Clark offered Gold Leaf Team Lotus its first International race win on January 20 when the Scot took the Lady Wigram Trophy in front of Amon, but was runner-up to Bruce McLaren's BRM at round 4 at Teretonga when a rare mistake forced him to pit from the lead to replace a damaged nosecone.
Clark put himself back in the points battle with a win at Surfers Paradise and then into the championship lead for the very first time following a victory at Warwick Farm accomplished in front of a crowd of 35.000.
Conditions were scorching at Sandown for the 33rd running of the Australian Grand Prix, and only got more intense on race day to the point where the organizers even cancelled the drivers' parade and the traditional warm-up lap.
Clark was first off the grid, beating into the first turn Amon and poleman Jack Brabham who made a complete botch of his start. The trio swiftly pulled out a lead but gradually, Brabham lost ground, leaving the two championship contenders to duel it out in a battle royal.