He returned for the British GP at Aintree and qualified on the front row despite feeling unwell following his Le Mans accident. Vanwall team-mate Moss led at the start but developed a misfire. Clearly not well, Brooks had slipped to ninth so the drivers swapped machines. The sick engine finally expired with Brooks at the wheel but Moss charged back through the field. He was running fourth on lap 70 when Jean Behra’s leading Maserati 250F blew its clutch, Hawthorn punctured a tyre on the debris and Moss overtook team-mate Stuart Lewis-Evans. In a matter of a few eventful minutes, the Brooks/Moss Vanwall had gone from fourth to first and Stirling completed the remaining laps to record the first world championship GP victory for a British car.
Better was to come in 1958 when Brooks proved the perfect team-mate for Moss. He was fastest in qualifying at Monaco and won three times when his countryman’s car failed. Brooks was third in the world championship and helped Vanwall clinch the inaugural constructors’ title.
Despite that success, Vanwall withdrew from the sport at the end of the season so Brooks made a late switch to Ferrari for 1959. His season began with another second place at Monaco despite Brooks being ill due to petrol fumes. He used the prodigious straightline speed of the Ferrari Dino 246 to score start-to-finish victories at Reims and Avus and trail Jack Brabham by just four points after that German GP win. But a broken piston at the start of the Italian GP thwarted his title challenge and Brooks finished as championship runner-up.
Now married and with a successful garage business in Weybridge, Brooks raced a year-old Cooper T51-Climax for the private Yeoman Credit team in 1960 with fourth at Monaco his best result. He joined BRM for the following season and was a fine third at Watkins Glen on what was his final GP appearance. Brooks retired to concentrate on his business and his young family.
By the time he sold the garage in 1993, it was a Ford main dealership employing over 100 people. Brooks remained in the background, although he was put into the spotlight at the 2008 Goodwood revival, which celebrated his talent with a line-up that included most of the cars he had ever raced.
Tony Brooks died, aged 90, on May 3, 2022.