season finale in Mexico with a chance of outscoring the Scot overall. A seven point gap between Clark's 54 strong tally and Hill's total of 47 (officially 40) meant the Englishman would overtake him on total points scored if the Scot failed to score. Elsewhere, Jackie Stewart was confirmed to be in third place, too far out of reach of Dan Gurney, while the badly injured John Surtees completed the top five.
Hill's victory meant that BRM had unofficially outscored Lotus-Climax with a race to go, breaking through the 60 point mark while the Norfolk squad only had 54. Unfortunately, the dropped score rule also applied to the Intercontinental Cup for Manufacturers, so Lotus were already Champions, with a nine point gap back to the BRM squad. Ferrari were under serious threat from Brabham-Climax for third, the two separated by just two points, while Cooper-Climax completed the top five.
Images and Videos:
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 'GRAND PRIX RESULTS: UNITED STATES GP, 1965', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2016), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr140.html, (Accessed 27/07/2016)
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 2.30 2.31 2.32 2.33 2.34 2.35 2.36 2.37 2.38 2.39 2.40 2.41 2.42 2.43 2.44 2.45 2.46 2.47 2.48 2.49 2.50 2.51 2.52 2.53 2.54 2.55 2.56 2.57 2.58 2.59 2.60 2.61 2.62 2.63 2.64 2.65 2.66 2.67 2.68 2.69 2.70 2.71 M.J.T., 'Grand Prix of the United States:Hat-trick for Hill', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport Magazine, 01/11/1965), http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/november-1965/42/grand-prix-united-states, (Accessed 27/07/2016)
- ↑ 'United States 1965: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1965/etats-unis/engages.aspx, (Accessed 26/07/2016)
- ↑ 'USA 1965: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1965/etats-unis/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 28/07/2016)
- ↑ 'USA 1965: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1965/etats-unis/classement.aspx, (Accessed 28/07/2016)
|V T E||United States Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Sebring (1959), Riverside (1960), Watkins Glen (1961–1980), Phoenix (1989–1991), Indianapolis (2000–2007), Austin (2012–present)|
|Formula One Races||1959 • 1960 • 1961 • 1962 • 1963 • 1964 • 1965 • 1966 • 1967 • 1968 • 1969 • 1970 • 1971 • 1972 • 1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981–1988 • 1989 • 1990 • 1991 • 1992–1999 • 2000 • 2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008–2011 • 2012 • 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017|
|Non-F1 races||1908 • 1909 • 1910 • 1911 • 1912 • 1913 • 1914 • 1915 • 1916 • 1917–1957 • 1958|
|See also||United States Grand Prix West • Indianapolis 500 • Detroit Grand Prix • Caesars Palace Grand Prix • Dallas Grand Prix • Questor Grand Prix|
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