• Monaco Grand Prix

Stewart opens with Monaco victory

ESPNF1 Staff
May 22, 1966
John Surtees leads Jackie Stewart and the rest of the field in to Ste Devote © Sutton Images

Jackie Stewart won the season-opening Monaco Grand Prix, driving a two-litre V-8 BRM, with three quarters of a minute to spare over the Ferrari of Lorenzo Bandini. It was an attritional afternoon with only four cars completing the race, including all three BRMs. Ironically, although this was the first event under the new three-litre formula, none of the three-litre entries went the distance.

Stewart broke the track record in practice, only for Jim Clark and then John Surtees to better it later on. Clark, however, made a shocking start and found himself at the back of the 16-car field, but showed his brilliance by fighting his way back to challenge the leaders.

The early front-runner was Surtees, but after 13 laps Stewart pounced and passed, and within another lap Surtees' Ferrari limped to a halt with differential problems. That left Jochen Rindt scrapping with Graham Hill for second, with Bandini right behind. Within two laps Bandini overtook both, and with Clark now within striking distance of the leading pack, a real battle seemed likely.

Hill eventually passed Rindt - as did Clark - and then Hill and Clark raced wheel-to-wheel for more than a lap as Clark edged his Lotus ahead, only to suffer a broken suspension which saw him pile into the crash barriers.

By this time Rindt had joined the retirees, and although a few cars re-entered the fray after long stints in the pits, it was Stewart who maintained a comfortable lead despite losing fifth gear early on. "It made things a little more difficult on the uphill sections," he admitted.

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