Graham Hill once again started the grand prix season with a win at Monaco in his BRM, his second in succession. He had a "hell of a scrap", as he described it, with Jim Clark, but managed to hold off the world champion until Clark pitted with oil pressure problems.
With the collapse of the ATS team, former champion Phil Hill had moved to Cooper, who had not had a grand prix victory since Bruce McLaren won at Monaco two years earlier. The Coopers were still off the pace, and Hill and McLaren both started on the fifth row of the grid, behind Clark on pole.
With the beautiful street circuit shimmering in the Mediterranean sun, Clark went flat out from the flag and raced into the lead, despite hitting a straw bale at the first chicane. He was closely followed by Jack Brabham and the two BRMs of Graham Hill and Dan Gurney.
On the 12th lap, Gurney squeezed past Hill on the inside of the gasworks hairpin and a lap later overtook Brabham at the same spot, giving him the chance to chase after Clark's Lotus. Hill soon got past Brabham to regain third, while John Surtees and McLaren retired with a broken gearbox and oil leak respectively.
On lap 36, Clark had to pit because his rear anti-roll bar was hanging loose. He only stopped for 15 seconds to have the bar ripped off, but this allowed Gurney to take the lead with Graham Hill sneaking through into second. Clark rejoined the race just behind Hill and the three of them engaged in a furious battle with just two seconds separating their cars.
Just after half way, Hill overtook Gurney, setting a new lap record in the process. On the 62nd lap Gurney was forced out with gearbox problems, leaving Clark just over four seconds behind Hill. The gap soon began to widen as Clark's Lotus started losing ground, and four laps from the end it limped into the pits with a blown engine.
Hill sailed home ahead of his team-mate Richie Ginther, making it a BRM one-two for the second year running. Lotus's new recruit Peter Arundell had a great debut, coming in third, ahead of Clark, who was classified fourth even though he didn't finish.
"It was an extremely hard race", said Hill afterwards, "but the car went perfectly well - except that later on I saw fluctuating oil pressure and began to think I would not finish. Fortunately, I was able to slow down at the end when Clark went out."