MOTOR RACING: HOW BRITAIN'S PREVIOUS WORLD CHAMPIONS WON THEIR CROWNS

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The Independent Online
MIKE HAWTHORN

Year: 1958 (Ferrari)

GPs won: 1 out of 11

Hawthorn was indebted to the honesty of his compatriot and closest challenger, Stirling Moss, for the title which ended Juan Manuel Fangio's run of four consecutive drivers' championships. When Hawthorn was disqualified for "pushing his Ferrari against the traffic" after stalling in the final race of the season, Moss looked set to take a title which his four victories, to Hawthorn's one, arguably deserved. But in a dramatic and sporting finale, Moss revealed that his rival had not contravened the rules and handed over a championship which would always elude him.

GRAHAM HILL

Year: 1962 (BRM); 1968 (Lotus)

GPs won: 4/9; 3/12

Hill's first drivers' championship victory in 1962 heralded the onset of a golden era for British motor racing. Over the next eight years, the title left these shores only twice, and Hill himself ended that drought in 1968 by recapturing a championship which had been won by Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme, of Australia and New Zealand respectively, over the preceding two years. Hill struggled to reproduce his best form after that. He never won another grand prix and was killed piloting his own light aircraft in 1975, shortly after retiring.

JIM CLARK

Year: 1963 and 1965 (Lotus)

GPs won: 7/10; 6/10

For three seasons Clark was virtually untouchable, winning two championships which sandwiched John Surtees's sole success. Following Graham Hill's victory in the opening race of the 1963 season, Clark, 26, won four successive grand prix and never finished outside the top three. He even took the title without the nine points he won in the final race at Mexico because only his six best results could be counted. His second championship was equally convincing, as he claimed the title with three races to spare. Killed in a Formula Two race in Germany in 1968.

JOHN SURTEES

Year: 1964 (Ferrari)

GPs won: 2/10

Surtees clinched the 1964 title in a thrilling climax to the season. Going into the final race in Mexico, any one of Surtees, Clark or Hill might have won the championship, but Surtees's second place proved sufficient as Hill was barged off the track by Bandini's Ferrari, and Clark could only bring his ailing Lotus home in fifth position. Surtees's success, in his second season at Ferrari, featured two grand prix wins, at the Nurburgring and Monza. It made him the first driver to add a Formula One title to a motorcycle championship, which he won in the 1950s.

JACKIE STEWART

Year: 1969 (Matra); 1971 (Tyrrell); 1973 (Tyrrell)

GPs won: 6/11; 6/11; 5/15

Stewart sauntered to the 1969 championship, winning

six of the first eight races to establish an unassailable lead with three grands prix remaining. He relinquished his title to Jochen Rindt the following year, but re-established himself as Formula One's No 1 driver by regaining the championship for the Tyrrell team in 1971. The Scot had planned to celebrate his 1973 success by retiring after his 100th grand prix, at Watkins Glen, in the United States, but Ken Tyrrell withdrew the team following the death of Stewart's team-mate, Francois Cevert.

JAMES HUNT

Year: 1976 (McLaren)

GPs won: 6/16

Trailing Niki Lauda, of Ferrari, by 27 points, Hunt staged a stirring comeback and won five of the last nine races to snatch the 1976 title on the final day of an enthralling season. Lauda showed tremendous courage to return from a life-threatening accident in Germany, but relinquished his crown by retiring early in the closing race in Japan because he regarded the conditions as too dangerous. Hunt's third place gave him the championship by one point. Hunt transferred his expertise from the track to the commentary box following his retirement, but died in 1993.

NIGEL MANSELL

Year: 1992 (Williams)

GPs won: 9/16

After enduring the heartbreak of a series of near misses, including the high-speed accident at Adelaide in 1986 which handed Alain Prost the championship, Mansell richly deserved his 1992 triumph. He totally dominated the season, accumulating 108 points - almost twice as many as his Williams team-mate, Ricardo Patrese, in second place - and established a record of nine victories over a season. Having realised his dream, Mansell left Williams to drive in the Indy Car World Series, and his "ill-fitting" return with McLaren last year is probably best forgotten.

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