So you are confident you have the measure of Gethin, especially round Monaco, where you fought a great tactical duel with Chris Irwin to win the F3 race six years ago. Since then, you have experienced being paired with a true genius, Jackie Stewart, and discovered he really is everything he’s cracked up to be. But where’s Jackie’s Tyrrell today? Two rows behind you, that’s where. Only Emmo and the two Ferraris are ahead of you.
The spray settles as the pack slows to a crawl. You’ve just experienced what it’s like to follow cars in these torrential conditions – and it’s not much fun. You glance across at Clay Regazzoni, a hard racer from the Jack Brabham School: don’t look in your mirrors, don’t give a quarter. Similar aggressive traits have been noted in your driving, too. This could all end up in a big mess at Ste Devote.
But if you stay out of trouble, it could be very good indeed; you asked the BRM boys to take out the rear anti-roll bar completely. And Alan Challis has been fiddling around at the back of your car, and reckons he might have given you an edge.
Challis: “On the grid, we adjusted the fuel timing on both Jean-Pierre’s and Gethin’s cars. The pump was driven by a belt and, if you had the knowledge, you could take it off and retard it a bit so that the engine became much more driveable.”
The moment’s arrived. You get the revs just so, the clutch is beginning to bite and Louis Chiron drops the flag. Damn! Jacky Ickx has got his power down well. But with the long gearing you’ve been given for the rain, you draw closer to the Ferrari at the top of the rev range. You brake and notice Jacky’s taking the conventional line through Ste Devote. Which means there’s a gap. A flick to the right and you’re alongside. Let the car run wide on the exit. Ickx must have backed off, there’s no thump on the rear. You’re through, and the track in front of you is clean. You hurtle past the pits; they’re going to be pleased to see you.