• September 7 down the years

The greatest finish in F1 history?

The greatest finish of all time as Jackie Stewart leads home Jochen Rindt © Sutton Images

Jackie Stewart beat Jochen Rindt by 8/100ths of a second at Monza in what the Times correspondent described as the most thrilling grand prix finish he had ever seen; there were only 19/100ths of a second between first and fourth in a race where the lead changed 14 times. The win secured Stewart the drivers' championship, and he was mobbed as he climbed from his Matra-Ford. "We had an absolutely terrific scrap," he said. "I feel utterly exhausted but at this moment I could not be happier." The Times described the final seconds in gripping terms. "In an electric atmosphere, with the crowd on their toes, we waited and watched for the leaders to appear out of the south curve on the final lap. Four cars roared into view - seemingly welded together - with Stewart and Rindt wheel-to-wheel, fractionally in front of [Jean-Pierre] Beltoise and [Bruce] McLaren. It was a fairytale finish to a tremendous race that will live long in grand prix history and thousands of Italian memories."

Lewis Hamilton was controversially stripped of victory at the Belgian Grand Prix after stewards judged that he had gained an unfair advantage from passing Kimi Raikkonen after missing the chicane. Although Hamilton handed back the place immediately after the manoeuvre, stewards still ruled against him and he dropped to third as a result of a 25-second penalty. "This is motor racing and if there's a penalty then there's something wrong," Hamilton said as the stewards deliberated. "But you know what they are like." Raikkonen later crashed out and Felipe Massa took the victory from Nick Heidfeld.

David Coulthard came from sixth on the grid to win the Italian Grand Prix from Jean Alesi and Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Alesi had started from pole for only the second time in his career and maintained his lead from Frentzen and a fast-starting Coulthard. But the race would always be decided on the pit stops, and it was McLaren's slicker work that got Coulthard out ahead of the Benetton as the leaders stopped on the same lap. There followed a procession to the finish.

Third place for Niki Lauda in the Italian Grand Prix not only secured him the drivers' title but meant that Ferrari also sealed the constructors' title on home soil. Clay Regazzoni took the race victory.

Nelson Piquet led home team-mate Nigel Mansell for a Williams 1-2 with Stefan Johansson grabbing third for Ferrari. Teo Fabi and Alain Prost had qualified on the front row but problems with their respective cars meant Fabi started from the back and Prost from the pitlane. After overtaking Mansell, Piquet marched on to a dominant win to move himself back to second in the standings, five points behind Mansell.

Tony Brooks ruined the script for the Tifosi by winning the Italian Grand Prix in his Vanwall from the Ferrari duo of Mike Hawthorn and Phil Hill. A race of high attrition saw pole-sitter Stirling Moss fade from contention leaving Brooks as the sole Vanwall to spoil the Italian party, passing Hawthorn with ten laps remaining.

Alberto Ascari celebrated his and Ferrari's dominant season in style by winning the Italian Grand Prix in front of his home fans although Frolian Gonzalez made sure it was not all about Ferrari on the day by piloting his Maserati home second ahead of Luigi Villoresi and Giuseppi Farina.