Graham Hill was the first king of Monte Carlo
Note that the fifth, sixteenth and twenty-first photographs are Photographs by Dr. Brian Watson
In honor of the Formula 1 legend Graham Hill will always be, we run this piece; an incredible story of Monaco and the double world champion who passed through and was synonymous with the late fifties and throughout the sixties.
This weekend at the Goodwood Revival, on display and in the parades, more than 30 Graham Hill racing cars, 60 years after his first F1 world championship with his son Damon Hill – F1 world champion in 1996 – will be present to drive his father’s cars.
Happy 62nd birthday to Damon from the grandprix247.com team.
Records show Ayrton Senna has won six more Monaco Grand Prix victories than any other driver in history, with Michael Schumacher and Graham Hill sharing five victories each at the sport’s most famous venue, but it’s the latter who was the first king of Formula 1. of Monte Carlo.
At the age of 29, Graham made his Formula One debut at the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix in a Lotus-Climax but retired with engine trouble.
It took another five attempts and an F1 World Championship title (1962) before he finally climbed onto the top step of the royal podium, winning the 1963 Monaco Grand Prix from second on the grid and edging out teammate Richie Ginther to make it a BRM. -two a day.
A year later Hill faced Jim Clark in the Lotus which qualified on pole for the race, Hill lined up third on the grid.
Hill v Clark had epic duels in F1 when they raced together
At the start Clark was in the lead but the Lotus was trailing an anti-roll bar early in the race and he pitted for repairs which compromised his afternoon. By then Hill was second to Dan Gurney, but the American’s Brabham-Climax was losing fuel and on lap 53 BRM took the lead.
Clark, who returned to action with a repaired car, was unable to impress Hill’s lead. Eventually the Lotus ran into engine trouble and Hill headed home another one-two for BRM, with Ginther second again albeit one lap behind his team-mate.
Although a second title had eluded him by then, Hill possessed Monaco and in 1965 made it a hat-trick with arguably his most dominant performance. Qualified on pole a full second faster than Ferrari driver Lorenzo Bandini and 1.4 seconds better than his own BRM teammate Jackie Stewart.
Both BRMs got off to strong starts, with Hill leading Stewart early in the race. On lap 25, Hill was forced off the road to avoid a struggling car, which dropped him to fifth.
He recovered and made his way to the front, passing Stewart and chasing Bandini to take the lead where he remained until the end of the 100 lap race, over two and a half hours of hard work in the cockpit. .
Hill would call the win one of the biggest of his F1 career.
Monaco trophies appeared to have Graham’s name engraved on them before the race even started
By this point, with three wins in Monte Carlo, Hill had surpassed Juan Manuel Fangio’s two wins and matched Stirling Moss’ three wins on the street.
The fourth victory did not come until 1968 when Hill qualified the Gold Leaf Lotus 49B on pole by more than half a second, briefly lost the lead early in the race, but by the fourth lap he was in head where he remained until the end. He also won his second and final F1 world title at the end of that season.
The Englishman’s fifth victory came a year later, again in the Lotus 49B. He qualified fourth behind the Matra duo of Jackie Stewart and Jean-Pierre Beltoise and the Ferrari of Chris Amon
Stewart roared in the distance as Hill made his way to the command. Half an hour into the race, both Matras suffered driveshaft failures and the Ferrari blew its gearbox.
Hill was left in the lead where he stayed to claim his fifth Monegasque win, which also turned out to be his last win at the pinnacle of the sport.
Stewart has always had a very high regard for his former rival: “When Graham won in Monte-Carlo, it was much more difficult. You had to be focused all the time at that time. We had 2,800 gear changes – it was quite hard on the hands (and) it was a physical race – 100 laps at that point.”
Graham drove in a time of great F1 drivers, but also in a time when too many people perished
Sir Jackie continued: “His greatest asset was his humor, the second was his conduct. He was a great character. There were great riders around him when Graham was racing – Jack Brabham, Innes Ireland, Jim Clark, the cream of the crop at the time – and he won the world championship.
“Graham Hill was one of the best drivers of his day, there’s no doubt about that,” Stewart added.
Asked in an interview about the challenges of racing in Monaco, Hill replied at the time with his typical dry humour: “Well, that was damn hard! You get everything you encounter on a public road: streetlights, trees, nightclubs, houses, hotels, sidewalks, gutters. »
“It’s real road racing and in the real sense of the word – when motor racing started it was on public roads,” added the first Formula 1 king of Monte Carlo, whose The last grand prix was at the 1975 edition of the world’s most famous street race.
Thanks to his Monegasque victories combined with his triumphs in the Indianapolis 500m (1966) and the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1972), he is the only man to have won the Triple Crown of motorsport.
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