It wasn’t long after Jim Clark’s run of British Grand Prix success came to an end that the national anthem was once again played for the podium celebrations at Silverstone. The driver taking the laurel wreath was Jackie Stewart, a pilot who would go on to become a triple world champion and one of the sport’s most well-known ambassadors. Stewart won the British Grand Prix twice, first in 1969 and again two years later in 1971.
Stewart enjoyed both his British successes in two of his three championship winning years, and each victory came at the Silverstone circuit. The 1969 win was helped by the Tyrrell-run Matra-Cosworth and the Scot dominated the grand prix, lapping every other competitor, despite not starting from pole position and crashing heavily during a practice session. The premiere spot on the grid went to Jochen Rindt, although Stewart was able to join the Austrian driver on the front row.
The pair would battle for most of the race, driving nose to tail and thrilling the spectators. Unfortunately for Rindt, he suffered a problem with the rear wing end-plates on his Lotus partway through and had to pit. Further on in the race Rindt once again had to make an unscheduled pit stop as his car was running out of fuel. All this meant that Jochen eventually finished fourth and allowed Stewart some breathing space at the front.
Stewart’s second and final British Grand Prix victory happened in 1971, again at Silverstone and again in a Tyrrell-run car. As with the 1969 race, Stewart was second on the grid, this time alongside Clay Regazzoni in the Ferrari. Stewart took the fastest lap en-route to the chequered flag, winning with a margin of 36 seconds over Ronnie Peterson.
The race wasn’t easy for Jackie though as the Scot slipped from second to third at the start, Jacky Ickx managing to pass the Tyrrell to make it a one-two for Ferrari at the front. However, the following lap Stewart managed to find his way past Ickx and two laps after that the Scot took Regazzoni at Stowe corner. From lap four onwards, Stewart controlled the race while other major runners behind him retired or couldn’t keep pace.
Stewart would go on to take a third world championship before retiring in 1973. In his latter years as a driver and even to this day, Jackie is a great advocate of safety in the sport, having seen many of his friends die at the wheel of a Formula One car and himself having been in a fair few scrapes in his time.
In the late-nineties Stewart rekindled his relationship with Ford and formed his own Formula One team with his son, promoting the Paul Stewart Formula Three and Formula 3000 team to the top echelon of international motor sport. Stewart sold the team to Ford in 1999 who in turn sold the outfit to Red Bull in 2004.
Stewart still attends races as still wears his tarten cap and crisp white shirts, speaking on all manner of motor sport-related subjects. His impeccable manners and authoritive voice warms him to many of the sport’s broadcasters and although Jackie no longer heads up the BRDC (who own Silverstone), Stewart is still as passionate as ever about racing and the British Grand Prix.
To read more in this series of articles, click the tag ‘British Winners’.
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