Graham Hill vs Jochen Rindt

Champion of Champions

Champion of Champions: Graham Hil vs Jochen Rindt

Graham Hill and Jochen Rindt were team mates at Lotus in the late sixties.

But Hill while Hill enjoyed a long career Rindt’s was all too brief and often spent at the wheel of unreliable cars.

Hill started his F1 career in a Lotus in 1958, but moved on to BRM two years later.

The team was ill-prepared for the change of engine formula in 1961, but once its in-hour 1.5-litre unit was ready in 1962 Hill cleaned up. He finished every race, winning three of the last four to clinch the championship.

He enjoyed sustained success with the team, finishing runner-up in the world championship for the next three years in a row. He was especially unfortunate to miss out in 1964, when he had the title in his sights before being hit by Ferrari’s Lorenzo Bandini in the last race of the year.

Rindt made his F1 debut that year in his home race at the wheel of a Brabham entered by Rob Walker. That led to a three-year deal with Cooper but his equipment was clearly not up to the job, although he finished third in the championship in 1966.

He joined Brabham for 1968 but found himself cursed by unreliability there too. That led him to Lotus for 1969, teaming up with Hill.

Hill had joined Jim Clark at Lotus two years earlier and did the development work on the pioneering Cosworth DFV-engined 49. After Clark’s death in early 1968, Hill brought some consolation to Lotus by winning his second world championship.

In 1969 Rindt broke his Grand Prix victory duck and out-scored Hill by 22 points to 19. But Hill was seriously injured in a massive crash in the penultimate race of the year at Watkins Glen caused by a burst tyre.

To the surprise of his doctors he recovered to score a point on his return in the first race of 1970. But he never won another F1 race.

This was to be Rindt’s championship year as he won five times and amassed a considerable points lead. But the season took a tragic turn as Rindt crashed and lost his life at Monza.

His lead in the championship was so great that none of his rivals were able to beat him in the remaining races, and so he became the only driver to win the title posthumously.

Hill remained in F1 for another five years, first with Brabham and then with his own team. But this lengthy postscript to his career was largely devoid of success. In a cruel twist of fate, he lost his life shortly after concluding his 18th year in F1.

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.

Graham Hill Jochen Rindt
Graham Hill Jochen Rindt
Titles 1962, 1968 1970
Second in title year/s Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart Jacky Ickx
Teams Lotus, BRM, Brabham, Embassy Brabham, Cooper, Lotus
Notable team mates Richie Ginther, Jackie Stewart, Jim Clark Jack Brabham, Richard Attwood, John Miles
Starts 175 60
Wins 14 (8.00%) 6 (10.00%)
Poles 13 (7.43%) 10 (16.67%)
Modern points per start1 6.02 5.97
% car failures2 33.14 55.00
Modern points per finish3 9.00 13.26
Notes Narrowly lost 1964 title to John Surtees after being hit by Lorenzo Bandini Joined Brabham after three years with struggling Cooper
Won second title in 1968 following team mate Jim Clark’s death Won first race after joining Lotus in 1969
Badly injured in 1969 crash at Watkins Glen The only driver to win the title posthumously
Bio Graham Hill Jochen Rindt

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?

  • Graham Hill (62%)
  • Jochen Rindt (38%)

Total Voters: 525

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Images ?? Brian Waddell (Hill), John Evans (Rindt)

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71 comments on Graham Hill vs Jochen Rindt

  1. melkurion (@melkurion) said on 14th January 2011, 13:38

    Who do we have left anyways…? Alonso, Hamilton, Button and Phill Hill by my count?

  2. Chippie (@chippie) said on 14th January 2011, 13:50

    This is the closest contest yet, in every other line-up I saw a clear winner immediately, but in this won I really struggled to my ultimate decision: Rindt.
    Both drivers are fantastic, easily going in my all-time top ten drivers, but Rindt appeared to show incredible talent – he only failed to finish outside the top ten on three occasions – he was badly let down by reliability throughout his career and I reckon that his career would have gone from strength to strength on the back of that WDC win.

    • olivier (@olivier) said on 14th January 2011, 14:52

      Agreed. A couple of races where Jochen really shone: Aspern 1962 beating 3 liter Jaguars with his Alfa Romeo Giulia TI. 1964 F2 London Trophy race where he won beating the class of the field including Jim Clark, Denny Hulme, Peter Arundell and Graham Hill himself.

  3. Cristian (@cristian) said on 14th January 2011, 14:40

    One of the closest battles. Rindt was the faster one, but Hill had his strong points too. He wasn’t Clark’s closest rival in the 60’s for no reason! However, he started badly at Lotus, he was far from Clark(second best but still far away), he was crushed by him in their years together( although I have to admit he was beginning to age at that point). And,also, the rookie Jackie Stewart proved a match to him.
    I don’t want to consider his later years because it would be unfair to him, he is a great driver and I think he did it because of his passion for the sport, so this is something we should respect, not criticize.
    On the other hand Rindt was very, very fast and had only one oportunity to shine which he took flawlessly.
    I don’t remember the source, but Frank Williams once said that,in his opinion, Jochen Rindt was the most gifted driver in F1. That has to mean something! I go with him.

  4. Eggry (@eggry) said on 14th January 2011, 15:36

    I think Rindt is more attractive character, but I voted to Hill. not because of his mustache. probably.

  5. Scalextric (@scalextric) said on 14th January 2011, 15:54

    Graham Hill was my hero growing up. I didn’t particularly like his upper class twit accent, I didn’t like his dashing mustache, I liked his driving, his victories and his cars. In my mind it was him driving my electric car set’s Lotus and consistently beating the Ferrari. And I share part of my name with him, maybe that was the strongest link when I was a kid.
    I can still remember hearing of his death and it still makes me sad to recall. Jochen Rindt tragically came and went so fast in F1 that he didn’t make the same mark on my memory.
    Thus +1 for Graham.

  6. This is pretty close. I’d say Hill considering he’s the only driver in motorsport history to complete the triple crown of motorsport. A sad thing I read about was that Rindt said he was going to retire if he won the title.

  7. pseudohendrix (@pseudohendrix) said on 14th January 2011, 17:46

    I voted Rindt.

    I’ve never much rated Hill. He won his championships in dominant cars and was not the fastest driver in any of those seasons. Only his record at Monaco strikes me as remarkable.

    Rindt on the other hand was a true great, in terms of raw speed only Clark really rivaled him amongst his contemporaries. It is telling that Stewart felt that towards the end of 1969, Rindt had become the outright fastest in the field as well as developing over the course of that season in to a more complete driver.

    His final laps in the 1970 Monaco Grand Prix are amongst the most astonishing ever seen in F1, right up there with Fangio’s drive at the Nurburgring in 1957 and his title should have been the first of many.

  8. pseudohendrix (@pseudohendrix) said on 14th January 2011, 18:01

    Sorry to DP but missing from ‘notable team-mates’ for Rindt are;

    Pedro Rodriguez, Jackie Ickx, Graham Hill, Mario Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi.

    and for Graham Hill;

    Jochen Rindt, Mario Andretti,

  9. YoungGuns (@youngguns) said on 14th January 2011, 18:25

    Again a very difficult decision Graham Hill nearly got my vote but in the end I had to vote for Rindt. He achieved so mutch in a shortened career

  10. mrgrieves (@mrgrieves) said on 14th January 2011, 23:30

    I was totally stuck after going through write up’s on the net, stats, footage of the two so in the end followed my gut and went hill, although i’ve een very little of him from his prime. By far the hardest so far though

    Cant see the last two being so hard, surley thanks too the seeding we wont get Nando and Lewis as Phil Hill and Button were awful champions

  11. Daniel said on 15th January 2011, 1:26

    Rindt’s percentage of car failures (55%) is the highest I’ve ever seen. Is there any other champion with such misfortune?

    I’m really surprised by the figures…

    • tmfox (@tmfox) said on 15th January 2011, 3:18

      It is quite high. Most of his retirements are in his last year with Cooper and his one and only year with Brabham

      Ten retirements out of twelve races in 1968 when he was driving for Brabham. Nine times due to mechanical failure and once for an accident in Monaco. He only finished two races in the whole year and both of those were third places.

      Very unlucky but on the flipside when his car managed to get to the finish he finished well!

  12. tmfox (@tmfox) said on 15th January 2011, 3:09

    Jochen was more than capable of more wins + a few more championships.

    Unfortunately it wasn’t to be.

    I’m voting for Hill and it’s not for the length of his career. He just put a lot into F1 and got a lot in return.

  13. Kenny (@kenny) said on 15th January 2011, 6:09

    Some people are basing their choice in this match up on factors outside of F1. I was under the impression that we are meant to make a choice based on accomplishments in F1 only. Perhaps I misunderstood, and if so, I want to change my vote in the Stewart-Andretti match up.

    Can someone enlighten me on this point? Thanks.

  14. DJPastey (@) said on 15th January 2011, 6:11

    Easily Hill for me. The triple crown is a unique feat. Plus 2 WDC’s, 3 runner up spots & 5 Monaco wins. And to top it off, he was my grandma’s cousin! (not that this would make any difference)

  15. plushpile (@plushpile) said on 15th January 2011, 7:10

    Greham Hill
    The only driver to have won the Triple Crown of Motorsport.

  16. rdenatale (@rdenatale) said on 16th January 2011, 15:29

    Well, I voted for Rindt, primarily due to the stats and winning his first race.

    But I was conflicted about this. I’ve got the greatest respect for Damon’s dad.

    And I was probably hasty, had I considered a bit more and remembered the Triple Crown, I probably would have reversed my vote.

    Actually I wish I could, but that’s the way it goes.

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