In a sense, I think it was the British Grand Prix at Silverstone where James and I both put our names on the map. He was driving the Hesketh March and I was in the BRM P160. At the end of the opening lap, Jody Scheckter triggered that huge multiple accident when his McLaren ran wide onto the grass coming out of Woodcote, then spun back into the pit wall.
James and I luckily managed to squeeze through the gap. Nine of the 28 cars were eliminated in the collision that followed and the race was red-flagged. At the restart, I made a terrific getaway from the inside of the fourth row and at the end of the first lap was second to Ronnie Peterson’s Lotus 72.
Jackie Stewart nipped past me on the second lap and my moment of glory was soon over. The BRM’s Firestone tyres lost grip dramatically and I was soon hurtling backwards through the field. I was in seventh place on lap 10 when James’s March came past, en route to what turned out to be an excellent fourth place behind Peter Revson, Emerson Fittipaldi and Denny Hulme at the chequered flag.
My day finished on a very disappointing note. I had one pitstop to change a worn-out left front tyre, then I spun the BRM at Club and eventually had to make a second stop to change a worn rear tyre. I was classified 12th, four laps behind James, but I think I certainly proved to many people that I was worth a shot behind the wheel of a Grand Prix car.
For the rest of the season I grappled hard to make sense of the BRM. Even though there were some low moments, such as when I broke my wrist in an accident at Nürburgring, I managed to lead the opening phase of the Canadian GP on a damp track. But there were no places on the podium waiting for me in 1973, unlike James who was third at Zandvoort and second at Watkins Glen.
Only when I moved to Ferrari in 1974 was I able to even that particular score…