Graham Hill

Graham Hill

Infobox F1 driver
Name = Graham Hill

Caption = At the 1968 German Grand Prix
Nationality = flagicon|UK British
Years = F1|1958 - F1|1975
Team(s) = Lotus, BRM, Brabham, Hill
Races = 179 (176 starts)
Championships = 2 (F1|1962, F1|1968)
Wins = 14
Podiums = 36
Points = 270 (289)Up until F1|1990, not all points scored by a driver contributed to their final World Championship tally (see list of pointscoring systems for more information). Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.]
Poles = 13
Fastest laps = 10
First race = 1958 Monaco Grand Prix
First win = 1962 Dutch Grand Prix
Last win = 1969 Monaco Grand Prix
Last race = 1975 Monaco Grand Prix
Le Mans drivers
Years = 24hLM|1958-24hLM|1966, 24hLM|1972
Team(s) = Team Lotus
Porsche AG
NART/Rob Walker
Aston Martin
Maranello Concessionaires
Alan Mann Racing Ltd
Equipe Matra-Simca Shell
Best Finish = 1st (24hLM|1972)
Class Wins = 1 (24hLM|1972)

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

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


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 Hatch 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 Silverstone 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.cite book | first = Graham| last = Hill| authorlink = | coauthors = | year = 1971| month = | title = Life At The Limit| chapter = | editor = | others = | edition = | pages = | publisher = Pan Books Ltd.| location = London| id = ISBN 0 330 02675 5| url = ] 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. [ [ Caravan to Vaccarès: Cast & Crew] "" Retrieved on July 14, 2007.]

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:
* the Indianapolis 500 (won by Hill in 1966), the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1972) and the Monaco Grand Prix (1963, 1964, 1965, 1968, 1969), [cite web|url=|title=Points Race Stays Tight; Montoya Joins Elite Company With Victory|author=Dan Knutson|accessdate=2007-12-03|date=2003-06-03] [cite web|url=|title=Monaco Grand Prix Glitz Draws Rising Stars|author=Henri Boulanger||accessdate=2007-12-05] or
* the Indianapolis 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Formula One World Championship (1962, 1968). [cite web|url=|title=Tribute to Graham Hill||accessdate=2007-12-05] [cite book|title=The Other Side of the Hill|author=Bette Hill with Neil Ewart|publisher=Hutchison/Stanley Paul|isbn=0-09-134900-1|year=1978|pages=p87] [cite web|url=,,2104097,00.html|title=Stick to the day job, Jacques|publisher=Guardian Unlimited|author=Oliver Irish|date=2007-06-15|accessdate=2007-12-05] 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.


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.


Before taking up motor racing, Hill spent several years actively involved in rowing. Initially, he rowed at Southsea Rowing Club, while stationed in Portsmouth with the Royal Navy and at Auriol Rowing Club 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 Club, 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. [cite book
author= Dodd, Christopher
title = Water Boiling Aft: London Rowing Club The First 150 Years 1856-2006
publisher = The London Rowing Club
year = 2006
isbn = 0 9552938 0 4


In November 1975, returning from the Paul Ricard circuit, France, Graham was killed when his Piper Aztec aeroplane (which he was piloting at the time) crashed in foggy conditions, near the 4th green, Arkley Golf Course in North London. 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.

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. [,+silverstone&safe=on&ie=UTF8&t=h&om=1 Graham Hill] , Google Maps] Graham Hill Bend at Brands Hatch is also named in his honour.

Graham Hill Road in Scotts Valley, California is also named after Hill, allegedly, after off-track exploits in coastal California.

Race results

Formula One World Championship results

() (Races in bold indicate pole position)

*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.


"I'm an artist, the track is my canvas, and the car is my brush."Fact|date=June 2007

"Time is of the essence and I don't have much essence left." [Quote from his biography published after his death] Fact|date=June 2007


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 Fame.


External links

* [ The 500 Owners Association List of 500cc Formula 3 Drivers]
* [ Grand Prix History - Hall of Fame, Graham Hill]
* [ Graham Hill Statistics]
* [ Graham Hill Photos]

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