Alberto Ascari vs James Hunt

Alberto Ascari vs James Hunt

Champion of ChampionsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Champion of Champions: Alberto Ascari vs James Hunt

The next Champion of Champions match-up features two drivers who set unusual records.

Alberto Ascari won more races consecutively than any other driver, while James Hunt overcame one of the largest ever points deficits to win the title.

Ascari’s victories at Spa-Francorchamps in 1952 and 1953 were significant because he won every world championship race he entered in between – nine in a row, a feat that has never been equalled.

His first championship victory came at the Nurburgring in 1951, where he led home Juan Manuel Fangio. In 1952 the injured Fangio missed the championship season and Ascari cleaned up. But the Ferrari driver retained his crown in 1953 as Fango returned.

However Ascari endured a dreadful 1954 after switching to Lancia. Their new car was delayed and he whiled away the season with guest drives for Maserati and Ferrari, failing to score a single point.

Ascari led the 1955 season-opener in Argentina but spun off on the melting track. He crashed out at Monaco too, landing in the harbour. He survived, but a few days later was killed testing a Ferrari sports car at Monza.

He made the fewest starts of any of champion – just 32. Hunt’s career covered a similarly short time frame. He made his first start at Monaco in 1973 and made his final start at the track six years later.

Hunt was very much the underdog in his first few seasons with Hesketh, but realised his potential by winning on a damp track at Zandvoort in 1975.

He was called up to drive for McLaren following Emerson Fittipaldi’s abrupt departure from the team. Nine races into the season the championship looked like a tall order: Niki Lauda had 61 points to Hunt’s 26, a gap of almost four wins.

But Lauda was badly injured at the Nurburgring and missed three races. He returned with Hunt just 14 points behind, setting the scene for an exciting battle for the title over the final races.

In the end it was decided when Lauda withdrew from the final race of the year at Fuji in dreadful conditions, while Hunt claimed the third place he needed to take the title.

Though Hunt won three times in 1977 he couldn’t prevent Lauda taking his title back. With McLaren flagging he joined Wolf for 1979 but retired six races into the season.

Which of these drivers should go through to the next round of the Champion of Champions? Vote for which you think was best below and explain who you voted for and why in the comments.

Alberto Ascari James Hunt
Alberto Ascari James Hunt, McLaren, 1976
Titles 1952, 1953 1976
Second in title year/s Giuseppe Farina, Juan Manuel Fangio Niki Lauda
Teams Lancia, Ferrari, Maserati Hesketh, McLaren, Wolf
Notable team mates Luigi Villoresi, Giuseppe Farina, Mike Hawthorn Jochen Mass, Patrick Tambay, Keke Rosberg
Starts 32 92
Wins 13 (40.63%) 10 (10.87%)
Poles 14 (43.75%) 14 (15.22%)
Modern points per start1 13.94 6.84
% car failures2 18.75 29.35
Modern points per finish3 17.15 9.68
Notes Enjoyed success in several pre-championship Grands Prix Snuck a win for tiny Hesketh team in 1975 before joining McLaren
Won nine consecutive starts from 1952-3 Overhauled large deficit to take title off injured Lauda in 1976
Killed during 1955 season driving a Ferrari at Monza Abruptly quit early in 1979 season
Bio Alberto Ascari James Hunt

1 How many points they scored in their career, adjusted to the 2010 points system, divided by the number of races they started
2 The percentage of races in which they were not classified due to a mechanical failure
3 How many points they scored in their career, adjusted to the 2010 points system, divided by the number of starts in which they did not suffer a race-ending mechanical failure

Which was the better world champion driver?

  • Alberto Ascari (80%)
  • James Hunt (20%)

Total Voters: 570

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Images ?? Pirelli (Ascari), Ford (Hunt)