Motor Racing: Damon Hill - Laps And Lapses Of A Boy Racer

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The Independent Online
First appearance: 17 September 1960.

First name: Damon.

First job: Works as a motorcycle dispatch rider, 1982-85, in order to fund his burgeoning motorbike racing career.

First title: In 1984, he is named Champion of Brands after winning more than 40 races in one season on a 350cc Yamaha.

First win in a car: After his success on two wheels, he turns his attention to the four-wheel competition. Before long, he has secured his first victory and a fifth place in the Formula Ford 1600 Festival. As a result, he becomes rookie of the year.

First end-of-year podium: After winning six races of the 1985 Formula Ford 1600 championship, driving for Team Van Diemen (no, not Van Damon), he finishes third overall.

First set-back: In the 1986 championship, and now driving for Murray Taylor Racing, he wins six races but finishes ninth.

First Formula Three race: He comes third in the 1988 championship, but secures two wins and also makes his maiden appearance in a Formula 3000 car. Formula One beckons.

First ever Formula One test drive: In a Benetton in 1988.

First Lady: Marries Georgie in 1988. They have three children.

First F1 contract: Replaces Mark Blundell in 1991 as Williams' test driver.

First grand prix: For Brabham at 1992 British GP .

First win: No 2 driver at Williams behind Alain Prost in 1993, he wins in Hungary, Belgium and Italy.

First driver: Following Ayrton Senna's death in 1994, he is installed as Williams' No 1.

First `bump' with Schuey: Hill and Schumacher go into the last race of the season knowing that the winner will be champion. The German driver, sensing defeat, controversially collides with Hill's car. The Briton misses out by a point.

First British GP: By taking the chequered flag at Silverstone in 1994, he wins the one race his father never managed.

First championship: Triumphs in the 1996 season in the Williams, but is not retained. Also appointed OBE and receives the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.

First hint of trouble: He joins the Arrows team for 1997 season but scores only seven championship points. Joins Jordan.

First win for Jordan: The 1998 Belgium GP. Eddie Jordan dances with joy. Damon's career looks back on track.

First hint of retirement: After a poor start to 1999 season, he says this could be his last in Formula One. He announces his official retirement immediately after the French GP last month.

First reactions: "I was very surprised when I heard. I think it is a real pity for Formula One. We had some great battles on the track." Schumacher. "This is a sad but typically brave and honest decision by one of Britain's great sporting heroes." Jordan.

Last lap? After 112 races and 22 wins, Hill is set to say goodbye at Silverstone today, in front of 150,000 fans. Or will he?

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