At the end of the year there was a huge upheaval at Maranello and many engineers left. Of the existing drivers, only Mairesse was retained for 1963, but once more Dei came to Bandini’s rescue, for he had bought Graham Hill’s title-winning BRM and painted it red. Lorenzo loved the car and qualified third for the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring – several seconds faster than Hill’s newer works car – only to crash on the first lap. Another accident, a few minutes later, was to change the course of his career: Mairesse went off at Flugplatz and was badly hurt.
“Mairesse was very quick, but unstable,” says Surtees. “He did it wrong lots of times, and after that shunt at the ’Ring Lorenzo became my natural team-mate at Ferrari.”
Bandini had been contracted to race Ferrari sports cars, he and Ludovico Scarfiotti winning at Le Mans, but F1 was his passion, and now at last he was where he wanted to be.
In 1964 Lorenzo married Margherita Freddi, the daughter of his original mentor, and went on to have an excellent season, winning the Austrian Grand Prix and finishing well elsewhere. At the final race – Mexico – he was, however, involved in an incident of some controversy. Jim Clark, Hill and Surtees were all in contention for the world championship, and Bandini ran into the back of Hill’s BRM at a hairpin, ending Graham’s hopes of the title – which ultimately went to Surtees. It was all very unfortunate, but no one who knew Lorenzo believed it was anything other than accidental, and at Christmas Graham sent him an LP of driving lessons! They had style in those days, did they not?
Surtees and Bandini were retained by Ferrari for 1965, but this was a ‘Clark’ year and there were no grand prix wins for the team, Lorenzo’s major success being victory at the Targa Florio, co-driving with Nino Vaccarella.
The 3-litre F1 began in 1966, and Monaco was the first round of the world championship, Ferrari sending a new V12 for Surtees and a 2.4-litre V6 for Bandini. John retired early, leaving Jackie Stewart’s BRM in the lead, but towards the end Lorenzo began to catch him, setting new lap records before settling for second. At the wet Belgian Grand Prix he was third behind Surtees and Jochen Rindt, and this, as it turned out, was to be John’s last grand prix drive for Ferrari.