• British Grand Prix 1958

Collins wins battle of British

Martin Williamson July 19, 1958
Runner-up Mike Hawthorn toasts Ferrari team-mate and race winner Peter Collins © Getty Images
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Peter Collins thrilled a massive crowd at Silverstone by becoming the fourth English driver that season to win a grand prix, leading home team-mate Mike Hawthorn by 24 seconds. Within a fortnight Collins would become the latest in a depressingly long line of Ferrari drivers to lose his life.

With British manufacturers and drivers dominating, and with Hawthorn and Stirling Moss joint leaders in the drivers' championship, a record attendance was guaranteed, and when Moss put his Vanwall on pole he was odds-on to take the race. But Collins took the early lead while Hawthorn settled in behind Moss, Ferrari's tactics being to hope the Vanwall would fail trying to match Collins' pace. On the 25th lap the plan worked as Moss' car spluttered into the pits and was immediately retired.

But Hawthorn was unable to get close to Collins, and his own chances ended when he had to pit with oil problems. He resumed more than a minute adrift, and while he clawed back half that time and in so doing set the fastest lap, he was still 24 seconds adrift at the finish.

Bernie Ecclestone was again on the entry list with his Connaught but decided to let Jack Fairman drive it. It proved a wise decision because the car retired early with ignition problems

Martin Williamson is managing editor of digital media ESPN EMEA

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Martin Williamson is managing editor of digital media ESPN EMEA Martin Williamson, who grew up in the era of James Hunt, Niki Lauda and sideburns, became managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group in 2007 after spells with Sky Sports, Sportal and Cricinfo