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

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380 comments on Jack Brabham vs Lewis Hamilton

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  1. I hear a lot of people saying Hamilton beat Alonso in 2007 but did he really?

    Hamilton: 109 points, 4 wins and 6 poles.
    Alonso: 109 points, 4 wins and 2 poles.

    So by that stat Lewis does win but here’s the kicker!

    Hamilton: 6 poles with 4 wins, 2/3 conversion rate.
    Alonso: 2 poles with 4 wins, 2/1 conversion rate.

    By this stat Alonso wins without doubt. It’s much easier to win from pole than from behind and Lewis just didn’t win them all. Schumacher is my favourite driver ever and he poled 68 times but won 91. To win a race from pole is easy to win it from behind shows a true champion.

  2. Kain_R (@kain_r) said on 25th January 2011, 14:44

    “RGBSF” Dont forget another stat mate,

    Alonso had 6years experience
    Hamilton none.

    By this stat Hamilton is better :P

    • No doubt but Hamilton had team favouritism. After Monaco it was obvious that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes were backing him than Alonso. For Alonso to finish on 109 points having little team support and more retirements shows Alonso as a true World Champion. Another stat I like is this, Alonso is a Double World Champion and won it against the best ever, well not in 2005 but in 2006. Martin Brundle once said “You haven’t won a championship unless you’ve beat Schumacher” Spa 2005.

      • Yes, Alonso won back-to-back titles in a…Renault, and against Schumacher at that. No mean feat. Hamilton beat Massa…just.

        Some say the 2008 Ferrari was a better car, which doesn’t really explain why Raikkonen in particular didn’t rate it. Well, it did win the constructors title, but maybe that was more to do with Hamilton having Kovalainen as is team mate?

        • Damon said on 25th January 2011, 16:28

          The fact is Hamilton beat alonso, so if Hamilton was alonso’s teamate for Renault, he would have won the title in 05 and 06.

        • I’d say the F2008 was a vastly Superior car, probably one of the best Ferrari have ever produced in terms of speed but errors hindered the quality of the car. Raikkonen especially had a bad year, I personally blame it on him rather than Ferrari. Hamilton scraped his champion by a point (same for Kimi in 2007). Massa was the better driver in 2008 for sure and missed out, now with Alonso as his team mate it’s over for Felipe.

          • @Damon

            Sorry but that statement is laughable. Alonso beat Schumacher at his best, Alonso was super quick in both 05 and 06. Qualifying especially, Hamilton wouldn’t of had a chance.

            Just imagine Vettel and Hamilton racing against Schumacher during the years of 2000-04, both would of been royally spanked by the Master.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 25th January 2011, 17:41

            @ RGBSF

            I agree with all of your above comments, apart from the F2008 being “vastly” superior. It was superior but not by a large amount.

          • Damon said on 25th January 2011, 17:51

            @ rgbsf: so did fernando suddenly slow down from 07 onwards? Talk about a flash in the pan :)

          • @ David A

            “Vastly” superior or just superior the F2008 was a much better car and faster car with only some errors letting it down.

          • @ Damon

            Hamilton: Driving for the McLaren from youth system, brought up through the ranks. Full team backing and support not to mention his nationally.

            Alonso: Little to no support during the mid-season til the end and had more technical disadvantages to Lewis over the season.

            I’m just wondering how long you’ve been watching Formula 1 Damon. :D

            If your going to use that one then Please tell my why Alonso finished 4 points behind Vettel with the 3rd best car? :D

          • Damon said on 25th January 2011, 19:26

            I’ve probably been watching f1 longer than you, how long have you? Where is your proof that that the team favoured Lewis and received better technical support?

          • kkarl (@kkarl) said on 26th January 2011, 4:30

            when you consider the 2007 season and in particular ‘spygate’…it would be a brave person to suggest that
            1. when a team is fined $100m dollars
            2. deducted all it’s championship points
            3. information that lead to penalties came from a driver within the team who,
            4.wanted out of his contract

            that a team with nothing to gain would continue giving resources to that driver, knowing that the other driver who is engrained in the team is staying….I know who I would be putting my weight behind if I was the team principal going through all this.

          • Damon said on 26th January 2011, 7:04

            Where’s your evidence kkkarl? The fact is Hamilton beat alonso, the so called greatest driver in f1 in his first season. If anything lewis was originally the number 2 driver but suprised everyone by beating golden boy

          • @ Damon

            My first Grand Prix was the 1996 Canadian Grand Prix. I was sitting in my living room and my uncle introduced me to the sport. He said “watch out for the red ones” and since then that’s all I’ve done.

            Orgoglio dela Ferrari!

            And Yours?

          • Damon said on 26th January 2011, 17:33

            The first gp that I can actually really remember watching was the 91 silverstone gp, but I vaguely remember Suzuka 90. ;)

          • Surprised, by the comments you’ve been making in this post it seemed you’ve only been watching since Mr. Hamilton had joined F1.

          • I find this funny – RGBSF has shown an amazing amount of bias; just take where it started from, saying Alonso’s better because he had less pole positions (and higher win conversion), totally ignoring the fact of refuelling.

            This does not do anything to establish your little idiom champions winning for the back, the only metric that would show who wins by this logic would be the overtaking stats.

          • Damon said on 26th January 2011, 19:52

            It’s because I do believe Hamilton is the best driver since schumacer

          • @ Tom

            The main argument here was the claim Hamilton beat Alonso in 2007. 109/109 = Draw.

            Alonso proven his worth last year. 2nd, behind by 4 points in 3rd best car.

          • Damon said on 26th January 2011, 20:28

            I don’t agree that the Ferrari was the 3rd best car on the grid

          • It’s debatable.

            Fastest Laps – McLaren win. 6>5,
            Pole Positions – Ferrari win. 2>1.
            Grand Prix Victories – Draw. 5 each. Alonso 5, Hamilton 3 & Button 2.

            World Constructors Championship:

            Vodafone Mclaren Mercedes finished 2nd. Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro finished 3rd.

            That maybe down to Massa being lets say extremely poor last season.

            It’s debatable.

          • kkarl (@kkarl) said on 27th January 2011, 10:12


            Evidence. Open any F1 book published in 2007 about the season, and you will find all the nitty gritty information about Mclaren and the role Alsono played in the whole Ferrari Mclaren matter. Interviews with Ron Dennis himself who states a very difficult employee and employer relationship existed during that time. If your have been watching since 90, then to suggest that Hamilton is better then Senna, Prost, Mansell is laughable. I’ve been attending F1 races since 89, so have seen in person some of the greats. Hamilton in 3 years hasn’t shown enough just yet to be considered the greatest….that’s just my 2 cents.

  3. Dipak T said on 25th January 2011, 14:51

    This should be like the Clark vs Mansell round, where people noted how our Nige was so determined and could stong arm a car around a track, before duly noting that he still couldnt compare with the great Jim Clark. Mansell himself would say that. And if you went to Hamilton and asked whether he could compare to Brabham yet, he say that he couldnt as well.

    Just because you follow a driver, or that driver introduced you to F1, doesnt mean that you cant recognise the history of the sport, and the greats of days gone by.

  4. David-A (@david-a) said on 25th January 2011, 15:00

    At one point, there were about 10 votes in it, but the Hamilton fanboys have done their work- alienating other fans, so Brabham has a bigger lead and will stroll this.

  5. Sutil-M (@) said on 25th January 2011, 19:04

    I voted Brabham simply because its 3 world championships vs 1.

    Lewis is a fantastic driver don’t get me wrong but Brabham was better.

  6. Where did all those other voters come from? LOL

  7. McBride (@mcbride) said on 26th January 2011, 3:21

    I am a VERY large fan of Hamilton, and from the States, but his career is too young to be able to give him the vote. As said above, building his own car and converting potential titles; Brabham is the obvious choice. I would love to vote Hamilton best champion ever in ten years time.

    Also this is my first comment after lurking on this site for a year and a half. Thanks for your hard work Keith and others.

  8. SundarF1 (@sundarf1) said on 26th January 2011, 8:18

    This one seems to be the closest fought pairing so far. And I went for ol’ Black Jack, because there’s no denying his greatness as a driver, but to win three championships in the ‘unreliable’ era is quite an achievement.

    I am a fan of Hamilton’s attacking style, and although he is surely capable of becoming one of the all-time greats in the future, he’s still not up there with Brabham.

    • The Ram (@the-ram) said on 26th January 2011, 13:56

      I think he is a better driver than Brabahm though. Remember he beat Alonso who beat schumacher. I thinks it’s fair to say if Hamilton had the 94 Benneton, the 2000 to 2004 ferrari, the Coopers of Brabahm he would have beat them as team mates. Hamilton has never been beaten by a team mate.

      • Hamilton has never been beaten on ‘points’ by a team mate, I think you’re trying to say. Like any other driver, Hamilton is beatable and has been beaten by his team mate.

        When does the voting end on this particular pairing? I think the Hamilton fans are hoping for a late comeback. LOL

  9. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 27th January 2011, 18:07

    A user had created multiple accounts to try to influence the result of the poll. Their votes have been deleted.

  10. SennaTheG.O.A.T said on 31st January 2011, 0:25

    It’s difficult to compare Brabham with Lewis..
    People forget how young is Lewis..He is 26 and he is the most fun to watch driver today.
    I vote for Lewis..Stewart said on him.
    “I remember Fangio won in Germany in 1957 with a super-human effort by the seat of his pants. That was Lewis Hamilton-type driving. You don’t do many of those. It happened way back in history and it’s happening today. Lewis is going to win races, I’ve no doubt about that.”-Sir Jackie Stewart

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