Champion of champions: Juan Manuel Fangio vs Mike Hawthorn

Juan Manuel Fangio vs Mike Hawthorn

Champion of ChampionsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Champion of champions: Juan Manuel Fangio vs Mike Hawthorn

Juan Manuel Fangio and Mike Hawthorn were rivals of the 1950s who spent many seasons racing against each other.

But although both won titles with Ferrari they were never paired up at the same team.

Fangio drove seven complete season in which he won five world championship titles before retiring two races into 1958. Hawthorn succeeded him as world champion.

With better reliability, Fangio could have been the first ever world champion instead of Giuseppe Farina. Both drove for Alfa Romeo, but Fangio lost three finishes to car failure while Farina’s only let him down in Reims.

The following year Fangio clinched his first championship but he injured his neck in 1952 and missed the season. He returned in 1953 and finished runner-up to Alberto Ascari.

Hawthorn’s first championship season was in 1952 at the wheel of a Cooper entered by his father Leslie. After several impressive drives he was hired by Ferrari and he won his fourth race with the team, edging Fangio at Reims.

Fangio dominated 1954, winning six of eight races (excluding the Indianapolis 500), starting the season with Maserati before moving on to Mercedes.

In 1955 Hawthorn abandoned a planned switch to Vanwall and returned to Ferrari. Fangio stayed at Mercedes where he won his third title, but the team quit Formula 1 at the end of the year following the Le Mans disaster.

That led Fangio to Ferrari but Hawthorn was no longer there. He’d moved on to BRM, mainly because he wanted to drive the British team’s sports cars. Fangio claimed the title in an ex-Lancia D50, before returning to Maserati.

Hawthorn re-joined Ferrari but couldn’t keep Fangio from title number five: Fangio famously defeated Hawthorn having fallen over a minute behind him at the Nurburgring that year. He retired not long after.

Hawthorn won the title in 1958 despite taking a single Grand Prix victory to Stirling Moss’s four. But he drove consistently, with seven podium finishes from ten starts. He retired after winning the title, but was killed in a road accident the following January.

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.

Juan Manuel Fangio Mike Hawthorn
Juan Manuel Fangio, 1955 Mike Hawthorn
Titles 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957 1958
Second in title year/s Alberto Ascari, Jose Froilan Gonzalez, Stirling Moss, Stirling Moss, Stirling Moss Stirling Moss
Teams Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Mercedes, Ferrari Cooper, Ferrari, Vanwall, Maserati, BRM
Notable team mates Giuseppe Farina, Peter Collins, Stirling Moss Giuseppe Farina, Alberto Ascari, Peter Collins
Starts 51 45
Wins 24 (47.06%) 3 (6.67%)
Poles 29 (56.86%) 4 (8.89%)
Modern points per start1 17.12 10.40
% car failures2 17.65 22.22
Modern points per finish3 20.79 13.37
Notes Missed 1952 season due to injury Famously beat Fangio at Reims in 1953
Handed 1956 title by team mate Peter Collins Consistent points-scoring brought him the 1958 title, aided by team mate Phil Hill
Record haul of five titles unequalled until 2002 Retired but killed in a road accident in January 1959
Bio Juan Manuel Fangio Mike Hawthorn

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?

  • Juan Manuel Fangio (97%)
  • Mike Hawthorn (3%)

Total Voters: 554

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Images ?ι?® Daimler (Fangio), Chris Ilsley (Hawthorn)