• Portuguese Grand Prix 1959

'Superior' Moss dominates in the heat

Martin Williamson August 23, 1959
Phil Hill, Luigi Bazzi, Carlo Chiti and Dan Gurney with the Ferraris in the pits during the Portuguese Grand Prix © Getty Images
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Stirling Moss confirmed that when not suffering from mechanical problems he was still the man to beat with a comprehensive win at the Portuguese Grand Prix. "So superior was he," wrote the Times, "[that] from the opening lap the race lost much of its interest".

With four points separating Jack Brabham and Tony Brooks in the drivers' championship, the interest was centred on them. But neither finished in the points. Brabham survived a potentially serious crash, his Cooper somersaulting before coming to rest, and although he was taken to hospital he was discharged later in the evening. Brooks, meanwhile, was dogged throughout the weekend by engine troubles and ended well down the field.

The venue had switched from Oporto to the Monsato parkland track, but there were still tramlines and an uneven surface for the drivers to cope with. And even though the race was not started until late in the afternoon, the fierce heat was unabated and even a stiff breeze off the sea did not offer much relief. At one stage Maurice Trintignant pitted just to have a bucket of water poured over him.

As Moss effortlessly progressed "absurdly quietly", behind him there were plenty of incidents. On the sixth lap Graham Hill's Lotus span and wiped out Phil Hill's Ferrari. Both drivers escaped unhurt and trudged back to the pits together. The came Brabham's prang on the 24th lap, and near the end Dan Gurney piled into the back of Trintignant's Cooper as he braked too late. While both cars were crumpled, they managed to finish in third and fourth.

With two races remaining Brabham still held his four-point lead from Brooks with Moss still just about in the hunt a further five-and-a-half points back.

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