Watch Hawthorn pip Moss to the 1958 F1 title
With a point for fastest lap making a Formula 1 comeback, we look back to when it proved vital to the world championship outcome
On the eve of its latest season, Formula 1 has made its latest tweak in its seemingly inevitable quest to ‘spice up the show’. Now a point will be awarded if you set the fastest lap, or rather will so long as you finish in the top 10.
Yet most things in F1 are not entirely new and it is the case here as well. For the first decade of its existence, 1950 to ’59, F1 indeed awarded a point for fastest lap too.
And one time this altered the title destination. In 1958, when Mike Hawthorn in a Ferrari fended off Stirling Moss’s Vanwall to become Britain’s first F1 champion
On race wins Moss trounced the Ferrari man, taking four to Hawthorn’s one. Moss’s team-mate Tony Brooks indeed bagged three times Hawthorn’s number.
But it all added up to Hawthorn pipping Moss to top spot in the final table by a point. Partly it was down to Hawthorn’s strong finishing record; he finished second on no fewer than five occasions.
But what also tilted the balance were his fastest laps – as Hawthorn took that additional point on five occasions to Moss’s three.
More: A Tribute to Vanwall
Then again, another point scoring quirk of the time was that only your best six scores counted from the 11 rounds (or 10 if you don’t include the Indy 500). This reduced Hawthorn’s points total by seven and Moss’s not at all.
The 1958 F1 season was dramatic and often, sadly, tragic, and we have marked many of the campaign’s vital moments in our gallery below. You can also watch British Pathé footage we’ve found of the final race title decider in Morocco. That race again had sadly its share of tragedy as another of Moss’s team-mates, Stuart Lewis-Evans, died from burns sustained in a fiery accident when his engine broke in a corner and sent him off the road.
Polls on Twitter and Facebook show that our readers marginally agree with the return of a bonus for fastest lap:
Formula 1 will give an extra point for fastest lap and a top 10 finish after its research showed that fans supported the idea. Is this a good move?#F1
— Motor Sport magazine (@Motor_Sport) March 11, 2019
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