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Mike Hawthorn: style champ
Britain's first F1 champ was a winning dresser too....
Mike Hawthorn knew how to dress.
But as well as being a sartorial stylist, the golden boy from the West Riding of Yorkshire who died tragically early in a crash in his hopped up MK2 Jaguar, was one of the true stars of British Motor Racing.
He was born in 1929, the son of family deeply involved in racing and the motor trade and made his competition debut in a 1934 Riley Ulster Imp in 1950. Just two years later he stepped up to Formula One at the Belgian Grand Prix – and at the wheel of a Ferrari won the French GP of 1953 at Reims. It was his ninth F1 start.
Famously duelling with Fangio in a Jaguar at the ill-fated 24 Hours of Le Mans of 1955 in which 83 spectators lost their lives – he was, apparently, deeply affected by the tragedy – and this was just one of a series of losses that plagued Hawthorn’s all-too brief life and career.
Hawthorn won the F1 championship of 1958 in a season where he only scored a single victory – in a famous season when Stirling Moss, who won four GPs that year, more or less sacrificed his own title in the name of gentlemanly racing, thereby helping to overturn a Hawthorn disqualification that would have landed him his all-elusive title.
It’s a horrible irony that in such chivalrous times, cars – and the racing of them, was such a deadly game. Hawthorn died at the wheel of his Jaguar on the A3 in January 1959 – having lost his father and multiple friends and colleagues in similar circumstances.
There must be some correlation to the danger and commitment needed for any given sport and the noblesse that practitioners are blessed with.
And we think Lewis Hamilton should be forced to wear a dickie-bow at the helm of his Mercedes.
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