Its other early victims included: Amon’s Matra; Dave Walker, briefly making hay while the clouds glowered before sailing straight on in the 4wd Lotus turbine; and Ferrari’s Mario Andretti, on his first lap out of the pits after a last-minute fuel pump drama.
Rodríguez and Ickx, however, were already by then in a different world/league/race: red in tooth and claw, not yellow in streak and flag.
That’s how it looked at least. Stewart, accused by Denis Jenkinson of Motor Sport of imitating a typical Swiss Sunday motorist, would later insist that he had been on the limit in finishing 11th, five laps in arrears.
Three years before, his Matra’s Dunlops sporting wide central drainage grooves, he had lapped Rodríguez (once) and Ickx (twice) in winning another storm-tossed Dutch GP.
This time, however, the boots were on the other foot.
Having strangled the ascendant ‘12s’ at Monaco – with front brakes only – and at Montjüich Park – on newfangled slicks – Stewart was poised to attempt more of the same from the outside of a front row that also included Rodríguez and, setting pole in Friday’s dry, Ickx.
Instead he lost his grip entirely on far too hard a compound.
Stewart would be dismayed to discover that Goodyear representative Leo Mehl had done a runner, post-haste, post-race. (He eventually spotted him hiding behind a pillar at Schiphol airport! By which time all heat had been removed from the situation.)
Firestone’s ‘knobblies’ in contrast caught light under a slate sky, amid a North Sea fret.
Rodríguez and Ickx were lapping backmarkers – Stewart and fellow world champions Graham Hill and Denny Hulme included – within 10 laps, scything past with the haughty skill and daring that they so often exhibited in long-distance enduros.
Regularly they skirted the rim at Tarzan, too. Always they pulled it back from the brink.
Gradually a pattern emerged from the mist: the BRM was the quicker through the fast sweepers out in the dunes; the Ferrari appeared to have more traction from the tighter corners.
Ickx, his flat-12 smoothly torquey, was able to begin the climb towards Hunserug in measured fashion in third gear; Rodríguez, his V12 fluffing otherwise, was fishtailing wastefully in first.
The Belgian retook the lead in this fashion on lap 30.
And would have to do so again on lap 32.
This was a final show of defiance, however, and Ickx would control the remainder of the race to win by 8sec.
Ferrari team-mate Clay Regazzoni, who left his Tarzan adventure until lap 65, was a lapped third; March’s Ronnie Peterson was doubled twice in finishing fourth.
Goodyear’s best finisher was Jean-Pierre Beltoise’s Matra: ninth