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 (49%)

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. JonesyUK (@jonesyuk) said on 24th January 2011, 21:01

    Hamilton’s my second driver at the mo, but if he beats one of the sports greats then it’d make this whole process a mockery IMO.

    In the future? Maybe… but certainly not at the moment.

    • Alistair said on 24th January 2011, 23:26

      ‘if he beats one of the sports greats’

      Does the then current and double world champion, his rookie team-mate in 07, Alonso, not count? If you beat the best driver in F1, you become the best driver in F1.

      In 07, Lewis had to learn the physical and mental demands of F1, which are like nothing he’d done or could simulate, not to mention the tyres, the car, the majority of the tracks, etc – still, he led the WDC from the THIRD round (fourth round, outright)until the penultimate round of his rookie year: way before Alonso fell out with Ron (after blackmailing him to force Lewis to not beat him on the track).

  2. katederby (@katederby) said on 24th January 2011, 21:03

    Not sure why this is so close; I haven’t read a good argument here to vote for Hamilton yet.

    • melkurion (@melkurion) said on 24th January 2011, 21:14

      agreed, just went through the comments, a lot of people explaining, and reasoning why to vote for Jack and not Lewis, and only a few people shouting “LEWIS IS THE BEST” Yet the vote is almost a tie….could it be that most Hammilton voters know they are making a vote that doesn’t make sense, and are therefor voting annonimously ? ;)

      • Alistair said on 24th January 2011, 23:15

        The majority of F1 drivers don’t like Lewis. As Martin Brundle said at Monza 08 (and other times) the other drivers don’t like Lewis and always complain about his driving because he’s too good.

        If the majority of F1 drivers don’t like Lewis, is it any wonder that the majority of F1 fans, being fans of all the different drivers, don’t like him, either?

    • Alistair said on 24th January 2011, 23:37

      Perhaps you should read my comments. Or, better still, watch the DVDs. Hamilton hasn’t been given a particularly good brief above. Examine Lewis’s performance against a certain Spaniard called Alonso. Or search ‘Lewis Hamilton overtakes’ on YT. At worst, you’ll be entertained.

      This inter-gen comparison is daft. If you compare one sportsman from one era, no matter how good he was in his time, the best of the current generation will be better, if a generation or so has passed since.

      It’s like comparing Fred Perry with Nadal. Nadal is faster, stronger, better prepared, etc. There’s no way Perry, or any one of the old legends, would beat Nadal. The same is true of F1. The F1 drivers of the 50s and 60s couldn’t stand the stresses of a modern F1 car; heck, many of the old guys wouldn’t have fit in the current cars. Their diets were awful, they smoked, they drank, they hardly exercised, they were ill-prepared – they were often part-timers.

      They may have been good, in their day. But, objectively, they’re not. F1 is such a protean sport; it’s always about tomorrow, about next season. The past is the past.

    • Alistair said on 24th January 2011, 23:51

      I’ve looked this up – Brabham was before my time; since my time was no doubt before the vast majority of users’ here, I suspect hardly anyone saw him race.

      Anyway, Brabham was outscored by his teammates several times

      here’s just a few.

      Jacky Ickx – ’69
      Jochen Rindt – 68 & 67
      Dan Gurney – 63
      Bruce McLaren – 61

      Lewis, of course, has never been outscored by a team-mate – even though he paired the current and double world champ in his rookie year 07; and the current champ in 2010…..Not bad, eh?

      PS I can’t vote for technical reasons. So, whatever the final vote, it’s +1 Lewis.

      • Kenny (@kenny) said on 25th January 2011, 5:01

        Alistair, you make a valid and good point, but in the interest of clarity I submit the following:

        In 1961 Brabham was concentrating on development of Cooper’s Indy car and basically just showed up for GPs without having spent much time at all in the car. He did finish ahead of McLaren in the few races he managed to finish, bar Monaco where he was classified 8th but didn’t actually make to the end.

        In 1963 Brabham finished ahead of Gurney in every race he finished (only one of Jack’s DNFs was due to driver error).

        From ’67 onwards Brabham concentrated on development and business…his team mate in those years was, for all intents and purposes, the number 1 driver.

        It is by no means necessary to take these circumstances into account when making a choice here, but they do provide some further light on his driving abilities vis a vis his team mates and contemporaries.

      • Kenny (@kenny) said on 25th January 2011, 6:46

        Hulme in ’67.

  3. f1yankee said on 24th January 2011, 21:21

    3 titles for brabham, including 1 IN A CAR HE BUILT HIMSELF. case closed.

    • Alistair said on 24th January 2011, 23:11

      It was a completely different time! No-one does that anymore. It’s unfair on Hamilton to make that comparison. You might as well say that Jack’s, ipso facto, better than Senna, Schumi, Prost etc: after all, THEY never built their own cars….

      You find me someone other than Lewis who beat the current and double world champion in the same team in his rookie year. There’s no-one in the history of F1. Lewis’s overtakes are some of the best and most numerous in F1 history: most of the other drivers play can’t overtake, won’t overtake. Lewis is the only driver, since Senna (yep, not ‘rainmaster’ Schumi or Alonso) to win a wet race by over 60s….

      All the doubters will have egg on their faces soon: in a few years, certainly by the time he retires, Lewis will be regarded as one of the very best, I dare say the best, driver of all-time. Those of us who’ve watched F1 for a couple of decades and more have never seen a driver as good as Lewis. Those who’ve watched for a couple of seasons simply can’t appreciate how good he is.

      • olivier (@olivier) said on 25th January 2011, 0:42

        It was indeed a different time, you could be killed at every corner of every race back then. We can’t tell the same nowadays.

      • kkarl (@kkarl) said on 25th January 2011, 2:13

        alistair….I’ve watched formula 1 for the past 30 years, and I’ve seen many better drivers of a ‘car’ them Hamilton….Alsono, Schumacher, Senna, Prost, Mika, Mansell, Pique and the list goes on.
        Lewis is a good driver surrounded by a good team of people who have managed him in every aspect of F1 quiet well in the past 3-4 years. The true test will be when he steps away from McLaren and takes a drive with another team. Great drivers have the ability to make any car work well in any conditions. Lewis hasn’t yet had to face that, regardless of what you think in his rookie season with McLaren. Never has a driver been so prepared for a drive like Hamilton. Time will tell if he will be considered one of the greats, but I’m betting that he will be remembered for being very good, and thats about it. I’m not a hater, just more of a realist.

        • Burnout said on 25th January 2011, 4:50

          Thank you. Nobody denies that Hamilton is a very good driver. But the circumstances under which he entered the sport were extraordinary. He’s been associated with Ron Dennis and McLaren since he was 11. He knew the way the team worked well before he was measured for his first seat fitting. He was parachuted into possibly the best car that season.

          Other drivers would kill for the kind of team support he had in his rookie season.

  4. plushpile (@plushpile) said on 24th January 2011, 21:29

    I can’t believe anyone would vote for Hamilton over Brabham.
    The man won three championships, one of which was in his own car, similar to Greham Hill he drove for a long period in a time when deaths were frequent and he was more than competitive well into his 40s – something Michael Schumacher wishes he could boast

  5. Danielle said on 24th January 2011, 21:30

    Im A Huge Hamilton Fan And Thought Jack Brabham Was Going To Smash Him Into The Ground But Really When You Look In Detail Wow Hamilton Has Only Been In The Sport 4 Years And Jack Brabham Was In It For 16 Years And Had The Same Amount Of Wins As Hamilton And Hamilton Has Had More Poles Than Jack So It Is A Really Close One When You Look At It

  6. aveli said on 24th January 2011, 21:56

    i think hamilton is the best f1 driver of all time simply because he beat two world champions while remaining unbeaten. teammates have the same equipment so it is a fairer competition than inter team competition. any of the current drivers with a car advantage and a teamorders in their favour would win races the championship for as long as the car allows them to.
    button proved that and rosberg showed that an average driver of today would beat the best of the past on equal terms.

    • Regis said on 24th January 2011, 22:07

      Best f1 driver of all time? Wow, you really believe that?

    • Damon said on 24th January 2011, 22:16

      Good call, like I said today’s drivers are more than likely the best there’s ever been. Schumacer as destroyed all of his teamates throughout his career yet was embarassed by rosberg who hasn’t shown to be anything special thus far. Plus schumacer was getting the upperhand on senna who is known for being the best of the best. I have got to agree maybe Hamilton is the champion of champions, just hope that mclaren give him a car that’s on par with the frontrunners, then Lewis will do what he does best, kick ass

      • Pedal to the Vettel (@pedal-to-the-vettel) said on 24th January 2011, 23:08

        Maybe Rosberg just hasn’t had the luck in which Lewis and Vettel got early…title contending cars.
        Williams never gave Nico a decent car to race against the big boys and now he will get his shot with Mercedes

        Yes Rosberg is poor on starts but that doesn’t stop him overtaking them again which he mostly does

      • Pedal to the Vettel (@pedal-to-the-vettel) said on 24th January 2011, 23:36

        Nico has never had a title contending car in his career unlike the world champions on the grid now.

        Nico should of won Singapore 08 but was robbed of crashgate, he also could of beat Alonso at South Korea if webber had not crashed into him.

        Don’t think just because Rosberg has never won a race makes him nothing special, thats nieve because he is just as good as Kubica, who people see to becoming a WDC in the near future.

        I expect Mercedes to deliver a better package this year for Nico which will put him right up there with the front runners.

        So let’s not bury his career just yet please…

        • Dipak T said on 25th January 2011, 14:37

          To be fair, it was his own fault that he didnt win in 08. If he just hadnt crossed the pit exit line, he would have won the race,

      • debaser91 said on 24th January 2011, 23:41

        You’re failing to mention the fact that Schumacher is clearly now well past his prime following a long period out of the sport, you honestly think Rosberg would have beaten the Schumacher of the late 90′s/early 2000′s?

        • Pedal to the Vettel (@pedal-to-the-vettel) said on 25th January 2011, 0:51

          @debaser91

          Tbh yer I agree that schumi is past his prime “hands up” 3 years out of the sport took it’s toll on him and Rosberg whooped him, just like the other drivers i’m sure would of done.

          But you would of thought a whole season could of bought him up to a degree of “sharpness”. You don’t just drive for your whole life, take 3 years out and then you just can’t get close to what you were afterwards. Maybe schumi’s own high standards in fitness and craftmanship have finally caught up with him on the new generation that we watch now.

          Alonso is the only driver to have beat schumi in his “prime” so maybe we have to wait for the 2011 season and see if Mercedes can deliver a car for Nico, if Nico beats Alonso in certain equal cars, maybe Nico shows he is the real deal even if Schumi was in his prime.

          • debaser91 said on 25th January 2011, 12:42

            I am not a fan of Schumacher but I really don’t think he did all that badly last year.

            During the period in which he was retired the design of formula one cars fundamentally changed with the new regulations in’09, and with testing banned it would take anyone a while to get up to speed again after a three year break, especially if they were 41 years old competing against young hungry drivers.

            When you think of Niki Lauda’s successful comeback think the circumstances are slightly different. Lauda retired far too early first time round and was only 33 when he returned, with the cars he returned to more similar to what he competed in previously than Schumacher’s Mercedes is to the Ferrari of ’06.

            The grid is also now competitive than any time that I can remember with conceivably 7 or 8 people challenging for wins next year so it is highly improbable to expect Schaumacher to come and dominate.

            Next year will give us more of an indication of how good Rosberg is once Schumacher has a year back but even if he beats him again that does not for me detract from Schumacher’s first career, and regardless of how Rosberg performs I cannot ever him beating the Michael of ten years ago

      • kkarl (@kkarl) said on 25th January 2011, 2:17

        oh please…..so by that logic, seeing as vettel beat schuey, who then beat senna, then vettel must be the best of the best…after all, he is the 2010 WDC, and I believe that included one L Hamilton. gee whiz.

    • melkurion (@melkurion) said on 24th January 2011, 22:17

      And I would never call Rosberg an avarage driver…

  7. Regis said on 24th January 2011, 22:05

    Go Brabam !

  8. Marco said on 24th January 2011, 22:20

    Ha, it is much closer then it seems… :)
    According to my analysis, Lewis and Sir Jack were both 2x the best drivers of a season, while in races Hamilton was 17x the best and sir Jack only 12x…
    So, at least according to this, it should be Hamilton…
    Personally, I rate them very equall, but at least I saw Lewis race… :)

  9. I find hamiton the most intresting and entertaining driver to drive in F1, but he makes alot of mistakes.

    Lets not forget Brabhams last corner last lap at monaco
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmzyHri8xKk

  10. Biancaf1 (@biancaf1) said on 24th January 2011, 22:59

    Why would i vote for someone i never heard of? My Mom wasn’t even born yet when Brabham won his last wdc.
    My vote goes to Lewis Hamilton. :)

    • katederby (@katederby) said on 24th January 2011, 23:08

      That was a joke, right?! Oh dear.

    • Ral (@ral) said on 24th January 2011, 23:09

      Eh, if that’s your thinking, then why vote at all? It’s not a popularity contest…

      • Ral (@ral) said on 24th January 2011, 23:10

        I don’t mean that in a harsh or mean way, just kinda puzzled why you think it matters whether you heard about the guy at all. That’s why the facts of their performances in F1 are at the bottom of the article.

    • No doubt you never heard of Senna or Schumacher either. ;)

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 25th January 2011, 2:53

      *can’t sleep, clown’ll eat me*

      That’s provided you were joking. I voted Brabham because although I was born in 1991, I have read a lot about Brabham and feel that his legacy exceeds what Hamilton has achieved so far. In the future, Lewis may win my vote.

    • Biancaf1 (@biancaf1) said on 25th January 2011, 12:08

      How dare you guys questioning my vote? In the last poll, some of you voted Jenson just because he’s a nice guy. I’m 20, started to watch F1 in 2003 with my family and got really into it in 2007. I don’t feel sorry for being young.

      • debaser91 said on 25th January 2011, 12:54

        Are you aware that Formula one didn’t start in 2007 (i.e. when Lewis Hamilton arrived) There is a massive sixty year history of the sport, where several drivers at this point in time have a much better claim to being great than Lewis.

        Being young is not really an excuse to ignore the past, I am 19 but there is plenty of information out there if you want to find it.

  11. Eggry (@eggry) said on 24th January 2011, 23:18

    I think Hamilton still need to prove that he’s more than talented driver.Brabham is smarter and also was team owner. so I go to Brabham. I guess he is the oldest ever when he got third title, right?

  12. debaser91 said on 24th January 2011, 23:36

    The reason a lot of people in the UK don’t like Hamilton is as he was a British driver in a British team who had a shot at winning the world championship the tabloid media in the UK massively overexposed him. Also F1′s coverage (ITV a lot more than BBC)became more heavily focused on him to the detriment of other drivers. This caused a backlash of sorts. And yes the other drivers probably didn’t like a rookie coming in and stealing all the limelight, but his arrogant personality does him no favours in that regard,

    Then there are some of his fans who refuse to acknowledge his flaws and ram down people’s throats how great he is, and that gets on peoples nerves. I am a fan of Hamilton, but it is premature to start including him in the pantheon of greats of the sport i.e. Clark, Senna, Prost, Fangio, Schumacher, Stewart etc until he has won more than one title

    • Pedal to the Vettel (@pedal-to-the-vettel) said on 25th January 2011, 0:30

      ITV was the worst in doing races with Hamilton in it, glad it’s gone. BBC have done the correct course in treating him like any other driver and will pick at any mistake he does like they do with the rest, and yet fanboys call foul on this.

      Every driver in F1 has his flaws and matching arrogance about them to annoy any person since they have to think they are top dog.

      Certain Lewis fanboys just wont listen to what other people have to say about who will win the world title.

      Some guy who thought he was a “f1 fan” in a forum asked me who was going to win the WDC this season I said:

      “It will be Vettel’s to lose” <-That's a fair answer right? Good 09 season, strong finish, great car and a quick driver.

      Not for him though it's either Lewis or nobody…

      I then told him "just because you think he is the greatest thing since sliced bread doesn't mean it makes him better then, Senna, Fangio etc and other greats."

      His words after: "Who's Fangio?" <- Thats the kind of 07-08 Lewis fanboy I dislike the most just like some ship jumping Chelsea, or Man city "fan" when the money starts rolling in. You learn more about formula 1 as a whole if you stop focusing on 1 driver for the season and watch everything, took me years to notice that when i was a schumi fan previous.

      Respect to the real Lewis fans who admit he is a great driver but has his flaws and the guys who noticed his talent before he got into a McLaren.

      Respect to you Debaser91 wish there were more Lewis fans like you around, posting would be alot more enjoyable.

      • Alistair said on 25th January 2011, 0:44

        ITV was the Lewis Hamilton show. But now we have a RBR dominated show. DC, now the commentator, still works for RBR! That should breach the BBC code. They always talk to Horner, etc; they always go the the RBR place. Also, they talk too much about the minnows, giving them equal time with the proper teams. Bad show, BBC.

        • Pedal to the Vettel (@pedal-to-the-vettel) said on 25th January 2011, 0:58

          I agree about the RBR show same could be said for the Brawn show the season before, but maybe the reason why DC is in the BBC is because he can help get to the drivers in Red Bull alot quicker than the other sports channels can. tbh wish they would extend the red button time so to get more teams involved bar the top 4. HRT, sauber, Toro Rosso etc…

      • Damon said on 25th January 2011, 7:08

        Name me one driver who hasn’t had any flaws. Maybe computers can drive the cars, then we will see no mistakes

        • That wasn’t really the point I was trying to make, obviously all drivers have strengths and weaknesses.

          People would be a lot more receptive to what you have to say on here if you behaved as if you realised Formula One did not start when Lewis Hamilton entered the sport(I have this same problem with some Alonso fans) and are ignorant of all the great drivers of the past.

          Yes Hamilton is quick but to call him the greatest ever is frankly ridiculous.

          • Damon said on 25th January 2011, 16:17

            The fact is we will never know who is the greatest. All we can do is give our opinions, and 9 times out of 10 they are biased

  13. foocode (@foocode) said on 25th January 2011, 0:15

    Brabham undoubtedly did more for the sport than Lewis has to date. He was also offers the more ‘complete’ package in terms of his team ownership & winning the championship in his own car.

    3 to 1. That’s the way to rank them, right?

    It’s a no-brainer – Jack by a mile (so long as we’re voting on actual achievement over potential). But being a UK site, well… :)

    • Alistair said on 25th January 2011, 0:46

      I suspect that Lewis’s winning the title once has been more inspirational to more young persons than has any of Brabham’s titles. It’s been said before; but Lewis did the Woods’s effect for F1. In his short time in F1

      • kkarl (@kkarl) said on 25th January 2011, 8:22

        alistair…..it’s comments such as these and the ones posted earlier that show you are not a supporter of F1, but a particular driver in F1. Not a problem, but you need to understand that it limits any opinions expressed such as yours as jipperish….please, the tiger woods of F1….why, cause his black?

  14. I can bet half the Brabham voters don’t know the guy.
    They know hamilton though!

    Lewis stats are much better, outside of the #of WDC.

  15. RoboCAT (@robocat) said on 25th January 2011, 0:31

    I reckon Brabham is going to win this. But when I look at the poll I kinda chuckle, how and why is the poll so close?! Brabham should be winning this by a mile. It’s the same when Stewart and Raikonen were up against eachother, Stewart easily beat him.

    But when it’s Hamilton up against a 3 time world champion, who sucesfully built up his won team, Hamilton manages to stick close byt to him on the polls. And in my opion Kimi is better the Lewis.

    I know people say they arn’t biased, I’m also not calling anyone in particular biased, but seriosly.

    • RoboCAT (@robocat) said on 25th January 2011, 0:33

      hmm a few keyboard mistakes in that lol :-P

      I also wanted to say I have read every post on this, and I havn’t come by one.. not one good reason why I should vote Hamilton over Brabham.

      • Alistair said on 25th January 2011, 0:49

        You’ve not read my posts then.

        The main judge of any driver in F1 is his performance against his teammate. They have the same situation. Lewis has beaten all his teammates, even the current double world champ as a rookie as well as the current WDC last year.

        Brabham was beaten many times by his teammates.

        • RoboCAT (@robocat) said on 25th January 2011, 1:11

          Yeh that still doesn’t make me want to vote for Hamilton. Yes Hamilton has beaten all his temaates, but he still has many years to go in F1. I’m not voting on how many temaates they beat, I’m voting on who i think is a better world champion. Clearly it is Jack. Hamilton may go onto win more titles, maybe he won’t win any other ones. Hamilton might win champion of champions in 10 years time and beat Brabham then.. but not now.

    • Alistair said on 25th January 2011, 0:51

      Kimi was overrated. If Massa beats you, you can’t be the real deal.

      • Christian said on 25th January 2011, 1:06

        Oh Alistair.

        If Massa beats you, you can’t be the real deal?

        Remind me just how close it was back in ’08 between Massa and Hamilton? 1 point more to Massa, and by you’re own very standards the great Lewis Hamilton could be considered not the real deal!

        Next time you’re going to tarnish this websites with your comments, think before typing. Then think again.

        • RoboCAT (@robocat) said on 25th January 2011, 1:13

          Completly agree. Massa nearly beat Hamilton in 08. Infact he should have if it wasn’t for all that bad luck. Problem with Massa now is that he has dropped in performance since that accident.

        • Damon said on 25th January 2011, 7:15

          They was in different cars, that doesn’t prove anything. Hamilton would wipe the floor with massa if they were teamates

          • “They was in different cars, that doesn’t prove anything.”

            Massa bet Raikkonen. Hamilton bet……

          • Damon said on 25th January 2011, 10:12

            Yes and in 08 Hamilton beat massa and massa beat……. :)

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