Damon Hill-The racing gentleman

Do you want to post a tribute about your favourite retired drivers, perhaps you want to discuss the rantings of the MIT (men in tweed). They thought they were safer when they retired, perhaps not mumblers!! How about a tribute to those that are not drivers but still in the game?

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Damon Hill-The racing gentleman

Postby craggle78 » Wed 03 Jan, 2007 1:26 pm

DAMON HILL,

Nationality: Great Britain
Date of birth: September 17, 1960 - Hampstead, England

Very much a man who raced to prove something to himself, Damon Hill is the first son of a World Champion to win the title himself, after his fabulous season with Williams in 1996.

Like his father Graham, Hill was a relatively late starter, spending his early years racing bikes before switching to cars amid a wave of publicity in 1983. He was in his mid-twenties by then, and his initial performances were not promising. But gradually he found his feet in Formula Ford, and graduated to F3 by 1986. In 1987 he was a genuine leading runner, but the following year was disappointing until he switched to F3000. Despite his name, money was always a problem, and it was not until 1990 that he really began to show his mettle. By 1991 he was a pacesetter, but mechanical unreliability undermined his campaign. Hill was fortunate, however, to have a backstop. His race performances had encouraged Frank Williams to sign Hill as a test driver, and like Nigel Mansell before him Hill applied himself diligently. His performances showed that he had the speed, but when he graduated to F1 in 1992, the year in which Mansell ran away with the world title, it was with the failing Brabham team.
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The BT60B was so poor that Hill did well on the few occasions that he was able to qualify.

The breakthrough came when Mansell had a disagreement with Williams at the end of 1992, and headed off for a season racing Indycars. Hill persuaded Frank Williams and Patrick Head to give him a chance as teammate to Alain Prost, and quickly showed himself to be mature enough to shadow the Frenchman.
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He was leading the British GP when his engine broke, and then suffered a puncture while leading again in Germany, but his first win finally came in Hungary. He followed it immediately with two more, in Belgium and Italy. By the end of his first pukka season of F1, he was third in the World Championship. When Prost retired, Hill found himself with Ayrton Senna as his teammate, but their partnership ended brutally at the third race when Senna was killed at Imola. Suddenly, Hill was thrust into the limelight as Williams team leader. His battle with Michael Schumacher for that season's title was fraught with controversy, and eventually he lost out by a point after Schumacher pushed him off the road in the final race, in Adelaide.
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Hill was a favorite for the 1995 title and began the year well, but as Schumacher gained pace Hill fell prey to a series of embarrassing incidents which would, unbeknown to him, persuade Williams to opt for Heinz-Harald Frentzen when Hill's contract expired at the end of 1996. By then, however, Hill had taken a long, hard look at himself and rebuilt his shattered ego. After dominating the 1995 Australian GP, he came back to win half of the 16 races in 1996 and win the title.
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But it was too late to stay at Williams, and he transferred to the unfancied Arrows team in a big-buck deal. It was almost a disaster. Only in Hungary did he show his real speed, only losing what would have been the surprise win of the decade when a small part on his car slowed him and allowed Jacques Villeneuve to overtake.
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His final two seasons of F1 were spent with Jordan, and after a shaky start in 1998 the team turned its fortunes around and Hill swept to a splendid and historic first win for the team at Spa. It was his 22nd, and last, triumph.
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In 1999 he was clearly demotivated, and talked many times of retirement. But sponsor Benson & Hedges wanted him to continue, and he did so until the season was over, a pale shadow of the man who had triumphed so emotionally in Suzuka three years earlier.

Always an honorable man and a sportsman, Hill had come perilously close to damaging that reputation in his final, lackluster season.

Damon Hill stats-

1983 - Motorcycle competition
1984 - In 1984, while working as a motorbike delivery man, Damon participates to motorcycle races. With over 40 wins in one year,it can be said that he is quite successfull! In that year Damon turns his attention on car racing by taking part in the British Formula Ford Championship. One win and a fifth place in the Formula Ford Festival, allow him to become rooky of the year. This helps him greatly to obtain the budget for the next season.Motorcycle competitionFormula Ford starts - 1 win
1985 - Formula Ford championship- 6 wins - Team Van Diemen
1986 - Formula 3 championship - 6 wins - Murray Taylor Racing
1987- Formula 3 championship - 2 wins - Cellnet Ricoh F3 Team
1988 - Formula 3 championship - 2 wins - IntersportFormula 3000 starts.
1989 - Formula 3000 championship - Mooncraft
1990 - Formula 3000 championship - Middlebridge Racing
1991 - Formula 3000 championship - Middlebridge Racing/Jordan
1992 - Formula 1 starts with Brabham-JuddWilliams-Renault test driver
1993 - Formula 1 with Williams-RenaultThird of the championship with 69 points and 3 wins (Belgium, Hungaria, Italy)
1994 - Formula 1 with Williams-RenaultSecond of the championship with 91 points and 6 wins (Great Britain, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Japan, Portugal)
1995 - Formula 1 with Williams-RenaultSecond of the championship with 69 points and 4 wins (Argentina, San Marino, Hungaria, Australia)
1996 - Formula 1 with Williams-RenaultF1 WORLD CHAMPION with 97 points and 8 wins (Australia, Brasil, Argentina, San Marino, Canada, France, Germany, Japan)
1997 - Formula 1 with Arrows-Yamaha12th in the championship with 7 points (Best result: 2nd in Hungary)
1998 - Formula 1 with Jordan Mugen Honda6th in the championship with 20 points and one win (Belgium)


Number of Grand Prix starts-122

Numbers of wins-22

Number of pole positions-20

Number of fastest laps-19

credit-Grandprix.com
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Postby Kiki » Wed 03 Jan, 2007 4:15 pm

Very good craggle, its nice to see another Damon Hill fan. I'm fed up with people putting him down. I think its important to be a gentleman/woman in sports, not a maniac who will do anything to win. If you are such a maniac, you lose your credibility, humanity and compassion.
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Postby AlesiFan » Wed 03 Jan, 2007 8:02 pm

I think maybe as time goes on Damon will be treated more favourably as not being as good as Schumi becomes less of a criminal offence.

Some of the problem in my opinion was created by the British press and their traditional build 'em up and knock 'em down mentality.And I sometimes think some motorsports journalists arent much better than the tabloids.

I was lucky enough to be at Spa in 1998 where he won for Jordan after a typically good wet weather drive.
But Schumi was taken out by a slow travelling backmaker that day - Damons finest hour in my opinion was Suzuka 1994.Where he won on merit in terrible conditions with the World Title lost if he put a wheel wrong.
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Postby John » Wed 03 Jan, 2007 9:42 pm

AlesiFan wrote:I think maybe as time goes on Damon will be treated more favourably as not being as good as Schumi becomes less of a criminal offence.


I've never seen Damon as anything other than a fan's favorite.... didn't he win the BBC Sports Personality of the twice...

His treatment by Williams came as a shock but in an left field move he went to Arrows (a brave or foolish gesture I'm not sure) but he almost pulled of the win of the decade....

I liked him, he and his Family lived just outside Dublin and I have heard a rumor that he owns a BMW MINI dealership....
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Postby AlesiFan » Wed 03 Jan, 2007 10:13 pm

John wrote:I've never seen Damon as anything other than a fan's favorite.... didn't he win the BBC Sports Personality of the twice...

His treatment by Williams came as a shock but in an left field move he went to Arrows (a brave or foolish gesture I'm not sure) but he almost pulled of the win of the decade....


Won the BBC award in 1994 and 1996.
And it was really after 1996 that the sniping began.Or at least that is my perception.Not that Damon will be losing too much sleep over it! Always had a sense of perspective.

And I think even he would say the move to Arrows was foolish rather than brave. :lol:
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Postby Kiki » Wed 03 Jan, 2007 10:16 pm

John wrote:I've never seen Damon as anything other than a fan's favorite.... didn't he win the BBC Sports Personality of the twice...


That is interesting John, I always seem to see people putting Damon down and asking why I support him [DUH! He's a British champion of course]. They say 'oh, he only won cos he had the best car/ Schumi wasn't in a good car/Schumi had bad luck', or 'he didn't have the fighting spirit'. Or whatever. He was still champion though! Bah! :x
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Postby John » Wed 03 Jan, 2007 10:25 pm

He came close to a WDC in 1994... :roll: and showed his fighting spirit in 1995 and 1997.


just because I was a bigger fan of Schumacher does not mean I did not like Hill or Hakkinen.....

Jacques.. I didn't like much even when he was a BMW driver. :cry:
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Postby stradlin21 » Wed 03 Jan, 2007 10:25 pm

Damon is vastly underrated

he totally broke Schumacher mentally in 94 with his amazing performances in the 2nd half of the season, even causing the German to fall off the road in Adalaide and resort to cowardly cheating tactics to beat Hill

Of course, with the inferior car, he couldn't match Schumi in 95

it was great to see Damon take the title in 96 and then win the Belgium GP in 98

a true gentlemen racer, certainly!
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Postby Kiki » Wed 03 Jan, 2007 10:33 pm

John wrote:just because I was a bigger fan of Schumacher does not mean I did not like Hill or Hakkinen.....


I wasn't meaning you in particular John, I just meant people in general who put Damon down. I suspect its people who just like to annoy others/ fanatics who can't bear anyone to disagree with them as regards their favourite driver. There are lots of those types around. :roll:
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Postby John » Wed 03 Jan, 2007 10:40 pm

Caite wrote:... fanatics who can't bear anyone to disagree with them as regards their favourite driver. There are lots of those types around. :roll:


Oh that could be me if the mood takes me... :oops:


but most days I try and keep it real... 8)

I mean see what stradli21 posted... seen it heard it all before and he knows what my response would be... so I don't need to post it. :roll:
Last edited by John on Wed 03 Jan, 2007 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby St. Mackem of Kansas » Wed 03 Jan, 2007 10:41 pm

He came close to a WDC in 1994...


Unfortunately he came too close to Schumacher, giving the German the opportunity to take him out.
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Postby Kiki » Wed 03 Jan, 2007 10:43 pm

Well you know what this means John... I shall have to beat you with no mercy til you admit Damon was better than Schumacher. That's the only answer :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby John » Wed 03 Jan, 2007 10:44 pm

John wrote:I mean see what stradli21 posted... seen it, heard it all before and he knows what my response would be... so I don't need to post it. :roll:


Or St.Mackem for that matter................... :wink:
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Postby St. Mackem of Kansas » Wed 03 Jan, 2007 10:55 pm

some form of crying
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Postby John » Wed 03 Jan, 2007 10:59 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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