The XXIX Gran Premio D'Italia held at Monza, was the tenth and penultimate round of the 1958 F1 World Championship. The results of the race meant that the Constructors' Championship was settled in Italy, but the Drivers' Championship would go down to the final round in Morocco.
Oporto to Monza
Oporto to Monza
BRM had brought their three cars directly from the Portuguese Grand Prix a fortnight earlier, and these were supplemented by an older car which was only used in practise. Vanwall had similarly transported their cars directly from Oporto to Monza, apart from the engines which had been flown home for revisions. Ferrari had an advantage here being able to return to base to work on the brakes, and complete development work on a new engine, the Dino 256.
Ferrari, Maserati, BRM and Vanwall had all done testing work at the track in the lead up to the Grand Prix.
Practise took place on the Friday and Saturday afternoons, and the teams worked up gradually towards their best pace. As often happens, the grid was decided in a mad dash at the end of practise on Saturday. The result of which was that Moss and Brooks would start first and second for Vanwall. Hawthorn was third in his Ferrari, and Lewis-Evans fourth in the other Vanwall. Then came the other three Ferraris of Gendebien, von Trips and Hill, and the three BRMs of Behra, Schell and Bonnier.
Autodromo Nazionale di Monza
The "Temple of Speed" at Monza is of course one of the enduring classics of motor sport, and is the undisputed home of the Italian Grand Prix, hosting the event for all but one year since 1949. Built in 1922 in the Royal Villa of Monza Park by the Milan Automobile Club, Monza was only the third purpose built circuit in the world.
Like any race track with a history as important and long lasting as Monza's, the circuit has seen many revisions to its layout, and its fair share of tragedy. Over the years Monza has claimed the lives of 52 drivers and 35 spectators, and of course each tragedy was followed by track revisions.
Monza like any other circuit has had to adapt. It was always known as a high speed circuit, and it still is. But it has seen the introduction of chicanes at various points in order to make it safer, and the fastest banked oval section has remained largely unused in fifty years.
In 1958 the track configuration used would be largely recognisable as the modern circuit, but without the chicanes.
Monza Ninco Track Plan
Footprint :- 5.50 x 3.07m
Lanes :- 2
Lane Length :- 13.97m
Track :- Ninco
29th Gran Premio D'Italia
1958 Italian Grand Prix
Phil Hill made a blistering start in his first proper Grand Prix, leaping from seventh on the grid to lead the race at the first corner. Hawthorne hesitated, and Gendebien was left standing. Schell was rear ended by von Trips approaching Lesmo and both crashed out.
By the end of lap five, six cars had already retired. Hawthorn had taken the lead and was followed closely by Hill, Moss, Evans, Brooks and Behra.
By lap 18, Hill had dropped back after a tyre change, Brooks had also dropped back after pitting with an oil leak, and Moss had retired with gearbox trouble. The Ferrari of Hawthorn now had a clear seven second lead over Lewis-Evans in the Vanwall and Behra in the BRM.
By lap 30, Hawthorn's lead was looking secure, and his victory likely. Lewis-Evans was dropping back with his engine overheating, and Behra was suffering from brake problems.
But almost unnoticed, Tony Brooks had climbed back up to fifth place, and was lapping quicker than Hawthorn. After a series of tyre changes for the leaders, Brooks was up to second, but Hawthorn had stabilised the gap at around eight seconds.
On lap 50 Hawthorn seemed secure, but in the next few laps his clutch began to slip, and Brooks closed in relentlessly. On lap 60 Brooks overtook the ailing Ferrari and went on to take the victory. Hawthorn clung on to take second, and his team mate Phil Hill took the final podium place.
BRM had a very disappointing race with none of their three cars finishing. Harry Schell had been rear ended, Jo Bonnier retired with a transmission problem, and Jean Behra had a clutch problem.
In the championship Stirling Moss's retirement allowed Hawthorn to establish a clear gap of eight points heading into the final race. But Brooks' victory gave Vanwall the Constructors' Championship.