He already packed a hefty resume but everything John Surtees had done previously on four wheels paled by comparison. The Briton’s drive in the 1963 German Grand Prix helped confirm his greatness away from motorcycles. Having already conquered the ’Ring with MV Agusta, Il Grande John followed through with victory in the ’63 1000Kms race alongside Willie Mairesse in a Ferrari 250P. It was his inaugural triumph for the Scuderia, the Briton having yet to become a Grand Prix winner despite threatening to do so from the get-go. Three months later, he broke his Formula 1 duck in the best way possible.
Jim Clark had qualified his Lotus 25 on pole for the Grand Prix but by the time the cars reached Breidscheid for the first time it was the BRM of Richie Ginther in the lead from Bruce McLaren’s Cooper. The sainted Scot now had Surtees glued to his tail, the scarlet Ferrari 156 moving up the order until it assumed the lead on the second tour. Clark (below, following Surtees) had annexed the four previous Grands Prix and it soon became a two-way battle as he bid to make it five consecutive wins. By half-distance Surtees led by 5.3 seconds, Clark’s Lotus by now alternating between seven and eight cylinders. When running properly the green car was clearly quicker, Surtees’ Ferrari also losing a pot for a brief moment, but this served only to give Team Lotus false hope. With 11 of the 15 laps run, Surtees had 20sec in hand; by the flag he was some 1min 17.5sec ahead to claim his maiden F1 win and the first for the Scuderia since the 1961 Italian GP. He also became the first man to secure the Grand Prix and 1000Kms in the same year. Just to rub it in, he successfully defended his German GP prize in 1964 from pole.