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Norman Graham Hill (15 February 1929 – 29 November 1975) was a Britishmarker racing driver and two-time Formula One World Champion. He was born in Hampsteadmarker, Londonmarker.

Graham Hill is the only driver to win the so-called Triple Crown of Motorsport.

Biography

Professional history

After serving in the Royal Navy as an Engine Room Artificer, Hill re-joined Smiths Instruments. He had been interested in motorcycles but in 1954 he saw an advert for the Universal Motor Racing Club at Brands Hatchmarker offering laps for 5 shillings. He made his debut in a Cooper 500 Formula 3 car and was committed to racing thereafter. Graham joined Team Lotus as a mechanic soon after but quickly talked his way into the cockpit. The Lotus presence in Formula One allowed him to make his debut at the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix, retiring with a halfshaft failure.

In 1960, Hill joined BRM, and won the world championship with them in 1962. Hill was also part of the so-called 'British invasion' of drivers and cars in the Indianapolis 500 during the mid-1960s, triumphing there in 1966 in a Lola-Ford.

In 1967, back at Lotus, Hill helped to develop the Lotus 49 with the new Cosworth-V8 engine. After team mates Jim Clark and Mike Spence were killed in early 1968, Hill led the team, and won his second world championship in 1968 . The Lotus had a reputation of being very fragile and dangerous at that time, especially with the new aerodynamic aids which caused similar crashes of Hill and Jochen Rindt at the 1969 Spanish Grand Prix. A crash at the 1969 United States Grand Prix broke his legs and interrupted his career.

Upon recovery Hill continued to race in F1 for several more years, but never again with the same level of success. Colin Chapman, believing Hill was a spent force, placed him in Rob Walker's team for 1970, sweetening the deal with one of the brand-new Lotus 72 cars. Although Hill scored points in 1970 he started the season far from fully fit and the 72 was not fully developed until late in the season. Hill moved to Brabham for 1971-2; his last win in Formula One was in the non-Championship International Trophy at Silverstonemarker in 1971 with the "lobster claw" Brabham BT34. But the team was in flux after the retirements of Sir Jack Brabham and then Ron Tauranac's sale to Bernie Ecclestone; Hill did not settle there.

Hill was known during the latter part of his career for his wit and became a popular personality - he was a regular guest on television and wrote a notably frank and witty autobiography when recovering from his 1969 accident, Life At The Limit. Hill was also irreverently immortalized on a Monty Python episode ("It's the Arts (or: Intermission)" sketch called "Historical Impersonations"), in which a Gumby appears asking to "see John the Baptist's impersonation of Graham Hill." The head of St. John the Baptist appears on a silver platter, which runs around the floor making putt-putt noises of a race car engine.

Hill was involved with four films between 1966 and 1974, including appearances in Grand Prix and Caravan to Vaccarès, in which he appeared as a helicopter pilot.

Although Hill had concentrated on F1 he also maintained a presence in sports car racing throughout his career (including two runs in the Rover-BRM gas turbine car at Le Mans). As his F1 career drew to a close he became part of the Matra sports car team, taking a victory in the 1972 24 Hours of Le Mans with Henri Pescarolo. This victory completed the so-called Triple Crown of motorsport which is alternatively defined as winning either: Using either definition, Hill is still the only person ever to have accomplished this feat.

With works drives becoming hard to find, Hill set up his own team in 1973: Embassy Hill with sponsorship from Imperial Tobacco. The team used chassis from Shadow and Lola before evolving the Lola into its own design in 1975. After failing to qualify for the 1975 Monaco Grand Prix, where he had won five times, Hill retired from driving to concentrate on running the team and supporting his protege Tony Brise.

Hill's record of 176 Grand Prix starts remained in place for over a decade, being equalled by Jacques Laffite.

Family

Hill married Bette in 1955. They had two daughters, Brigitte and Samantha, and a son, Damon who later became Formula One World Champion, the only son of a former champion to do so.

Rowing

Hill at the 1971 Race of Champions.
Before taking up motor racing, Hill spent several years actively involved in rowing. Initially, he rowed at Southsea Rowing Club, while stationed in Portsmouthmarker with the Royal Navy and at Auriol Rowing Clubmarker in Hammersmith. He met Bette at a Boxing Day party at Auriol and, while courting her, he also coached her clubmates at Stuart Ladies' Rowing Club on the River Lea.

In 1952 he joined London Rowing Clubmarker, then as now one of the largest and most successful clubs in Great Britain. From 1952 to 1954, Hill rowed in twenty finals with London, usually as stroke of the crew, eight of which resulted in wins. He also stroked the London eight in the highly prestigious Grand Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta, losing a semi-final to Union Sportif Metropolitaine des Transports, France by a length.

Through his racing career he continued to support rowing and London. In 1968 when the club began a financial appeal to modernise its clubhouse, Hill launched proceedings by driving an old Morris Oxford, which had been obtained for £5, head-on into a boundary wall. Hill made three runs to reduce the wall to rubble, and the car was subsequently sold for £15.

Hill felt that the experience gained in rowing helped him in his motor-racing. He wrote in his autobiography:

"I really enjoyed my rowing. It really taught me a lot about myself, and I also think it is a great character-building sport...The self discipline required for rowing and the 'never say die' attitude obviously helped me through the difficult years that lay ahead."

Famously, Hill adopted the colours and cap design of London RC for his racing helmet - dark blue with white oar-shaped tabs. Damon Hill later adopted these same colours.

Death

In November 1975, returning from the Paul Ricard circuit, France, Hill was killed when he crashed the Piper Aztec aeroplane he was piloting, whilst attempting to land in foggy conditions, near the 4th green, Arkleymarker Golf Course in North Londonmarker. The crash resulted in not only the death of Hill but team manager Ray Brimble, mechanics Tony Alcock and Terry Richards, up-and-coming driver Tony Brise and designer Andy Smallman; all from the Embassy Hill team. The subsequent inquiry questioned his decision not to divert to another airfield.

His funeral was at St Albans Abbey, UK.

As Hill was uninsured his estate was sued by the families of the other victims. Settling the claims wiped out the estate .

After his death, Silverstone village, home to the track of the same name, named a road, Graham Hill, after him. Graham Hill Bend at Brands Hatchmarker is also named in his honour.

Race results

Formula One World Championship results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)
Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 WDC Pts.
Team Lotus Lotus 12 Climax L4 ARG

MON
Ret
NED
Ret
500

NC 0
Lotus 16 Climax L4 BEL
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret*
POR
Ret
ITA
6
MOR
16
Team Lotus Lotus 16 Climax L4 MON
Ret
500

NED
7
FRA
Ret
GBR
9
GER
Ret
POR
Ret
ITA
Ret
USA

NC 0
Owen Racing Organisation BRM P25 BRM L4 ARG
Ret
15th 4
BRM P48 BRM L4 MON
7
500

NED
3
BEL
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
POR
Ret
ITA

USA
Ret
Owen Racing Organisation BRM P48/57 Climax L4 MON
Ret
NED
8
BEL
Ret
FRA
6
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
ITA
Ret
USA
5
16th 3
Owen Racing Organisation BRM P57 BRM V8 NED
1
MON
6
BEL
2
FRA
9
GBR
4
GER
1
ITA
1
USA
2
RSA
1
1st 42 (52)
Owen Racing Organisation BRM P57 BRM V8 MON
1
BEL
Ret
NED
Ret
GBR
3
GER
Ret
USA
1
MEX
4
RSA
3
2nd 29
BRM P61 BRM V8 FRA
3
ITA
16
Owen Racing Organisation BRM P261 BRM V8 MON
1
NED
4
BEL
5
FRA
2
GBR
2
GER
2
AUT
Ret
ITA

Ret
USA

1
MEX

11
2nd 39 (41)
Owen Racing Organisation BRM P261 BRM V8 RSA
3
MON
1
BEL
5
FRA
5
GBR
2
NED
4
GER
2
ITA

2
USA

1
MEX

Ret
2nd 40 (47)
Owen Racing Organisation BRM P261 BRM V8 MON
3
BEL
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
3
NED
2
GER
4
5th 17
BRM P83 BRM H16 ITA

Ret
USA

Ret
MEX
Ret
Team Lotus Lotus 43 BRM H16 RSA

Ret
7th 15
Lotus 33 BRM V8 MON
2
Lotus 49 Ford V8 NED
Ret
BEL
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
Ret
CAN
4
ITA

Ret
USA

2
MEX

Ret
Team Lotus Lotus 49 Ford V8 RSA
2
1st 48
Gold Leaf Team Lotus Lotus 49 Ford V8 ESP
1
Lotus 49B Ford V8 MON
1
BEL
Ret
NED
9
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER

2
ITA

Ret
CAN

4
USA

2
MEX

1
Gold Leaf Team Lotus Lotus 49B Ford V8 RSA

2
ESP
Ret
MON
1
NED
7
FRA
6
GBR
7
GER
4
ITA

9
CAN
Ret
USA

Ret
MEX

7th 19
Rob Walker Racing Team Lotus 49C Ford V8 RSA

6
ESP
4
13th 7
Brooke Bond Oxo Racing - Rob Walker Lotus 49C Ford V8 MON
5
BEL
Ret
NED
NC
FRA
10
GBR
6
GER
Ret
AUT

Lotus 72C Ford V8 ITA

DNS
CAN
NC
USA

Ret
MEX

Ret
Motor Racing Developments Brabham BT33 Ford V8 RSA

9
21st 2
Brabham BT34 Ford V8 ESP
Ret
MON
Ret
NED
10
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
9
AUT
5
ITA

Ret
CAN
Ret
USA

7
Motor Racing Developments Brabham BT33 Ford V8 ARG
Ret
RSA
6
15th 4
Brabham BT37 Ford V8 ESP
10
MON
12
BEL
Ret
FRA
10
GBR
Ret
GER

6
AUT
Ret
ITA

5
CAN

8
USA

11
Embassy Racing Shadow DN1 Ford V8 ARG

BRA

RSA

ESP
Ret
BEL
9
MON
Ret
SWE
Ret
FRA
10
GBR
Ret
NED

NC
GER
13
AUT
Ret
ITA

14
CAN

16
USA

13
NC 0
Embassy Racing with Graham Hill Lola T370 Ford V8 ARG
Ret
BRA
11
RSA
12
ESP
Ret
BEL
8
MON
7
SWE
6
NED

Ret
FRA
13
GBR
13
GER
9
AUT
12
ITA

8
CAN

14
USA

8
18th 1
Embassy Racing with Graham Hill Lola T371 Ford V8 ARG
10
BRA
12
RSA
DNQ
ESP

NC 0
Hill GH1 Ford V8 MON
DNQ
BEL

SWE

NED

FRA

GBR

GER

AUT

ITA

USA

* Hill entered the 1958 German Grand Prix in a Formula Two chassis.

Indy 500 results

Year Car
number
Start Qual.
speed
Speed
rank
Finish Laps
completed
Laps
led
Race
status
Chassis
1966 24 15 159.243 23 1 200 10 Running Lola-Ford
1967 81 31 163.317 21 32 23 0 Piston Lotus-Ford 42/B1
1968 70 2 171.208 2 19 110 0 Crash T2 Lotus - Pratt&Whitney 56/3
Starts 3
Poles 0
Front Row 1
Wins 1
Top 5 1
Top 10 1
Retired 2


  • Hill's 1966 victory marked the first win by a rookie driver since Frank Lockhart's 1927 win and the last until Juan Montoya's visit to Victory Lane in 2000.
  • Hill entered the 1969 Indianapolis 500, but his car (Lotus-Ford Chassis 64/2) was withdrawn during practice along with those of Mario Andretti and Jochen Rindt due to delays rectifying problems associated with hub failure on Andretti's car.


Quotation

"I'm an artist, the track is my canvas, and the car is my brush."

"Time is of the essence and I don't have much essence left." [Quote from his biography published after his death]

Credits

Hill's easy wit and charm helped him become a television personality, notably on the BBC show Call My Bluff with Patrick Campbell and Frank Muir. For a number of years in the early 1970s he appeared as one half of a double act, with Jackie Stewart, as an insert within the BBC Sports Personality of the Year show.

In 1990, Hill was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Famemarker.

A one-off BBC Four documentary called Graham Hill: Driven was first broadcast on May 26, 2008.

References

  1. Caravan to Vaccarès: Cast & Crew movies.msn.com. Retrieved on July 14, 2007.
  2. Graham Hill, Google Maps
  3. Graham Hill Indy 500 Race Stats [1]


External links




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