Today marks fifty years since John Surtees claimed his first victory in Formula One, sparking the beginning of a glittering career in the sport that would see him win the world championship just one year later.
Surtees is the only person to have won a world title on two and four wheels, having become grand prix motorcycle champion on a 500CC bike in 1956, 1958, 1959 and 1960 before turning to Formula One.
Surtees took to F1 like a duck to water, coming second in his second race and securing pole position for just his third grand prix, but it wasn’t until 1963 that he eventually stood on top of the podium for the first time.
Until 1976, the German Grand Prix was held on the mammoth 14-mile Nürburgring circuit which was eventually deemed to be unsafe following an accident that nearly claimed Niki Lauda’s life.
For Surtees though, the circuit was very fruitful indeed in 1963 as he pulled away from the rest of the field alongside compatriot Jim Clark. Their race-long battle eventually came to an unfortunate end for Clark after he suffered an engine problem which saw him lose one of his eight cylinders, allowing Surtees to pass in his Ferrari and pull away to win by over one minute.
The race also saw a strong showing from the American drivers in the field, with Richie Ginther and Jim Hall both finishing in the points whilst Dan Gurney retired in a race that saw just ten drivers finish.
Surtees won his only Formula One world title in 1964 before retiring in 1972. He is widely recognized as being a legend of motorsport thanks to his remarkable feat of winning titles on two and four wheels and there are calls for him to be given a knighthood by The Queen. Regardless of his title though, Surtees will always remain a firm favorite in the F1 paddock and a motoring legend.
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).
However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.
However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.
Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.
In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth.
On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).
Check out the above video.
Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with Formula 1’s legendary Monaco Grand Prix.
Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The final part of the tripleheader of racing is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the 400-lap, 600-mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Newly-named NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).