Unexpected F1 Winners Who Defied Expectations


8. Peter Gethin (Italy 1971)

Unexpected F1 winners

On the old Monza layout, with no chicanes, slipstream was even more king. And a battle ensued to the whole race. When you have the likes of Ronnie Peterson, Jacky Ickx, Jackie Stewart and François Cèvert on your tail, it takes a huge amount of courage to pedal to the metal and beat them all, let alone for the closest margin ever. But that was what the late Peter Gethin did with his BRM.

Then, as now, Ferrari had the better on the grandstands, but Jacky Ickx lost the pole to Chris Amon’s Matra. One by one, almost all main drivers had their stint on the top. Ickx, Stewart, Clay Regazzoni retired with broken engines. Soon the lead bunch consisted of  six furious drivers, none of them GP winners at the time. Amon lost ground, but Gethin, Peterson, Cèvert, Mike Hailwood and Howden Ganley stayed together. As in a cycling sprint, it was the case of right place, right time, and the BRM surged ahead, by only 0.008s.


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