Emerson Fittipaldi and Denny Hulme were team mates at McLaren in 1974 – though the comparison does not flatter Hulme.
That was his final year in the sport, while Fittipaldi was at the peak of his powers, winning his second championship that year.
Hulme got his break in F1 through Jack Brabham, who he worked for as a mechanic before starting his first championship races in 1965. The following season was a breakthrough year for Brabham as he won the championship in his own car.
Hulme went into the 1967 season having never previously won a race. But while Brabham frequently hit trouble running new parts on his car, Hulme’s Brabham saw the chequered flag in nine out of 11 races, and it was in the top four every time. He won at Monte-Carlo and the Nurburgring, and took the title from his team mate.
With that he joined another driver running his own team – fellow Kiwi Bruce McLaren. Hulme went into the final two races of 1968 level on points with championship leader Graham Hill, but he missed out on a second title after crashing out at Watkins Glen and in Mexico – the latter an enormous shunt caused by a suspension breakage.
McLaren was killed in 1970 – the same year Jochen Rindt lost his life, which prompted Fittipaldi’s promotion at Lotus. He quickly delivered on his potential, winning his fourth career race at Watkins Glen.
But 1971 was a difficult season as the team struggled to get to grips with its new car, the 72, and Fittipaldi was briefly sidelined after being injured in a road accident. After getting a handle on the new car, he clinched the championship in 1972, becoming the youngest driver ever to do so.
Fittipaldi started 1973 with a pair of wins but came under increased pressure from new team mate Ronnie Peterson as the season wore on. Jackie Stewart claimed his title back from Fittipaldi.
That led him to cut his ties with Lotus and join McLaren. He paired up with Hulme, who had won once with the competitive new M23 in 1973. Hulme won the season-opener at Buenos Aires, but come the end of the season it was Fittipaldi who won the title in the final round.
While Hulme headed into retirement, Fittipaldi spent a second season with McLaren before making the surprise decision to drive for his brother Wilson’s team. In five years the team tasted little success, second place for Fittipaldi in Brazil in 1978 being the notable exception.
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.
|Emerson Fittipaldi||Denny Hulme|
|Second in title year/s||Jackie Stewart, Clay Regazzoni||Jack Brabham|
|Teams||Lotus, McLaren, Copersucar, Fittipaldi||Brabham, McLaren|
|Notable team mates||Ronnie Peterson, Denny Hulme, Jochen Mass||Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren, Emerson Fittipaldi|
|Wins||14 (9.72%)||8 (7.14%)|
|Poles||6 (4.17%)||1 (0.89%)|
|Modern points per start1||6.90||8.39|
|% car failures2||25.69||25.89|
|Modern points per finish3||9.29||11.33|
|Notes||Won in his fourth F1 start||Took title off team mate Brabham in 1967|
|Spent five seasons with Fittipaldi team after winning second title||Moved to McLaren the following year and came close to retaining his crown|
|Formerly the youngest ever world champion||Won the first race of 1974 but retired at the end of the year|
|Bio||Emerson Fittipaldi||Denny Hulme|
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?
- Emerson Fittipaldi (82%)
- Denny Hulme (18%)
Total Voters: 530
Read the F1 Fanatic Champion of Champions introduction for more information and remember to check back tomorrow for the next round.
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Images ?é?® Gillfoto via Flickr (Fittipaldi), Gerry Swetsky (Hulme)