GERMAN GRAND PRIX
A N SUNDAY AUGUST 4 1968, JACKIE STEWART WAS A man apart from the world he inhabited. His galaxyclass drive to win that season’s German Grand Prix was all the more remarkable as he had every
reason to sit it out. Still suffering the effects of a broken scaphoid in his right wrist which had caused him to miss the Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix, he’d finished fourth on his comeback drive at Spa. He then followed through with a brilliant wet-weather victory in the Dutch GP at Zandvoort, taking full advantage of Dunlop’s latest rain tyre to come home some 93 seconds ahead of Jean-Pierre Beltoise.
Yet by the time the NOrburgring rolled around again his wrist was still causing him major concern. And on top of that, Ferrari’s Jacky lckx had been conspicuously faster than anyone else in Friday practice before the circuit was engulfed by rain and a thick blanket of fog. Come race day it was much the same, the start being repeatedly delayed until the Grand Prix finally got underway mid-afternoon. lckx made a poor start from pole, with Graham Hill’s Lotus 49 sneaking through from the second row to lead from Chris Amon and Stewart. By Schwalbenschwanz the future knight was in the lead, plumes of spray fountaining upwards from the back of his Matra. It was the last most of his rivals saw of Stewart. The irony of this safety advocate prevailing by more than four minutes in the worst possible conditions on such a demanding circuit and nursing an injury was perhaps lost on the great man at the time, but as even his staunchest critic Jenks admitted: ‘Caracciola may have been the Regenmeister, Rosemeyer the Nebelmeister and Fangio the Ringmeister, but Stewart surely topped the lot.’ ED