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

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380 comments on Jack Brabham vs Lewis Hamilton

  1. Alistair said on 24th January 2011, 17:59

    Correction for my post:

    ‘No one in F1 history…’ should, clearly, be ‘no one else in F1 history …’. Lewis was second in the 2007 championship. Alonso had the same points but was classified third: that’s behind Lewis, btw.

    • And behind Kimi. ;)

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 24th January 2011, 20:56

        Indeed, and I loved that conclusion to the 2007 season :D

      • Alistair said on 25th January 2011, 0:07

        Who was in a better car, with thanks to the FIA, a very, very odd McLaren gearbox gremlin, and McLaren strategy.

        Kimi was then beaten by Massa. Then, Kimi was dropped from Ferrari early at great expense. That’s how good Kimi is!

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 25th January 2011, 2:27

          The F2007 wasn’t in any clear way a better car than the MP4-22. In fact, most would observe that it was the other way around. Plus it was definitely a more reliable car than the Ferrari.

          Kimi was dropped despite excellent results in the second half of 2009 as Ferrari simply wanted to grasp their opportunity at getting Alonso. They also didn’t want to drop a driver who was recovering from a horrendous injury.

  2. ukk (@ukk) said on 24th January 2011, 18:00

    A hard one.
    Never seen Brabham race, so it’s stats comparison for me. On one hand Brabham got 3 titles, on the other Hamilton has more potential – better winning and scoring rates.
    So I voted Hamilton, in hope he will remain his usual racing self.

  3. debaser91 said on 24th January 2011, 18:07

    How the hell was ’07 fixed? Despite being a Hamilton fan and it was incredible he got so close in his rookie year, that title was his to lose and he contrived to throw it away.

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 24th January 2011, 18:08

      Enter the conspiracy theories…

    • Damon said on 24th January 2011, 18:15

      Because in my view they were not allowed to win the title due to the spygate scandal, so they did something to his car to cover it up

      • Burnout (@burnout) said on 24th January 2011, 18:42

        so they did something to his car to cover it up

        Perhaps Bridgestone made a defective right rear tyre for him in China? That was 8 points in the bag, enough to win the championship.

        Give it up. McLaren were eliminated from the WCC table and that was that. If anything the team should have messed with Alonso’s car, to teach him a lesson of sorts.

        • Damon said on 24th January 2011, 19:24

          The tyre problem in china was the teams fault for keeping him out too long. I do believe there is something fishy about brazil

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 24th January 2011, 21:05

            Although the team was to blame, Hamilton could have radioed to come in- after all, he was the one out on track. So yes, it was team’s fault. Hamilton is part of the team.

            And in Brazil, he suffered a gearbox problem. He was actually unlucky to suffer it, but on the flipside, fortunate that he didn’t retire from it. Besides, he made a poor start and ran off the road fighting over 3rd with Alonso (4th would have given him the title no matter what happened to Raikkonen).

          • Damon said on 24th January 2011, 21:46

            He did ask to come in earlier but his team told him to stay out. The alonso incident in brazil didn’t affect hamiltons result at all, it was the so called gearbox problem that ended his title fight

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 24th January 2011, 23:41

            Ahh, well, any bad luck/team errors Hamilton suffered balances out with Kimi’s bad luck earlier in the season (mechanical failures in Spain, Germany).

      • Something to do with JFK and a place called Roswell, wasn’t it? You probably don’t believe that man landed on the moon either. LOL

    • Alistair said on 25th January 2011, 0:11

      I don’t know, whether, like me, you’ve been watching F1 for decades, but the McLaren gearbox gremlin that put Lewis just enough behind (and it almost wasn’t enough, thanks to some mega overtaking) where he needed to be and then rebooted itself was very odd…

      It’s almost as if a team found guilty of using illegal data, removed from the WCC, and fined a record sports fee wasn’t allowed to win the WDC either…I’m sure Lewis knew nothing about it.

      • Burnout said on 25th January 2011, 4:29

        Sure, the FIA targeted Hamilton’s gearbox, forced it to reboot and ruined his race. That’s totally believable.

        Seriously, will you Hamilton fanboys let it go? Mechanical failures happen rarely, but they do happen in F1. You don’t hear anybody accusing the FIA of conspiring to blow up Schumacher’s engine in Japan ’06.

      • Damon said on 25th January 2011, 6:51

        That is exactly my feelings, Lewis didn’t know about it. Ferrari would have kicked up a right stink if mclaren won anything that year. It was probably either give up the title or your getting banned from f1

      • Dipak T said on 25th January 2011, 14:01

        Its live telemetry, nobody can remotely change something on the car!!!!

        Surely if they could, the engineers could change the fuel mixture and engine settings when needed and requested by the driver, therfore making it easier for the driver to drive?! So why must the driver all of that manually. Why are there so many buttons on the steering wheel?

        Jesus ******* Christ!

  4. Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 24th January 2011, 18:11

    For what it’s worth, Senna will probably sweep the floor with whoever wins this anyway.

    Still, would be nice to know who’d win this one. :)

  5. NathanBradley92 (@nathancabopino) said on 24th January 2011, 18:11

    Oh, so hard for a Lewis fan! With my heart, Lewis wins every time, but with my head, three titles (especially) in that era cannot be ignored.

    Plus the amount of car failures Jack had, and still won as much as he did.

    My vote goes to Brabham.


  6. Bellof (@bellof) said on 24th January 2011, 18:34

    Lewis is clearly a bit special (although i do slightly dislike him) but i feel Jack has had a greater impact thus far in F1, it is widely excepted that in a few yrs lewis will probably overtake him in the C of C’s list but as of today its got to be Jack come on fellow brits do the right thing and vote for a 3 times champ.

    Lewis and his dad won a few karting c’ships without mclaren but Brabham did the job in his own car at the highest level for that alone Jack wins this won

    • Damon said on 24th January 2011, 19:48

      What as winning in your own car got to do with anything?

      • It’s “to do” with winning in your own car. Not something Adrian Newey is likely to attempt any time soon!

        But F1 cars were so much easier to drive then weren’t they. Certainly a lot easier to lose your life in.

        • Damon said on 24th January 2011, 21:37

          That doesn’t mean he was a better driver at all. Did he actually build the car all by himself like? :)

  7. 0634 (@) said on 24th January 2011, 18:49

    Has to be Jack. Lewis will probably be better someday, but he ain’t there yet.

  8. vermaden (@vermaden) said on 24th January 2011, 18:51

    That vote should have place at least about 15 years from today, then we will be able to compare them, now, its only predicions (for HAMILTON) ;)

    • Burnout (@burnout) said on 24th January 2011, 20:02

      15 years from now, you’d have another 5 champions at least. Possibly another youngster with a very impressive record that shadows Hamilton’s first four seasons. How will you vote then?

  9. craig-o (@craig-o) said on 24th January 2011, 18:52

    This one’s going to be close… But why is Hamilton losing? No one can disagree that he can possibly be one of the best drivers ever

    • One of the best “drivers”, maybe. Champion of Champions is another matter.

      • Alistair said on 25th January 2011, 0:22

        Quite so. After all, who cares about the drivers’ driving?! Drivers aren’t here to do that. It doesn’t matter that Brabham was beaten by many of his teamates and Lewis has never lost to any of his, two of which were the current champs.

        What matters is that Brabham built his own car. That means he’s better than Lewis; ipso facto, Senna, Schumi, Prost, and anyone else who didn’t build their own cars. Lazy fools.

        Having said that, though, Britney Rosberg is probably the best looking driver; so, why don’t we vote for him. Or what about Massa, he speaks several languages and could get a job as a translator in a small or medium-large company in France. And what about Sutil, he likes videogames…

        Or we could vote for the once and future champion, the king of kings, Lewis Hamilton. The Daddy of F1. Kneel before your King.

        This voting is about as fair and impartial as Eurovision.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 25th January 2011, 2:31

          I quite like and respect Hamilton, but voted for Brabham on the strength of his three world titles. In the future, Lewis could win this poll, but simply because other people don’t agree with your opinion doesn’t mean it’s “as fair and impartial as Eurovision”.

          Kneel before your King.


  10. chochomirski (@chochomirski) said on 24th January 2011, 19:01

    This is not Australian Open. Champion of champions?!?

  11. Tifosino1 (@tifosino1) said on 24th January 2011, 19:39

    I’m amazed that this battle is so close. I was under the impression that this site was for F1 Fanatics. Anybody with a small knowledge of F1 can see that Jack Brabham is a better champion as of today than Lewis Hamilton is. I’m not a Lewis fan but I do respect his skill behind the wheel but at the moment champion-wise he’s still in the same league as Jenson, Damon, Nigel. You can be the most flashy driver with the most overtakes every season but if you don’t get the job done then its all irrelevant.

    • Indeed. If flamboyant driving is what you’re after, then there aren’t many to beat Gilles Villeneuve in that respect. But he never won a WDC, mores the pity, and so he doesn’t get a vote. Still the best ‘driver’ ever in F1 IMO. Totally unbelievable natural talent.

      • Damon said on 24th January 2011, 19:59

        How is villeneuve the greatest driver in f1 when he couldn’t beat his teamates lol. You come out with some corkers

        • You don’t seem to be able to differentiate between ‘greatest’ and ‘most successful’.

          Beating your team mate has as much to do with circumstances than anything else.

          If you read a little bit about the history of F1, you will find that most, if not all, of the drivers of Villeneuves era were in awe of the mans driving talents.

          There are many stories to back this up, not least about the one where he was 11 seconds quicker than anyone else in the rain at Watkins Glen. Do you even know where that is?


          • hmmm….wrong link. But F1 folklore is full of stories about Villeneuve’s antics.

          • Damon said on 24th January 2011, 21:40

            It’s the facts that count and he lost to his teamate. Shouda, wudda, cudda isn’t good enough :)

          • Ral (@ral) said on 24th January 2011, 22:50

            So why are you arguing that Lewis should win this over Brabham? He shoulda arguably had 2 WCs under his belt, quite possibly 3. He coulda sown up his first in his rookie year two races before the end of the season. He woulda been the most amazingly awesome rookie probably forever if he had.

            But he hasn’t, didn’t and only might still be. As of now though, he’s “only” an amazingly talented driver with very bright future prospects in a well-oiled team. Whereas Brabham is an actual factual 3-time world champion.

            You like the guy, that’s fair enough. But the reasons you’re coming up with for people not to like other drivers, seem to be the exact reasons why you shouldn’t be backing Hamilton in this matchup. But I guess they don’t apply to you.

    • Alistair said on 25th January 2011, 0:28

      In the same league as jenson, Damon, and Nigel?!!

      I don’t think so. Lewis is a special talent. Don’t just go by number of titles. That doesn’t matter. Schumi won 7 but almost always had the best car, an average teammate who wasn’t allowed to fight him, below-par competitors, etc. Stats can lie.

      If there were any justice in this sham vote, Lewis would be amongst the last three: Lewis, Schumi, and, the winner, Senna. And if a similiar poll were conducted in 5 years’ time, Lewis would probably be no: 1.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 25th January 2011, 2:38

        Schumi won 7 but almost always had the best car, an average teammate who wasn’t allowed to fight him, below-par competitors, etc.

        The only seasons where he had a superior car were 1994, 2001, 2002 and 2004. He won the 1995 title with the second best car, dragged a slow 1997 car into genuine title contention, an inferior 98 machine to the final round against Hakkinen, and won the 2000 and 2003 titles in cars that were at best level with the competition.

        Schumacher fought against great drivers on his way to those 7 titles, like Hakkinen, Alonso, Raikkonen, Hill, Montoya and many more. If you feel that the competition was “below-par” then it’s because the team MSC assembled made them look average.

      • Burnout said on 25th January 2011, 4:34

        Say what you will Alistair, but as things stand TODAY, Hamilton has only won one WDC. That’s the same league as Jenson, Damon and Nigel.

        If it makes you feel better, that’s also the same league as Mike Hawthorn, Nino Farina and James Hunt.

      • Dipak T said on 25th January 2011, 14:10

        The moment Hamilton can emulate Jim Clark and start just under half his races on pole, win half the races he finished, lead every lap of the British GP over a four year period, come second in Le Mans, win the Indy 500, and become BTCC champion, then we can talk about Hamilton being amongst the true greats: Fangio, Senna and Clark.

        At the moment he’s a fantasic driver, and one of the best on the grid today. He’s nowhere near the greatest of all time – yet. Thats the point – right now, he just cant compare to their achievements.

  12. ‘Black Jack’ was also one of the few back-to-back champions in F1’s history. He was also noted for his ruthlessness on track, and his moody silence off it.

  13. Damon said on 24th January 2011, 19:46

    Well if Lewis is in nigels league he must be doing something right

    • Well If he’d like to take a year out to win the Indy title, then things would certainly be a lot quieter around here. ;)

    • Alistair said on 25th January 2011, 0:30

      Nigel was great at many things, not least overtaking. But he was also very unfit, a bit lazy, a whinger, not as good as lewis in the wet, etc.

      Lewis is much better.

  14. ledzep4pm (@ledzep4pm) said on 24th January 2011, 20:43

    This is the closest yet, Brabham one of the greats while Hamilton is expected to be come a great.

    Their circumstances skew the results a bit tho’. Brabham had poor reliability compared to Hamilton, but the cars were generally less reliable, while Hamilton has spent his entire career thus far in a top flight team.

    Still I’m voting for Hamilton he’s got that special something.

    At the time of writing it’s close at 200 – 189. Tho’ I feel in a 3 years it could be more one sided in Hamilton’s favour

    • Well that’s the thing isn’t it. He could win more titles or he could become another ‘one hit wonder’. Time will tell. Circumstances will always play the greater part in any WDC, as Hamilton well knows.

  15. Indeed. Hamilton is just a few points behind Brabham now. I’m really hoping that Hamilton wins this one, if only to prove what most of us already know.

    I also have a feeling that it will be a long time before anyone driving a McLaren gets a sniff of another WDC. Vettel will be untouchable if the RedBull is both fast and reliable, and I say that as a ‘fan’ of neither.

    • BTW. It’s still only 7.00 AM in Sydney. LOL

    • Damon said on 24th January 2011, 20:58

      Nearly all the drivers in f1 would be untouchable if there car was very fast and reliable. Vettel struggled against webber, I driver who is not noted as one of the best on the grid let alone an all-time great :)

      • Vettel struggled against his car, unlike other drivers. You don’t get 9 pole positions in one season by being slow.

        • Damon said on 24th January 2011, 21:13

          You don’t get points for pole positions. Lewis out qualified jenson more than Sebastian did mark. Case closed ;)

          • Pedal to the Vettel (@pedal-to-the-vettel) said on 24th January 2011, 22:55

            You also dont get points for crashing your car or choking when the pressure is on towards the end, wah wah waaaaaah…

            Making excuses up again Damon? whats next in your book: “Why Lewis is best OMG listen”

            Two engine failures a brake failure all while leading those grand prix’s, and Vettel still walks away with the title by holding his nerve…can’t really say that about Lewis now can we? *choke* *choke*

          • Damon said on 25th January 2011, 6:56

            And where did Lewis choke at the end of the season? China was the teams fault. Brazil?? Il leave it at that.

    • melkurion (@melkurion) said on 24th January 2011, 21:11

      for 2011 and 2012 I am inclined to agree, I don’t see Mclaren overtaking red bull in terms of building a better car. BUt with the new rules for 2013, we wipe the board clean, ground effect cars are a whole new cup of tea. Personally, I see WIlliams at having a shot at making a great car for 2013..patrick head being one of the few designers left around from the “original” ground effect days…

    • Alistair said on 25th January 2011, 0:35

      Vettel is overrated. Newey won those titles. Vettel only just managed to win the title in by far the best car. His car was nigh always 0.5 + seconds faster than the Mclaren; yet, the title went down to the wire. People say Lewis makes mistakes, I lost count of the mistakes Vettel and Alonso made last season: in the best moment of the season, Vettel even took out his teammate; then the whole team blamed Webber! That just tops Silverstone, where RBR ‘removed’ Webber’s new wing and gave it to Vettel, who’d broken his. Classic!

      • Pedal to the Vettel (@pedal-to-the-vettel) said on 25th January 2011, 1:17

        Vettel doesn’t crash into stationary cars in the pit lane and doesn’t need teamates like Heikki giving him easy number 1 status in a team ,he also doesn’t have to cheat by lying or taking 4 wheels of the circuit.

        Hamilton barely won his world title against massa who you rate average while vettel beat Alonso, Webber, Button and Lewis all in title contending cars. Alonso was unable to fight the WDC in 08 remember?

        So what if Newey helped win those titles Mercedes and Ron Dennis helped Lewis win his world title? whats your point…

        • Damon said on 25th January 2011, 6:58

          Vettel doesn’t need no 1 status?? You make me smile :)

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 25th January 2011, 14:57

            Point is, Webber is nowhere near as good as Vettel, and Vettel is a superb driver.

          • Damon said on 25th January 2011, 16:09

            How can you say that when he was closer to vettel than WORLD CHAMPION jenson button was to Hamilton?

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 25th January 2011, 17:37

            Because Vettel suffered more car failures than Webber, who not only made as many mistakes as Vettel did, but had truely absymal pace at times. His points tally and 3rd in the championship flatters his overall performance.

          • Damon said on 25th January 2011, 19:35

            I’m not including dnf’s, Lewis outqualified jenson more than vettel did webber. Jenson is a world champion and webber is an also ran

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 26th January 2011, 1:30

            Qualifying does not gain you championship points. The race results do. And clearly, without the car conveniently breaking down, Vettel would have had a bigger advantage over Webber than Hamilton did over Button.

          • Damon said on 26th January 2011, 6:57

            Hamilton had more failures than button so it works both ways

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