Jack Brabham vs Lewis Hamilton

Champion of Champions

Champion of Champions: Jack Braham vs Lewis Hamilton

Jack Brabham and Lewis Hamilton both won the world championship in their second full season in the sport.

These are also drivers who spent a long time with the same team. Brabham only ever drove for cars entered by himself or Cooper (with one exception) and Hamilton has spent the first four years of his F1 career with McLaren.

Obviously a key point of difference between the two is the lengths of their careers: Brabham retired after 16 seasons in the sport, Hamilton is heading into his fifth.

Another striking difference between the two is the difference in reliability they enjoyed. The cars of the fifties and sixties Brabham drove were generally far less reliable – particularly in the years when he was developing his own.

Hamilton has the lowest car failure rate of any world champion. But if you factor out car breakages their adjusted average points score per race are quite close as you can see in the table below.

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.

Lewis Hamilton Lewis Hamilton
Jack Braham Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Interlagos, 2010
Titles 1959, 1960, 1966 2008
Second in title year/s Tony Brooks, Bruce McLaren, John Surtees Felipe Massa
Teams Cooper, Brabham McLaren
Notable team mates Bruce McLaren, Dan Gurney, Denny Hulme Fernando Alonso, Heikki Kovalainen, Jenson Button
Starts 123 71
Wins 14 (11.38%) 14 (19.72%)
Poles 13 (10.57%) 18 (25.35%)
Modern points per start1 7.63 12.31
% car failures2 34.96 2.82
Modern points per finish3 11.74 12.67
Notes Back-to-back titles for Cooper in 1959 and 1960 Finished on podium on debut and won his sixth race
Then became only driver to win a championship in his own car Became champion in his second season after narrowly missing rookie title win
Runner-up in 1967 to team mate Denny Hulme Formerly the youngest ever world champion
Bio Jack Brabham Lewis Hamilton

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?

  • Jack Brabham (51%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (44%)

Total Voters: 784

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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?® Peter Denton (Brabham), www.mclaren.com (Hamilton)

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380 comments on Jack Brabham vs Lewis Hamilton

  1. Although I am Hamilton fan I have to go with Brabham, maybe when Hamilton’s career is over and we can give a full appraisal of what he achieves I might rank him higher.

    In all likelihood Hamilton isn’t even halfway through his career at the moment and while he should go on to win more World Championships so far he doesn’t match up to Brabham with his three Championships including one in his own car.

  2. melkurion (@melkurion) said on 24th January 2011, 13:02

    When Hamilton got into the sport, I didn’t like him, now I love the guy, one of the greatest fighters ever.

    But Jack Brabham won 3 WDC, one in his own car! And if he hadn’t been so intent on testing all the new components on his own car in 67, he would have won a fourt title instead of Hulme winning his.

    So no matte rhow much I respect Hamilton, it’s gotta be jack!

  3. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 24th January 2011, 13:03

    This is what the result showed when I voted.

    * Jack Brabham (47 Votes)
    * Lewis Hamilton (46 Votes)

    Total Voters: 93

  4. Polishboy808 (@polishboy808) said on 24th January 2011, 13:12

    for me its

    Brabham (52 Votes)
    Hamilton (48 Votes)

    GO BRABHAM GO!!!!!!

  5. mrgrieves (@mrgrieves) said on 24th January 2011, 13:13

    Jack Brabham gets this vote easily from me. Hamilton has had a race winning car for all but 10 Races of his carear thats had bullitproof reliability. I have a thought on this. Hamilton’s cars covering his entire carear is similar to the best Brabham ever had, minus first half of 2009. So taking Hamilton could have had 3 titles by now but only just got 1 title. Brabham could of had 4 and only failed in 1967 when two poor results in the US and British grand prix cost him a 4th title. Being such a strong contender in a golden era of drivers in his own car is an achievment that says he is one of the best ever where as Hamilton is just one of the best of the current field

  6. Boost (@boost) said on 24th January 2011, 13:22

    Jack Brabham. Why?: It´s easiest to explain why Hamilton doesn´t belong among the champions of champions:

    First: lying to race stewards in Melbourne 2009 while being the reigning world champion. His lie hurt one of his fellow drivers, Jarno Trulli, but luckily the truth was revealed. Champion of Champions? Nay.

    Second: while apologizing to all — “I would like to say a big sorry to all my fans who have believed in me and years. I have showed you who I am for the past three years. I am not a liar. I am not a dishonest person” — he sounded like in denial. Perhaps not before but now he WAS obviously a dishonest person, a liar. Champion of Champions? Nay.

    A Champion of Champions shouldn´t lie about his actions on the track.

    • Dobin1000 (@dobin1000) said on 24th January 2011, 16:45

      So does that mean Schumacher or Senna could be Champion of Champions despite both having deliberately driven into another car during a race, endangering their own and others lives, but telling a porky means you are a pariah forever?

      This is a genuine question – I don’t see any reason for any of the three drivers to not be able to win because of a couple of isolated incidents.

      And I seem to remember Schumacher insisting he lost control of the car at Monaco…

  7. sumedh said on 24th January 2011, 13:27

    Dropped in on F1fanatic after quite a while. And realising that I missed a lot.

    What an amazing collection of articles this ‘Champions of Champions’ series is. I curse myself for following the Ashes and one-day cricket all this while.

  8. DavidS (@davids) said on 24th January 2011, 13:27

    What Brabham has achieved in the sport far outweighs what Hamilton has done to this point.

    The fact that Brabham won a championship with his own car is a significant achievement. Hamilton is a talented driver, but his successes have been staged managed by a huge team of people behind him who provide him with a championship winning car and the strategy to maximise it. Jack took on most of that work himself and still came out on top.

    • The Ram (@the-ram) said on 24th January 2011, 16:55

      Sure you never even saw him race! I have DVD’s right here and that guy had rockets for cars. Not even Chapman’s cars could stand up to those coopers. Basically the modern day RB6. I have been watching F1 for donkey’s years so believe me.

      • kowalsky said on 25th January 2011, 7:30

        good point you make. I was watching the other day the highlights of the 1970 spanish gp, and jack seemed like an amateur. He spun several times over the water the marshalls dropped on the site of a big accident, and still was catching stewart, who was doing a perfect race. Without a doubt had a superior car. Finally when he was putting some real pressure on jackie, he had and engine failure. Not a very smooth drive. Either very impressive.

  9. These is so matched that looks people have forgotten Brahbam is a milestone in RACING history, not only as a pilot but as a team principal. My vote is for him, even when Lewis is a good driver.

  10. wasiF1 said on 24th January 2011, 13:32

    Though I voted for Hamilton I think that Brabham may win this round. It will be sad to Lewis going out of it (if he does) as I wish he stays for Round 3.

  11. Dipak T said on 24th January 2011, 13:36

    Brabham. An absolute no brainer.

  12. damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 24th January 2011, 15:56

    Gee this is close! I voted Brabham, mostly due to the fact he had about 15 times the amount of car failures as Hamilton has.

  13. Burnout (@burnout) said on 24th January 2011, 16:02

    Hamilton has had a championship worthy car for 3 seasons. He was in contention to win the championship at the final race for those 3 seasons (albeit an outside chance in 2010) The only one he won was against Massa who almost nobody rates as the best, or even in the top 3, of the current grid. And even that one was thanks to Timo Glock’s cold tyres, in one way or another. Sure, he showed some ballsy driving in ’09 but he had nothing to lose that season.

    Until Hamilton shows he can handle the pressure of being in a long drawn title fight, he’s not going to be a greatest of the great in my book. I voted for Brabham. Winning a championship in a car of your own, outwitting Ferrari and Lotus among others? Respect.

    • Burnout (@burnout) said on 24th January 2011, 16:04

      Right now, 145 votes have been cast. 79-66 in Brabham’s favour.

    • Kodongo (@kodongo) said on 24th January 2011, 21:25

      The flaw with your argument in you are comparing 2008 Massa and 2010 Massa. Can you remember any significant events that happened to Massa in this period. One thing springs to mind (keep reading this sentence until the joke grenade detonates).

      • Burnout said on 25th January 2011, 4:23

        I know I’m comparing 2008 Massa to 2008 Hamilton. And if I remember correctly at the start of 2008, Raikkonen was the odds-on favourite to retain the title, Alonso was expected to turn Renault around, Hamilton would lead the charge for McLaren and Kubica was the new shining prospect. Massa was good but not great.

        Probably shouldn’t have said “current grid” though.

  14. Ral (@ral) said on 24th January 2011, 16:02

    It’s hard to argue with 3 championships vs. 1. Also, similar to Vettel, Hamilton just hasn’t been in F1 long enough to make his mark to quite the same extent as his opponent in this round. Certainly not to the extent where he’s had an opportunity to set up his own team and take it to a world championship.

    Of course, that last one seems hardly likely to ever happen with any of today’s drivers, given the funds required to do so, but while I’m fairly certain a driver’s job is much more involved these days than it was in Brabham’s days, it doesn’t also mean having to take care of the whole commercial aspect of talking to suppliers etc. that Brabham would have had to. It’s a different kind of involvement and a bit more all-encompassing I should think.

  15. Jack Brabham ought to win this one at a canter, the facts speak for themselves. But we should never discount the ‘Lewis Hamilton factor’ on this site. He would never have got through the first round on ‘F1 Fernaticos’. LOL

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