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2013 Hall of Fame: Graham & Damon Hill

Graham Hill learned to drive at the age of 26. At 29, he was lining up on the grid for the Monaco Grand Prix. Four years after that, he was World Champion.

hall of fame  2013 Hall of Fame: Graham & Damon Hill

Starting as a mechanic for Lotus, he eventually convinced Colin Chapman to give him a drive. With an unconventional style, he became the only driver to win the ‘Triple Crown’ of motor sport: the Formula 1 World Championship (which he won twice), the Indy 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hours. As he got older the offers of competitive drives dried up, so he simply started his own team. They were on the brink of a breakthrough when Hill and several members of the team – including promising young driver Tony Brise – were killed in a plane crash.

His son Damon, 15 years old at the time, took up racing. Like his father he made it to the top flight comparatively late in life, but still managed to become world champion, driving for Williams, in 1996. They remain the only father and son to do so. In retirement, Damon became president of the British Racing Drivers’ Club and was instrumental in saving the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Visit Graham and Damon Hill’s page on our Hall of Fame website for features, videos and galleries.

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6 comments on 2013 Hall of Fame: Graham & Damon Hill

  1. Michael Kavanagh, 26 February 2013 12:49

    Surely you mean ‘Hill’ Of Fame … ?

  2. john miller, 28 February 2013 18:05

    i’m a fan of both of them.

    It irritates me that everyone always refers to them as “grafters”. Well, if you’ve had your bum planted in a kart since you were prised away from your mother’s breast, I would suggest that the Early Learning Centre effect has taken hold.

    Surely, if you come to car racing at a late age and become successful, you must have a modicum of talent that the kartbabes don’t neccessarily have?

    And can you imagine young Vettel’s reaction to being nerfed into the barriers and being robbed of the World Championship?

  3. Rich Ambroson, 1 March 2013 04:50

    I’m with John regarding the whole notion of the Hills being more about hard work than inherent talent.

    You don’t win Monaco five times, Le Mans, and the Indy 500 just on hard work alone.

    The race Damon had at Suzuka in the wet in ’94 was a top drawer display of racing talent. That and running Prost hard in ’93, and a lot more speaks to Damon’s inherent talent, I’d think.

  4. Listerine, 4 March 2013 01:31

    Hear hear John and Rich (and not forgetting Michael’s witticism, which made me smile).

    To Ricj’s comment “You don’t win…… (etc)”, I can only add “and Le Mans on dodgy legs too” and – in Damon’s case – “you don’t win 22 GPs on hard work alone”. Yes, most of those were in the best car of the era, but many a driver has had such a mount without turning it into a winner time after time, not least Frentzen in the same(ish) Williams straight after Damon, whilst Villeneuve was winning the title in it. I’m not disparaging Heinz-Harald by the way – he proved he had the talent by beating (an admittedly jaded) Damon himself at Jordan in ’99, and there were reasons perhaps why he never clicked at Williams. I’m just saying that a top car on its own is not enough, or not on 22 occasions anyway.
    I’ll never forget the moment Damon crossed the line at Suzuka in ’96 to take the title, to Murray Walker’s immortal words “and I’ve got to stop now – I’ve got a lump in my throat”. Murray spoke for many, many people that autumn morning, as one of the most decent of world champions was crowned. For me it was the “they think it’s all over” moment of motorsports commentary.

  5. Rich Ambroson, 4 March 2013 03:18

    Listerine, regarding those dodgy legs at Le Mans, I really enjoyed the “Lunch With” Henri Pescarolo recently, in which he described his initial thoughts on being paired up with Hill, and then how he came to feel about Graham after they shared the drive.

    Yes, Damon’s 22 wins might have been with top equipment, but he helped develop that equipment, and he raced some top blokes damn well in his day.

    More than just hard workers, for sure. Inherent talent, and a load more decency than a lot of folks in and out of racing.

  6. Alex Harmer, 4 March 2013 09:31

    Rich,

    A few years ago we had a feature on Pesca and Hill, it’s on the Hall of Fame site:

    http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/halloffame/graham-damon-hill/henri-pescarolo-on-graham-hill/

    Enjoy!

    ACH

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