This weekend the Formula 1 circus makes its way to Silverstone for the 2016 British Grand Prix. At a time when newer ‘facilities’ are joining the calendar, it’s gratifying to see that after 66 years – give or take a hiccup here or there – Silverstone remains among F1’s most elite racing weekends. As well it should, given the history and unforgettable moments it’s seen over the years…
1. 1958 – The Gentleman Racer
Peter Collins never quite hit the heady heights both his contemporaries and his rivals thought him capable. Not for him the pressures of championship titles, the racing, tough but fair, was all that interested the Brit.
Such was the mentality in the 1958 race at Silverstone, during which Collins, having started sixth on the grid, drove the wheels off his Ferrari 246 to overhaul Vanwall driver – and championship leader – Stirling Moss to keep Ferrari teammate Mike Hawthorn’s championship aspirations alive. A solid game plan it turned out to be too, the Vanwall’s engine eventually giving up the ghost, and Ferrari – having dispatched the British ‘garagistas’ – sailing to a 1-2 result, Collins ahead of Hawthorn.
In a bittersweet reminder of F1’s brutal beginnings, Collins’ greatest Grand Prix victory would also be his last, the Brit succumbing to injuries after a terrible crash at the very next race at the Nürburgring. Collins’ job was done though, teammate Hawthorn collecting his F1 title at the end of the year and promptly quitting the sport for good in tribute to his departed countryman.