the Hills

On the 15th february 1929, a young boy was born.  His parents named him Norman Graham Hill.

This boy would grow into one of Britain’s best ever racing drivers, and give the world another great racing driver in the shape of his son Damon.

He made his debut in the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix for the Lotus team.  He moved to BRM in 1960, with whom he won his first World Championship in 1962.

His next major achivement was winning the Indianapolis 500 in 1966.

He went back to Lotus in 1967 and won his second championship with them in 1968.  A serious accident the following year put him out of action for a while when he broke both legs.

He recovered but did not find the victories in the changing world of F1 to be as easy to come by anymore.  Switching his attention to the Le Mans 24 hour race, he took the victory in 1972.

This made him the only person ever to take the triple crown of motorsport – F1 world championship, Indy 500 and Le Mans 24 – a feat which is yet to be matched.

Only three years later, Hill would die at the control of an airplane, bringing himself and six teammates back from practice in France.  The plane crashed onto a golf course in dense fog, with no survivors.

He left behind a son Damon (and two daughters), who would himself show an aptitude to motor racing in the 80’s and 90’s.  When Damon won the F1 World Championship in 1996, the Hills became the first father/son to both win the Championship.

As a fan, I still think Williams were stupid to let Damon Hill go, the year after he won the championship!!  But they had done the same with Nigel Mansell four years earlier in 1992, dropping him as their driver the year he won the Championship.

The new F1 series starts in a few weeks, which I cannot wait for.  I have been an F1 fan for as many years as I can remember.  Sitting with my dad when I was a teen, shouting at the tv and cheering on our favourite racers.

We went to see a practice day at Silverstone one year.  Lewis Hamilton was there, it was the year before he drove in F1 so it would be 2006 I think.  Hamilton crashed his car three times that day, we watched on a big screen as each car was brought back to the pits on a trailer.  We joked that he would either be the worst driver ever, or the one who took the most risks to become the best!!

I hope this new season gives us a little more variety than the last few have.  It will be good to see some different drivers fighting for the points, though I wish Lewis Hamilton the best, he is the British driver after all.  My money is probably on him winning again, in truth.

Most of all I look forward to watching David Coulthard as he commentates in that sexy Scottish drawl and watch him walk the grid in those tight white jeans………


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