F1 News, Views and Reviews

Graham Hill

Graham Hill, born 1929 in England is a famous and well loved driver, known best for his victories at Monaco and also for being the only man ever to win the Triple Crown of Motorsport.

After finishing a stint with the Royal Navy Hill took a position with Smiths Instruments.  He worked on cars, and drove in a Formula 3 race before joining Team Lotus as an engineer.

Hill made his F1 debut at the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix retiring with a half-shaft failure.  In 1960 he joined BRM and won the title in 1962.  In 1966 he won the Indianapolis 500 in a Lola.

He often won the Monaco Grand Prix, and scored points regularly but in 1967 he moved away from BRM back to Lotus.  He also helped develop the Lotus 49 and Cosworth Engine’s V8 unit.  When Jim Clark was tragically killed in 1968, Hill took over team leadership.  He would win his second title in this season.

In 1969, driving for Lotus still there were a few accidents.  Lotus’ were known for fragile but fast cars, however they often lost their downforce effects and had massive shunts. In USA hill had a massive crash escaping with 2 broken legs.  The recovery took him out of the Formula One loop.

He was forced out of Lotus, and struggled along.  In 1972 he won the Le Mans 24h race, putting him in history for winning the 3 great motorsport events.

Struggling to find works team drives, in 1973 Hill pushed himself a long way and created his own team the Embassy Hill Racing team.  He used chassis from Shadow and Lola before in 1975 building his own car.  Failing to qualify for the 1975 Monaco GP was one of the lowest points in his life and he stopped racing, deciding to support his protégé instead.

However, disaster struck.  In November 1975 on a foggy cold night, returning from the Paul Ricard circuit in France Hill, piloting his own twin prop plane crashed onto a golf course not far from the airport he was landing at.  He had not adjusted the altimeter dial and misjudged the distance to the ground.  He was killed along with another 5 people.

Hill’s son Damon would go on to win the World Championship in 1996 making them the only father/son partnership to do so.

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