So the Monaco Historic was last week. Must have been quite an event, bringing the P34 back to Monaco!
I understand Serie F was plagued by heavy downpour. How did you fare, did you have a good one? Did the car perform?
And do you have other plans for 2012?
Yes, a pretty good weekend overall.
I won the Grid B race on Sunday morning which was for 1959 to 1962 Grand Prix cars in the 1959 Cooper T51. I qualified on pole in the car but was pushed all the way from the start by Duncan Dayton in a Lotus 16 who is a very accomplished driver. The gap was never more than a second and he was constantly in my mirrors. He made a lunge on me into Rascasse near the end of the race as we came up on a bunch of around 5 back-markers. He went left and I think made contact with the barrier, I saw him coming and went right. I think he had some suspension damage as he spun at St Devote and my team showed me a "CALM!!" pit board and an 11 second gap next lap past and I knew the pressure was off.
It was an incredible feeling to win at Monaco, especially as Bruce McLaren had won in a Cooper in 1962 at Monaco, and here I was 60 years on in his 1959 Cooper T51 works car. Amazing.
As I race under a British licence they had my nationality wrong, raised the Union Jack and played God Save the Queen but it was a very special win!
I also put Chris Amon's 1970 March 701 on pole for the Grid E race (1969-1972 3 litre Formula One cars) but was taken out by a back-marker on my last flying lap in qualifying so couldn't race. It was a pretty heavy impact on the main straight at over 100mph into the barriers but luckily I walked away and the car is repairable. Still it was a real shame as it is the first time the car had turned a wheel since Derek Bell drove it in the 1971 Argentinian Grand Prix for Tom Wheatcroft, owner of Donington Circuit. It cost Tom so much money that he had the car hung on the wall in the Donington Collection Museum after Argentina so it couldn't cost him any more money!!. I had been behind the chap who hit me for 3 corners but he said he had not seen me or the waved blue flags. As I went past him he moved right and his right front wheel hit my left rear - I was basically past him. This highlights the danger of an event such as this with people who don't race these cars often and with the excitement and adrenaline are unaware of what is happening around them. There was a massive speed differential too - my best time a 1.39, the chap who hit me a 2.03. Scary when there is unforgiving armco all around and no run-off areas!
And in the last race of the weekend and the most hotly contested, I drove the Tyrrell 6 wheeler in the Grid F race for 3 litre Formula One cars from 1975-1978. I had gone very well in the first practice session on Saturday and qualified 4th. The later qualifying session the front running cars including many professional drivers went a lot quicker and I managed to qualify 10th for Sunday afternoons race. The heavens opened with 15 minutes to go before the race after warm and sunny weather all weekend so we put wet tyres on the car and a wet setup and I went out with a lot of trepidation. The car was a huge hit with the crowds all weekend and has such a well known and continuous history having also spent a good deal of its life in the Donington Collection museum so I was very nervous about it being damaged. I drove a very clean and sensible race to finish 5th overall and to end a great weekend on a high.
The organisers run a Gala Ball on Sunday evening and prize giving and it was an amazing feeling to receive my cup and a beautiful watch from Jacky Ickx.