GrahamHill is one of the true legends of racing. He is the only driver ever to win the ‘Triple Crown’ of motorsport – the F1 Monaco Grand Prix (five times), the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500.
It was just a little part of his fantastic achievements. He recorded 179 participations in Formula 1 World Championship races, winning 14 times and taking two championship titles (1962 and 1968). At Indianapolis 500, he had three attempts, winning in a debut in 1966. At Le Mans 24 Hours, he appeared ten times, winning two class podiums before reaching top podium spot in his last attempt in 1972.
It was surprise when Graham Hill decided to become a racing driver
Born in Hampstead, London, on February 15, 1929, Norman Graham Hill dreamed of being an engineer. He followed his desire by attending the Hendon Technical College. Later, he joined the Royal Navy where he was actively involved in rowing, but never really showed an interest in racing.
In fact, he passed his driving test when he 24. However, after passing a couple of laps at the Brands Hatch in a Cooper 500 Formula 3 car, the path was set for one of most notable careers in the history of racing.
Graham Hill became a racer at the age of 24
Hill started his F1 career as a mechanic
Hill joined the Lotus Team as a mechanic, but quickly got the chance to drive; he made his debut in 1958 at the Monaco Grand Prix. In 1960, Hill joined the BRM team winning his first Formula 1 championship title with them two years later. In 1966, as one of the many British drivers at Indianapolis 500, he managed to win the race driving a Lola-Ford.
Video - Graham Hill wins 1966 Indianapolis 500
Graham Hill won his second Formula 1 title with Lotus
In 1967, he decided to return to Lotus which had new cars that were described as very dangerous. The following year, after the death of his teammates Jim Clark and Mike Spence, Hill was the leader of the team and won his second Formula 1 title. Interestingly, in that year Hill won three Grand Prix races and retired from four races, but managed to finish the season as a champion.
British driver Graham Hil in the championship winning Lotus
Unfortunately, Hill also proved how dangerous the Lotus model 49 was. In 1969, he was forced to take a break in his career after fracturing both his legs during the United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. After recovering, Hill continued to compete in Formula 1, but could never attain the same level of success. Hill’s swan song was the victory at 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1972 with Henri Pescarolo.
Popular and charming person
Graham Hill was also a very popular person. He was a regular guest on television shows and appeared in four movies, but even after retiring as a driver, he couldn’t live without racing so concentrated on running his own team called Embassy Hill.
Fatal plane crash
Unfortunately, on November 25th 1975, Hill was killed when the plane he was piloting from the Paul Ricard circuit in France, crashed near the Arkley golf course in London while attempting to land in foggy conditions. Five more people were killed in that accident.
Graham Hill was killed in the plane crash
Father of a champion
Graham Hill had 14 race wins and 36 podiums in his Formula 1 career, making a total of 176 starts. His son Damon also became a Formula 1 champion in 1996 and until 2016, when Nico Rosberg became the champion, they were the only father and son pair to have both won the Formula 1 titles.