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 ?é?® Brian Waddell (Hill), John Evans (Rindt)

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71 comments on Graham Hill vs Jochen Rindt

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. DJPastey (@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)

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

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

  6. 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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