Stirling Moss

Stirling Moss, Mercedes W196, Goodwood Festival of Speed, 2013Sir Stirling Moss is considered by many to be the greatest F1 driver never to have won the title.

Moss finished second in the championship in four consecutive years from 1955 to 1958. In the first three of those the title was claimed by Juan Manuel Fangio, whom Moss partnered at Mercedes in 1955.

The pair often ran at the front of the field, Fangio lading, Moss observing, studying the style of the man revered as ‘Maestro’. At Aintree that year Moss narrowly edged Fangio to the line, claiming his first world championship race win, but was left to whether Fangio had graced him a victory on home ground.

After three wins for Vanwall in 1957 – including a shared victory at Aintree with team mate Tony Brooks – Moss headed into 1958 as a strong contender for the title. Fangio retired early in the year and Moss won four times.

But reliability problems left him trailing Ferrari’s Mike Hawthorn, who had won just one race. Moss did not help his cause – but showed great sportsmanship – by helping his rival avoid the threat of disqualification from the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Moss won the last race of the year at Morocco. But team mate Stuart Lewis-Evans crashed and was badly burned, later dying from his injuries. And second place for Hawthorn was enough for him to deny Moss the title.

As the championship switched to 1.5-litre engines in 1961 Moss was constrained by the lack of availability of a suitable engine. Nonetheless he scored one of his finest wins at the wheel of a Rob Walker-entered Lotus at Monaco, single-handedly rebuffing the attacks of the Ferrari team.

The following year Moss crashed during a race at Goodwood, suffering head injuries. He tested an F1 car afterwards but decided against a return to competition. However he remained active in historic races until 2011.

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