Today in history: Graham hill, after everything...

2y ago


'You say you want to live to be a hundred. Bluntly, aren't you in the wrong job for this?' ''Well, you know, that's why I want to live to be a hundred''

Graham Hill

Few drivers in the history of motor sports can prove that they won the Triple Crown. Well, only one of them can, actually. Graham Hill, Formula One world champion in 1962 and 1968; winner of the 1966 Indianapolis 500; winner of the 1972 24 hours of Le Mans. An incredible achievement that underlines the fact that Hill was one of the most complete drivers of his time. He was fast, but not the fastest. Talented, but not the most talented. Sometimes the best, but not always and everywhere. Explosive, but predictable. Professional, but with enough self-mockery to pull his pants down at dinner parties, running round the tables.

Hill drove his cars throughout the most dangerous years of the sport. Calmly and reserved, while he tried to fight off virtuoso's like Clark, Rindt and Stewart. Hill would never be upset by his competitors. He did a grid-walk before every Grand Prix, inspecting the cars of his fellow drivers. Every now and then he would pull a dramatic face when looking at a certain part of the engine or suspension and theatrically walk off to his own car, leaving his competitor in sheer anxiety re-checking every part of the car that Hill just scrutineered.

Hill's nickname was Mister Monaco. Five times did he manage to win the race. It was his pièce de résistance, the podium upon which he could show the world he lived in perfect harmony with the speed of his car and the parts that kept it going (which, with a Lotus, was never a guarantee). The inner mechanic in him always made sure his material was in top condition, often at times clashing with his mechanics. Hill drove 179 Grands Prix, over a period of 18 (!) seasons. He overcame the bloodiest period in the sport, he was meant to be a hundred. Sadly, on this day in 1975 he was killed when trying to land his plane through thick fog. He was 46 years old.

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