WHEN: JULY 20, 1957 WHERE: AINTREE WINNER: STIRLING MOSS/TONY BROOKS (VANWALL)
The expectation surrounding this race was huge. A British car had never won a world championship race but now we had Tony Vandervell’s Vanwalls in the hands of Stirling Moss, Tony Brooks and Stuart Lewis-evans to take on the Italian Formula 1 establishment of Ferrari and Maserati. As a schoolboy standing at the fence at Bechers, I saw the drama unfold. First Stirling led before a misfire set in. The Vanwall team’s plan B was for Stirling to take over from Tony who was still feeling the effects of a Le Mans accident a few weeks earlier. Tony was running fifth but Stirling was ninth when he resumed. Jean Behra’s leading Maserati 250F looked uncatchable as did Mike Hawthorn’s LanciaFerrari 801 in second place. Stirling broke the lap record time and again to reach fourth, directly behind Lewis-evans as they approached Bechers. Suddenly Behra’s clutch disintegrated, Hawthorn ran over debris and picked up a puncture, and the two Vanwalls were ahead. By the end of the lap, Stirling had passed Stuart and never looked back. It was a truly historic moment as Stirling took the chequered flag 21 laps later.