29/12/1962

South African GP, East London. Won by Graham Hill.

East London, South Africa, It was a whole three months between the United States GP - the penultimate race of the World Championship - and the title decider at East London. In that time the teams had raced in the non-championship Mexican GP (where Ricardo Rodriguez was killed while trying to qualify one of Rob Walker's Lotuses). This was followed by two South African races in December, the first at Kyalami being won by Jim Clark and the second at Westmead going to his Team Lotus colleague Trevor Taylor. There was further tragedy for the Walker team at Westmead when Gary Hocking was killed in one of the cars. The event was to be the first World Championship South African Grand Prix and on race day there were 90,000 people present to watch the action in East London. The battle for the World title was between Graham Hill and Jim Clark and the BRM star had the advantage although the scoring system (which allowed only the best five results) meant that if Clark won the race he would take the title. Clark took pole position with Hill alongside him. The second row was shared by Jack Brabham's Brabham and Innes Ireland in the British Racing Partnership Lotus 24. John Surtees was fifth on the grid in his Lola, just ahead of Tony Maggs's Cooper. At the start Clark, went into the lead with Hill chasing. Clark was in dominant form and Hill could not keep up while the battle for third place was a lively one involving McLaren, Surtees and Maggs. After 20 laps Clark was 13 seconds ahead while Surtees disappeared with engine trouble. With 25 laps to go Clark's Lotus began to smoke and on lap 62 or 82 he came into the pits with an oil leak. Hill had, therefore, won the title and he was able to win the race as well, leading home the two Coopers of McLaren and Maggs by 50 seconds. The only other man to go the distance was Brabham in the Brabham BT3. This was the 5th win for BRM.

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