Ayrton Senna vs Graham Hill

Champion of Champions

Champion of Champions: Ayrton Senna vs Graham Hill

Ayrton Senna and Graham Hill not only won the world championship on more than one occasion, they were also runner-up several times too.

Senna won the title three times and was runner-up twice, whereas Hill won the championship twice and placed second in three consecutive years, from 1963 to 1965.

But while Hill set a record for competing in 18 seasons – a record equalled last year by Rubens Barrichello – Senna’s was tragically curtailed when he was killed at Imola.

However the final years of Hill’s career came after he was badly injured in a crash at Watkins Glen in 1969. It clearly impaired his later performances and his days of driving for top teams like BRM and Lotus were soon over.

Both Senna and Hill also shared a team with another of the great drivers of their day.

Senna was partnered with Alain Prost at McLaren in 1988 and 1989, winning a title apiece. Hill joined Jim Clark at Lotus in 1967. That partnership was brought to an end by Clark’s untimely death in 1968.

In 1969 Hill won the Monaco Grand Prix for the fifth time – a record, until Senna scored his sixth Monaco victory in 1993.

Coincidentally, Senna’s final team mate was Graham’s son Damon – his opponent in the first round of Champion of Champions.

But which of these drivers should go through to the quarter-finals? Vote for which you think was best below and explain who you voted for and why in the comments.

Ayrton Senna Graham Hill
Ayrton Senna, Williams, 1994 Graham Hill
Titles 1988, 1990, 1991 1962, 1968
Second in title year/s Alain Prost, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart
Teams Toleman, Lotus, McLaren, Williams Lotus, BRM, Brabham, Embassy
Notable team mates Alain Prost, Gerhard Berger, Mika Hakkinen Richie Ginther, Jackie Stewart, Jim Clark
Starts 161 175
Wins 41 (25.47%) 14 (8.00%)
Poles 65 (40.37%) 13 (7.43%)
Modern points per start1 11.68 6.02
% car failures2 20.50 33.14
Modern points per finish3 14.70 9.00
Notes Won three titles in four years with McLaren Narrowly lost 1964 title to John Surtees after being hit by Lorenzo Bandini
Controversial clash with Prost sealed second title Won second title in 1968 following team mate Jim Clark’s death
Killed in third race for Williams in 1994 Died in a light aircraft accident shortly after concluding then-record 176-race career
Bio Ayrton Senna Graham Hill

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

Round one

Which was the better world champion driver?

  • Ayrton Senna (89%)
  • Graham Hill (11%)

Total Voters: 538

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Images ?? Williams/Sutton (Senna), Brian Waddell (Hill)

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68 comments on Ayrton Senna vs Graham Hill

  1. SundarF1 (@sundarf1) said on 26th January 2011, 8:29

    I voted for Senna as well, and I think Senna may well win this COFC poll, or will be in contention till the final poll at the least. It’s kinda difficult not to vote for Senna.

  2. nillojapa (@nillojapa) said on 27th January 2011, 0:58

    for me, Senna is the best ever

  3. David R. Turner said on 20th February 2011, 21:30

    I don’t know why this comparison is being made. It’s difficult enough to compare drivers from different era’s. Graham Hill and Ayrton Senna are very different characters with very different skills. Senna is a natural and Hill was a very fast racing driver able to adapt to all kinds of Motor racing but not a natural. To bear in mind is that Graham Hill loved F1 racing so much he continued to race way past his best for a good 5 years or so when he had no chance of winning.
    Meanwhile Senna’s career was cut short with his unfortunate death in 1994 when he was still at his best. Stats are going to favour Senna by far so it’s an unfair comparison. Monaco was the only possible ground for comparison. As characters Graham Hill was a more balanced and well rounded person. Senna had antagonism against Prost despite proving he had the edge, yet he still found differences. Why?
    The Brazilian always found things to complain about which he saw as favouring Prost. Yet Graham Hill was matched up with two of the best F1 drivers of his time who had natural talent: On the day Jim Clark & Jackie Stewart were almost always faster than Hill. Yet Hill never showed any sign of envy or resentment towards his teammates as Senna did towards Prost. Hill joked about it in major events but had to take 2nd best.
    He was a a top racing driver and true Gentleman, Senna was a great racer and a sensitive man but no gentleman.
    I can’t vote for one or the other.

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