By the time JYS reached Formula One, compatriot Jimmy Clark was the man to beat. Yet the younger Scot refused an opportunity to rate himself next to the best over at Lotus, instead opting for a seat alongside the next best: BRM’s Graham Hill.
The P261 was tremendous and so was Jackie: his first six GP starts yielded sixth, third, second, second, fifth and second. He also won his fourth Fl start, Silverstone’s International Trophy in May. He posted a retirement at Nürburgring before scoring his maiden GP victory, at Monza, after a fine duel with Hill.
In terms of qualifying for the GPs that year, it went to Graham, 7-3, but Jackie was quicker at Clermont-Ferrand and Nürburgring — the year’s two most daunting tracks; like Button, he had a superb ability to learn a track new to him.
Hill and JYS were balanced in terms of speed the next season, and when Clark conclusively dealt with Hill at Lotus in 1967, it was clear Jackie was right to be in awe of Jimmy’s talent. But can we really draw such definite lines in the sand? Was the number two Lotus a level platform from which Hill can be compared to Clark? Is it fair to compare Clark, on his plateau of greatness, with Stewart in his learning years? No, frankly. As with Moss and Clark, so with Clark and Stewart: as one benchmark was ripped from F1, so another proved a worthy successor, and the opportunity to compare them directly was denied us. What cannot be questioned is that Stewart’s first year in F1 turned more heads than did Clark’s in ’60. DM
1980 Belgian Grand Prix race report
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