In an instant the two cars locked together, the Ferrari veered broadside across the Lotus’s nose, and both of them spun up the sloping grass bank towards the spectator fence, still at around 150mph.
Tragically, while the Lotus just spun along the bank, coming to rest without further harm, Trips’s ‘Sharknose’ careered more sharply left, up the sloping grass bank topped by packed spectators, and then flew and spun and flipped along the line of the spectator fence, bouncing off people. It landed upside down, its unbraced regulation roll-over hoop collapsed, and as it tumbled poor Trips – already crushed – was thrown out. With him died 14 luckless spectators, and many more were left injured. It was a truly ghastly incident – from which Jim Clark, though thoroughly shaken, was fortunate to emerge uninjured.
Meanwhile, team-mate and Championship challenger Phil Hill was already long gone in his dominating race lead. He pressed on, non-stop as was standard practice in those days, to win his second consecutive Italian Grand Prix for the Ferrari factory team – the chequered flag confirming him as1961 World Champion Driver.