Graham Hill made history by winning the Monaco Grand Prix for the third successive year, and in doing so swept into the lead in the world championship. Jim Clark did not race, deciding to compete in the Indianapolis 500 instead, which he duly won for Lotus.
After a break of five months, the Formula One circus rolled into Monte Carlo with Hill hot favourite, especially with Clark out of the picture. He started as he meant to go on by clinching pole ahead of Jack Brabham and Jackie Stewart. Hill built up an early lead and, with Stewart just behind him, held off the challenge of Surtees and Bandini in the Ferraris for the first 25 laps.
He then raced out of the tunnel into the chicane only to find Bob Anderson's Brabham in his path, and had to shoot down the escape road to avoid it, spinning as he went. This dropped him back to fifth and Stewart held the lead for five laps until his BRM hit an oil patch and he spun violently, taking a chunk out of one wheel rim.
On lap 34 Brabham squeezed past Bandini's Ferrari and soon began to pull away. Hill, unperturbed by his earlier spin, put his foot down and set his sights on Surtees, who was lying third.
Brabham dropped out on the 43rd lap with a seized engine and Hill was gradually catching the Ferraris of Surtees and Bandini. On lap 50, Hill broke the lap record, which was then broken no less than 11 times, between the BRM and the Ferraris. By the 64th lap, Hill had passed Surtees and was bearing down on Bandini, finally reclaiming the lead at the Station hairpin.
Within five laps, Hill had pulled out a two second lead over Bandini and Surtees upped his speed, overtaking his team-mate and setting Hill in his sights. Hill, though, was equally determined, and fighting what he later described as "very tricky steering", held off Surtees until the Ferrari ran out of fuel on the last lap and Hill cruised to the chequered flag, while Stewart profited from Surtees' misfortune to take his first podium.
There was a moment of major drama when Paul Hawkins, a young Australian driving a privately entered Lotus, spun off the road coming out of the chicane. He crashed through the straw bales and plunged into the harbour where his car landed upside down and sank like a stone.
Luckily, he was able to scramble out of his seat unharmed and he swam to the quayside where he hung on to mooring chains until a Red Cross boat rescued him. No car had fallen into the harbour since Alberto Ascari's Lancia suffered the same fate in 1955. He too survived, surfacing before being helped into one of the safety boats.
Hill now led the world championship by four points from Clark and Surtees, with Bandini in fourth and Formula One debutant Stewart in fifth.