Max Verstappen won the Formula One race held in Abu Dhabi on December 12, 2021, and became the new champion due to his victory in extremes on the race’s final lap.
The Dutchman was the 34th driver to accomplish such a feat in the highest motor racing category after winning the race.
Nevertheless, and as was just mentioned, throughout the 71 years that this championship has been around, there have been 33 other people who have enjoyed the savory flavor of victory before him.
Jim Clark, who during the decade of the 1960s was one of the leading actors of the Grand Circus and, as a result, merits a tribute in this automotive website known as Motorbli, is a member of that exclusive club.
Following this brief introduction, it is time to delve into the figure of Jim Clark in greater depth to understand better his legacy in this sport and the tales he lived in the flesh, both on and off the circuits.
On March 4, 1936, Jim Clark was born in the town of Kilmany, which is situated in the region of Fife (Scotland), .in the warm embrace of a very modest family because the vast majority of its members were agricultural laborers.
Until the age of 13, when the competition bug bit him, he spent his childhood in his embrace without thinking about anything other than working together on tasks.
He was the youngest of his five brothers and the only boy in a family that included four other brothers.
Because of all of these factors, it appeared as though he was destined to take over the family farm from his parents and become the head of the business.
The fact is that they did not want little Jim to drive vehicles for any purpose other than transportation and any other activities necessary for the family business run by the Clarks.
After giving up his secret rides with tractors and the family car, he defied his fate by purchasing a Sunbeam Talbot to compete in rallies and other activities related to the motor world, such as local races.
He did this as an act of defiance against his predetermined future. On this journey, his excellent friend Scott Watson was a guide for him and was by his side the entire time.
Even he couldn’t believe how talented he was at steering wheel controls. In addition, as was mentioned earlier, it was frowned upon in his family for him to compete because it took attention away from the farm.
He showed such talent at the controls of a steering wheel that even he couldn’t believe it. On the other hand, his demonstrated ability could not remain unchanged.
On December 26, 1958, Clark’s life was about to take an unexpected and dramatic turn for the better.
This occurred during a race in which he competed against Colin Chapman, the founder of the Lotus Formula 1 team, in a Lotus Elite.
Chapman was the driver of the other car. Both came in first and second, with Chapman taking first place and Clark coming in second.
Despite this, the mandatory was taken aback by Clark’s performance and decided to include him on the Lotus Formula Junior team.
However, before this pairing materialized, the team manager with which Clark had raced locally, Jock Mcbain, considered buying Clark a Lotus.
However, he changed his mind when he saw Graham Hill lose a tire in an Aston Martin, which was a disaster and reason enough for them to drop the racing project.
Br/>br />br />br />br The first formula is as follows: On June 6, 1960, Jim Clark made his debut behind the wheel of a single-seater vehicle at the Netherlands Grand Prix, which was at the time the most prestigious motorsport event in the world.
In that race, he took over for John Surtees, who was still running for the motorcycle world championship.
After all of this, he climbed into the driver’s seat of a Lotus 18 and qualified in the eleventh position for the starting grid.
He even ended up finishing in fifth place. Everything was under control until a technical issue forced him into retirement. After that, everything seemed to be back in order.
His second appearance was at the Belgian Grand Prix, held at Spa-Francorchamps as customary. This is the track where he first made his name known.
Due to its length of 14 kilometers at the time, it was considered one of the world’s most dangerous racetracks.
As evidence of this, the driver Chris Bristow and his teammate Alan Stacey were killed during that weekend’s competition.
Clark finished the race in fifth place out of the six competitors who took part in the event at the Belgian track, which earned him his first points.
Despite the significant emotional impact that the race had on him, Clark finished the competition. A result that he obtained again on the subsequent date.
The Grand Prix of Portugal (GP of Portugal), which was held at the Boavista circuit at the time, was the event that gave him his first taste of true happiness in the Grand Circus.
After starting in eighth place, he could work his way up to the third step of the podium, finishing just behind Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren, both of whom were driving Cooper-Climax vehicles.
Despite this, after that season’s culmination, retirement crossed his mind due to the tragic events that had occurred in Belgium at that time.
When he was unintentionally involved in another serious accident the following year, specifically during the Italian Grand Prix held at Monza, it served as an additional motivation for him to retire from the sport.
One of the vehicles competing for the championship, the Ferrari, driven by the German Wolfgang von Trips, collided with another competitor’s vehicle and was subsequently launched into one of the spectator grandstands.
Tragically, this incident claimed the lives of 14 people, including von Trips, who was vying for the title with his teammate Phil Hill when they both passed away.
Clark’s first serious attempt to win the championship came in 1962, the year in which the competition was held.
That same year, he won his first race in Belgium, which was a fluke of fate, and his first pole position, which he achieved in the picture-perfect environment of the Monaco Grand Prix.
This victory was followed by two more in the United Kingdom and the United States, which allowed him to finish as the runner-up just behind the British competitor Graham Hill.
On the other hand, even though the most recent race in South Africa could alter the course of events, an oil spill prevented this from happening.
In the previous season, Clark had experienced similar issues up to four times, including in very advantageous racing situations, such as when he was at the front of the field. But his good fortune was about to change very quickly.
He began the 1963 season by claiming four pole positions and four victories in the first five races, giving him an unbeatable start.
Even tho everything appeared smoothly for Clark; the Scot did not shy away from adding a touch of drama to the events leading up to his first F1 title.
Clark displayed his best form once more at the Belgian Grand Prix, even though he was racing on a slippery asphalt surface due to the rain that fell at Spa earlier in the day.
He began the race in the eighth position on the grid, but he won with overwhelming authority.
He beat the runner-up, Bruce McLaren, by a margin of four minutes and 54 seconds, and McLaren was the only competitor who did not get lapped by the flying Scotsman.
As was to be expected, he won his first championship in Italy’s Grand Circus, precisely in the exact location where he was involved in the tragic accident a couple of years earlier.
In addition, he triumphed on that particular day to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that he was the most capable competitor on the track.
All of this occurred with three rounds left to play, which led to seven wins for his locker and allowed him to tie Alberto Ascari’s record of getting all possible points in the championship.
This was possible because the winner was determined based on the six best results, which were taken into account.
It was a record that remained unbroken for almost a quarter of a century. It was not until 1988 that Brazilian Ayrton Senna, driving a McLaren MP4/4, surpassed it thanks to his eight victories. Senna did this while competing in Formula One.
The following pattern continued almost verbatim until the second title: a year of ill fortune with up to five different mechanical problems each. In the same number of races, he arrived with a chance to win the final one but did not take it; however, the following year, he was victorious again.
An oil leak on the penultimate lap prevented him from revalidating the crown, even though one of his competitors, Graham Hill, had abandoned the race and the other contender, John Surtees, was in fourth place, a combination that would have given him the bicampeonato but for bad luck.
He could have won his second consecutive title in Mexico, but an oil leak on the penultimate lap prevented him from doing so.
Clark’s mechanical issues appeared to be a thing of the past in 1965, as evidenced by his six wins in the first seven races, re-editing what he had achieved a couple of years earlier: 100% of the possible points with three races to spare.
In 1965, luck was again on Clark’s side, and he was able to win his second Formula One championship trophy and take home the award.
Because he was competing in the Indianapolis 500, he could not attend the Monaco Grand Prix.
It was his third try, and he proved the adage that the third time is the charm by winning by almost two laps over his closest competitor and taking the lead for most of the race on the American oval (190 of the 200 total laps).
Even though he had one victory during the 1966 season (the United States Grand Prix), he could only score 16 points and finished sixth in the drivers’ championship even though he had won one race during the season (the United States Grand Prix).
His Lotus continued to suffer from mechanical issues, and this pattern continued in 1967, preventing him from becoming a three-time champion and rendering his previous four victories pointless.
However, he equaled Juan Manuel Fangio’s record of 24 achievements, which was the record at the time, by winning the final round of competition in Mexico in 1967.
The following year, he surpassed Fangio’s record by winning the first race in South Africa in 1968.
Even though he got off to a strong start, he was driving an F2 when he was involved in a fatal accident on April 7, 1968, at Hockenheim.
Before the second date, which was scheduled to take place in Spain on May 12, several drivers decided to compete in that event, which took place in that German circuit.
He passed away at the age of 32, having left behind an indelible mark and a fond memory in the hearts of those who knew him.
Graham Hill dedicated his victory that year as a teammate to someone who had been with them until that tragic moment. A true legend.
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