Saturday 14th July 1973
Silverstone, the birthplace of the modern Formula One era in 1950, staged the British Grand Prix. The race is known for the first lap pile-up which ultimately caused eleven cars to retire. The accident happened when Jody Scheckter spun out of fourth place and into the center of the track coming out of Woodcote (the final corner) at the end of the first lap, causing many other cars to collide and crash. The race was stopped at the end of the second lap, because of the pile-up, and restarted over the original distance. Andrea de Adamich retired from the sport after this race due to injuries received in the first lap accident. Nine cars were eliminated in the pile-up (including all three works Surtees cars); and 18 cars started on the second restart out of 29 cars that started (David Purley and Graham McRae were also out of the race on the first lap in separate incidents). On the first start, a swift start by Jackie Stewart brought him from fourth to first in less than half a lap. At Becketts corner (which was the third out of eight corners on the original Silverstone circuit) Stewart out-braked race leader Ronnie Peterson and took the lead. Unfortunately for Stewart, the massive pile-up at the end of the first lap caused the race to be restarted and he had to start from fourth again. This time it was Niki Lauda who had an excellent start and moved up behind Peterson into second, with Stewart third. Stewart passed Lauda on lap two, and charged after Peterson. On lap six, Stewart tried again to pass Peterson for the lead, but the Swedish driver shut the door; Stewart lost control of his Tyrrell and spun off into the thick grass. Although he was able to continue, Stewart recorded his worst finish of the season: 10th place out of 13 finishers. Another notable drive came from James Hunt in his Hesketh Racing March, who ran in most of the race in 4th and was part a 4-way battle for the lead between himself, Peterson, Denny Hulme and Peter Revson. American driver Revson won his first Grand Prix by 2.8 seconds from Peterson, and he would go on to win again at Mosport in Canada. But just 8 months after his maiden F1 victory at Silverstone, he would die in a pre-testing accident at Kyalami in South Africa driving a Shadow.