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A grief-stricken Ferrari world champion

©CahierArchive

As Ferrari celebrates its 70th anniversary in Maranello this weekend, it's only fitting to remember the world title won on this day 56 years ago by the Scuderia and Phil Hill.

The American driver won the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, but it was a tragic coronation however, with Hill's team mate and title rival Wolfgang von Trips killed on the second lap of the race, along with 14 spectators.

The German drivers' Ferrari had collided with Jimmy Clark's Lotus on the approach to Parabolica, careered towards the embankment and plunged into the crowd.

The Californian became America's first world champion, but there was no joy to be felt when the title was bestowed upon him.

Hill once recalled the aftermath of the tragedy.

"When they told me the news that Trips was dead, and more than a dozen spectators with him, I was stunned, deeply shocked.

"The papers reported that I broke down in tears and sobbed, but that was not true. When you've lived as close to death and danger as long as I have, then your emotional defenses are equal to almost nothing."