Graham Hill padded his tenuous lead in the 1964 Driver's Championship over John Surtees and Jim Clark by bringing his BRM home first at The Glen for the second straight year. Surtees was second for Ferrari, 30.5 seconds back.
The Ferrari team brought four cars for Surtees and Lorenzo Bandini, but they were not in the usual "flaming red" that the race program advertised. Enzo Ferrari had surrendered his entrant's license in a dispute at Monza, so the cars were entered by Luigi Chinetti's North American Racing Team and were painted in North American racing blue and white. The only entrant missing from the 20 who were invited was American A.J. Foyt, who was offered a works BRM drive for the race, but decided against it.
The Watkins Glen Grand Prix Corporation was so pleased with the new track surface that had been laid down that they believed a 120 mph lap (1:08.9) was possible, and they had 120 bottles of champagne ready for the first one to do it! While the three remaining Championship contenders, along with American Dan Gurney, waged a stirring battle for the pole and broke Hill's record from the previous year, they did not come close to claiming the prize.
Colin Chapman had both an older Type 25 and the new Type 33 Lotus for Clark, but the Scot had little time to practice in the newer version by the time it was ready. He set the fastest time (1:12.65) using the old, reliable one, anyway, so he decided to use it in the race. Surtees, Gurney and Hill were all under 1:13, as well, followed by Bruce McLaren and Clark's teammate, Mike Spence.
Cool breezes and bright sun welcomed a crowd of 65,000 on Sunday to see the next to last round of a tense Championship battle. Hill led Clark by two points, with Surtees, having won two of the three previous races, just two points behind Clark in third. Clark led off the line, but Surtees and Spence quickly went past, dropping the defending Champion to third before they reached the top of the hill. After one lap, the order was Surtees, Spence, Clark, Hill, Jack Brabham, Innes Ireland, Gurney and McLaren.
Gurney quickly recovered from his poor start by getting around Ireland and Brabham. Hill briefly overtook the Lotus teammates for second spot, but then Clark seemed to take the bit between his teeth. The Scot surged past the BRM of Hill and set off after Surtees, taking the lead from the Ferrari on lap 14 as they exited the right-hander before the pits. For the next 18 laps, Clark continually drew away from Surtees. Gurney passed Spence to join Hill and Brabham in a three-way battle for third place, until Hill moved into second place by getting around Surtees on lap 31.
On lap 40, Clark's Lotus began to misfire as a result of a fuel injection problem. Surtees, then Hill and Gurney, went by before he entered the pits on lap 44. The crew spent two laps adjusting the injection system, and he rejoined in next to last spot, but stopped again after only six laps. Chapman called teammate Spence in from fourth place and replaced him with Clark, in the hopes that Clark could get ahead of Hill and Surtees and reduce the number of points they could earn. Spence continued in Clark's car, but retired it after five more laps.
Meanwhile, Hill had taken the lead back from Surtees on lap 45. When the leaders came up to lap Hill's teammate, American Richie Ginther, on lap 61, Hill's BRM seemed to have much less trouble getting by than the pursuing Ferrari and Brabham did. Surtees and Gurney got by Ginther after another lap, but by then, Hill was fifty yards ahead and pulling away. Two laps later, Surtees spun while lapping another backmarker, and on lap 70, Gurney retired from second place with a broken Climax engine.
Clark was now in third, gaining on Hill by a second per lap and nearly matching his qualifying time, until the second Lotus also began sputtering, this time unable to pick up its last few gallons of fuel. He retired, having completed 102 laps, and was eventually classified seventh, out of the points. At the end, Hill and Surtees had the only healthy cars, and the Englishman claimed his second win of the season, now five points ahead of Surtees, and seven ahead of Clark in the Championship standings. Jo Siffert was third in the Rob Walker-entered Brabham, ahead of Americans Richie Ginther and Walt Hansgen, with Trevor Taylor in sixth, scoring his only point of the season.
|2||7||John Surtees||Ferrari||110||+ 30.5||2||6|
|3||22||Jo Siffert||Brabham-BRM||109||+ 1 lap||12||4|
|4||4||Richie Ginther||BRM||107||+ 3 laps||13||3|
|5||17||Walt Hansgen||Lotus-Climax||107||+ 3 laps||17||2|
|6||12||Trevor Taylor||BRP-BRM||106||+ 4 laps||15||1|
|7||2|| Mike Spence|
|Lotus-Climax||102||Out of fuel||1|
|8||14||Mike Hailwood||Lotus-BRM||101||Oil Pipe||15|
|Ret||6||Dan Gurney||Brabham-Climax||69||Oil Pressure||3|
|NC||23||Hap Sharp||Brabham-BRM||65||Not Classified||18|
|Ret||1|| Jim Clark|
- At the season's last round in Mexico, Lorenzo Bandini nudged off Hill, Clark's Lotus failed on the last lap, and Surtees claimed the title with a second place finish behind Gurney.
- This is the last Formula 1 race in which drivers shared the same car.
Standings after the raceEdit
- Notes: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings. Only best 6 results counted toward the championship. Numbers without parentheses are championship points, numbers in parentheses are total points scored.
- Doug Nye (1978). The United States Grand Prix and Grand Prize Races, 1908-1977. B. T. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-1263-1
- Tony Hogg (December, 1964). "Grand Prix of the United States". Road & Track, 61-67.
1964 Italian Grand Prix
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1964 Mexican Grand Prix
1963 United States Grand Prix
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1965 United States Grand Prix
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