“Rain, rain and more rain isn’t the weather that anyone expects for the most glamorous race of the grand prix season at Monte Carlo, but rain it did – and heavily – throughout,” we said after race four of the 1972 Formula 1 championship.
“It was a surprisingly clean start which produced an equally surprising leader: Jean-Pierre Beltoise in the BRM, who had edged his way past [Ferrari man Jacky] Ickx on the inside.
“Spray is key to visibility in these conditions, and the driver that leads in the early laps can build up a tremendous advantage, while those behind can do little but follow in his wake. So, in four laps Beltoise was over 5sec ahead of [Ferrari’s] Clay Regazzoni.
“On lap five, Ickx appeared in second place, over 12sec behind the BRM, after his team-mate had led [Lotus pole-sitter] Emerson Fittipaldi down the chicane escape road, losing them a place each.
“Beltoise used his advantage well and progressively reduced his lap time in continuous rain to 1min 40.0sec on the ninth lap, which was to stand as the fastest lap of the race.”
Regazzoni was taken out on lap 51 after Howden Ganley (one of five drivers for BRM!) crashed at the Gasometer hairpin, spilling oil all over the wet surface.
Beltoise continued his sublime performance out front, topping it off by lapping the third-placed Tyrrell of Jackie Stewart.
“It’s fair to say that his success was surprising, in view of BRM’s previous performances this year, but he didn’t put a wheel wrong.”
It was the Frenchman’s first and only Formula 1 win – and BRM’s last.