In 1958 Monaco, there were no barriers guarding the fans, buildings, harbour or pits
Cooper’s win in the hair-raising Monaco Grand Prix signals a new era for Formula 1
The Monaco Grand Prix is today largely a pointless endeavour, Formula 1 cars being too large and the track too narrow for overtaking.
Not so in 1958, when the cars resembled bathtubs and there were no barriers guarding the fans, buildings, harbour or pits. Also, between the tunnel and the finish line were three straights joined by only a kink and a wide hairpin, where today there are nine tricky turns.
Vanwall, BRM, Cooper and Ferrari all looked in with a shout after qualifying, while Cooper privateer Rob Walker Racing was a dark horse. Failing to qualify, meanwhile, was the Connaught of an unknown youngster named Ecclestone… All made it through lap one unscathed but for Roy Salvadori – contact with another Vanwall breaking his steering – as the scarlet car of Jean Behra led.
Soon the other of Mike Hawthorn was into second, past pole man Tony Brooks – whose Vanwall promptly spat out a spark plug – and on lap 27 into first. Not for long, though: a duel with Stirling Moss ensued, before his Vanwall, too, went awry.
More drama: Hawthorn’s tank split, giving the lead to Walker’s Maurice Trintignant, who then kept the surviving Ferraris at bay to win. This second victory for the light, rear-engined Cooper signalled that a new era of F1 was dawning.