• British Grand Prix 1959

Brabham and Cooper take the plaudits

Martin Williamson July 18, 1959
Jack Brabham (No. 12) leads away Roy Salvadori (No. 2) and Harry Schell (No. 8) at the start © Getty Images

Jack Brabham moved clear in the drivers' championship with victory at the British Grand Prix, his second of the season, but, as the Times noted, the absence of Ferrari "left the race all but shorn of the dashing internationalism to be expected".

Ferrari had been forced to stay at home because of a strike by Italian metal workers, but there was some good news when Tony Brooks, who was expected to miss out as a result, was offered a mothballed Vanwall. As it was, the car lasted 13 laps before suffering an ignition failure. But it meant the field was dominated by British manufacturers, bolstered by the first appearance of the Aston Martin team.

The race itself gave a large Aintree crowd value for money, with the lap record being broken several times even though Brabham's Cooper-Climax lead throughout. Stirling Moss in a BRM moved steadily up from sixth to second, but any hopes of overhauling Brabham ended when he was forced to pit for a tyre change and then 16 laps later for fuel.

As Brabham cruised to victory, Moss and Bruce McLaren engaged in a superb tussle for second. Moss overtook on the 68th lap but McLaren refused to be shaken off and doggedly sat in his slipstream, attempting to dart past at the death but Moss clung on by 0.2 seconds.

With two of the three podium paces, it was a great day for John Cooper and his little Surbiton-based concern, even though he was ill and had had to remain at home.

Aston Martin also had a good debut, with Roy Salvadori matching Brabham's qualifying time and going on to finish sixth.

The result meant Brabham had 27 points, well clear of Brooks on 14.

Martin Williamson is managing editor of digital media ESPN EMEA

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Martin Williamson is managing editor of digital media ESPN EMEA Martin Williamson, who grew up in the era of James Hunt, Niki Lauda and sideburns, became managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group in 2007 after spells with Sky Sports, Sportal and Cricinfo