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By the narrowest of margins



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From bottom to top: Jochen Rindt, Jackie Stewart, Piers Courage, Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme, Jean-Pierre Beltoise, John Surtees, Jack Brabham, Graham Hill, Jackie Oliver, Pedro Rodriguez, Jacky Ickx, Silvio Moser


From bottom to top: Lotus-Cosworth 49, Matra-Cosworth MS80, Brabham-Cosworth BT26, McLaren-Cosworth M7A, McLaren-Cosworth M7A, Matra-Cosworth MS80, BRM P139, Brabham-Cosworth BT26, Lotus-Cosworth 49, BRM P139, Ferrari 312/69, Brabham-Cosworth BT26, Brabham-Cosworth BT24




1969 Italian GP


After having won with the largest of margins a year earlier at the 'Ring, at Monza in 1969 Jackie Stewart powered to the victory which stood as the one with the narrowest of margins for years.

Monza-before-the-Varianti has always been a slipstreaming event pur sang. The 1969 edition was fought over hardest, with the first three finishers covered by a mere 0,17 seconds. This is a picture of the field thundering down the Rettifilio straight down to Curva Grande just after the start. A battle then ensued which saw an abundance of lead changes between the first seven cars of Stewart, Rindt, Siffert, McLaren, Courage, Hulme and Beltoise. After they hit trouble Hulme and Siffert dropped off which left five cars slipstreaming to a nerve-wrecking finish. Entering the final Parabolica for the last time Beltoise had taken the lead with Rindt stuck to his gearbox, hunting him down through the fast corner.

Meanwhile, Jackie Stewart, third in the group, had placed himself perfectly coming out of Parabolica and inched slowly past Rindt who in turn had ducked out of Beltoise's slipstream. Three abreast they hurtled onto the straight. At the finish line Stewart took the win with 0,08 seconds to his advantage. In the process Beltoise was relegated to third, tracking Rindt by 0,09 seconds. It had been a spectacle which nowadays can only be seen in a 125cc motor cycle Grand Prix...

Stewart's record margin of eight hundreths lasted until the 1982 Austrian GP when Elio De Angelis beat Keke Rosberg by 0,05 seconds.