Gurney meanwhile was quietly and efficiently making his way up the field, sitting pretty in third, awaiting further drama to befall the leaders.
And he got his wish within a few minutes of Hill passing Clark. The Lotus’ suspension failed, putting Clark out of the race. That just left Hill, who was some way up the road.
All Gurney’s stars aligned within 10 more laps when the BRM developed engine trouble. Hill lost several laps before rejoining, eventually to finish ninth, some 10 laps in arrears.
And so Gurney went on to make F1 history, joining the list of first-time winners and also giving Porsche what would be its only World Championship Grand Prix victory as a constructor. It would be more than two decades before its TAG-badged engines would secure multiple world titles with McLaren, Niki Lauda and Alain Prost in the mid-1980s.
French GP, 1962
1. Dan Gurney (USA) – Porsche 804, 54 laps
2. Tony Maggs (ZA) – Cooper T60-Climax, 53 laps
3. Richie Ginther (USA) – BRM P57, 52 laps
4. Bruce McLaren (NZ) – Cooper T60-Climax, 51 laps
5. John Surtees (GB) – Lola 4-Climax, 51 laps
6. Carel Godin de Beaufort (NL) – Porsche 718, 51 laps
Photography courtesy of LAT Images