Coming into the 1968 Formula One season, the result of the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch already seemed beyond question. Two-time Formula One Champion Jim Clark had already won his home race five times in six years, and the pace of the Lotus team’s new 49B challenger suggested nothing less than victory. Then came that Hockenheim Formula Two race in April.
Suddenly the race was wide open. Despite mild drizzle before the start, former-Champion Graham Hill and new Lotus team-mate Jackie Oliver immediately leapt into the lead, Jo Siffert’s privately entered Lotus 49 following close behind. Mechanical woes however would soon strike the leading duo down, leaving a surprised Siffert suddenly in prime spot for victory. A late-race charge from a rejuvenated Chris Amon in the Ferrari 312 would ultimately prove unsuccessful, Siffert producing a devastating pace to break the Brands Hatch lap record and seal his first F1 victory.
It seemed fitting then that the first British Grand Prix after Clark’s death should be won by a Lotus. Bittersweet irony would strike again though in 1971 when Siffert, having added a second Grand Prix win to his name that same year in Austria, suffered fatal injuries during a non-Championship race at the same circuit in which he’d scored that first victory.