On 6th September 1964, John Surtees won the Italian Grand Prix. It was the Englishman’s second victory of the season and was also a decisive factor in his taking the title. Surtees arrived in Monza with 19 points to his name, a long way off the two main contenders for title glory: Graham Hill (BRM) was leading on 32 points, two more than Jim Clark (Lotus.)
Qualifying smiled on Ferrari, with Surtees securing pole position in his 158 F1, ahead of Gurney and Hill in the BRMs. At the start, Hill was let down by his clutch and was left stuck on the grid, just as had happened at Zeltweg two weeks earlier. McLaren in the Cooper, worked his way into the lead, followed by Surtees and Gurney, the three of them fighting it out in a slipstreaming battle: the Cooper driver rapidly lost ground, leaving the way clear for the other two to continue overtaking one another back and forth until Gurney began to experience engine troubles that relegated himself to fourth place. Surtees was thus able to bring home nine points which saw him leap to just four points off Hill and two from Clark, with two Grands Prix still to go. Also on the podium was McLaren and Surtees’ team-mate, Bandini, who had won the previous race in Austria.