10 quick facts about Damon Hill
Former British racing driver Damon Graham Devereux Hill was a late beginner in motorsport, nonetheless he had a very successful career. An ideal sportsman, Hill was mostly honorable in his conduct over the course of his career – likely a snippet of Hills family values, as his mother Bette Hill has been quoted once saying “if you can’t win honorably, don’t earn money. all”. But life would come to Damon Hill soon enough, tragically losing his father in a plane crash meant he had to take on manly tasks at a very young age.
A few years after the accident, Hill started running. He ran as if his life depended on it. And as we will see later, it was. He’s also quite fierce and competitive, his high-profile clashes with Michael Schumacher on and off the track allude to that. One of his bosses said he was “a tough bastard”, another claimed he liked his “fierce inner determination”. Quite frankly, hardly anyone becomes a world racing champion without these attributes, and with them and a few others, Damon Hill has done enough to be ranked among the greats of British racing.
I started to run on a bicycle
Damon Hill was born in Hampstead, London on September 17, 1960. Although he loved cars, Hill preferred motorcycles. He will quickly need to give expression to his love for motorcycles, due to the unfortunate incident of his father’s death.
Hill’s father Graham died in a plane crash in 1975, leaving the family in a state of financial exhaustion. To help, Hill accepted a job as a motorcycle courier. Therefore, the wealth of experience Hill gained from riding the courier bike led him to start cycling at the age of 21.
Started motor racing in 1985
Although Hill loves motorcycles, his mother never wanted him in the sport due to the dangers associated with it. Preferring four wheels, Hill’s mother convinced him to take a course at Winfield Racing School in France. After graduating, Hill had a few races under his belt.
However, his racing career did not start properly until 1985 after securing enough sponsors for the Formula Ford season. With six wins at Van Diemen, Hill has made a decent entry into the sport.
Gave Jordan their first victory
Frank Williams, considering Hill a “tough bastard”, added him to the Williams team in 1991. Hill rose through the ranks, winning victories in Hungary, Belgium and Italy, to finish third in 1993, in his first F1 pukka season. He narrowly missed the title in 1995 but won half the races in 1996 to clinch the title.
He then moved to Arrows, but his last two seasons were spent with Jordan, winning the championship in 1998; a first historic victory for the team. Hill retired at the end of the 1999 season.
Father was an F1 champion
The Hills family is very important to the legacy of Formula 1 for good reasons. Interestingly, Damon Hill’s father Graham Hill was an international Formula 1 driver who is well known in the UK for winning the Drivers’ World Championship in 1962 and 1968.
This made Graham and Damon Hill the first Formula 1 champion father and son, and the legacy is probably why Damon Hill raced as if his life depended on it. The victory was so important to him and after proving himself that he could do it, he graciously left the stage.
Son also ran
Damon Hill is married to Susan George and their marriage produced four wonderful children, namely Oliver, Joshua, Tabitha and Rosie. Born January 9, 1991, Joshua Hill, the second child, is arguably the most famous of all children. The reason is simple. In 2008 he started a career as a driver which could have seen him become a Formula 1 champion like his father and late grandfather.
However, with some victories at some championships in 2011 and 2012, Joshua Hill announced on July 9, 2013 his retirement from racing.
Retired in the 1999 season
Having started at almost 25, Hill is considered a late beginner in motor racing. Driving a Van Diemen, Hill’s career began with a victory in six Formula Ford races. He would then move on to Formula 3, where he continued to show his courage to a vigilant world.
Hill got his break with the Williams team. Although tough, he recorded his first championship win with the team before moving on to Arrows. He retired with Jordan in 1999, but not before giving them their first victory.
Chairs the BRDC
In England there is an exclusive invitational membership club only formed for prolific racing drivers who must have achieved top level motorsport success for a significant number of seasons. Created by Dr J. Dudley Benjafield (who was a British doctor and racing driver), the club is known as the British Racing Driver’s Club (BRDC).
Club members are also expected to be largely from the UK or the Commonwealth. Notably, Damon Hill replaced Jackie Stewart as BRDC chairman in 2006.
Formed a music group
Hill’s retirement from the sport he had devoted so much of his life to suddenly left him plenty of time for other quests. He had always loved music. Back in high school, he formed a punk band with friends and called it the “Hormones”. Active running functions later reduced his time for music.
However, after his retirement in 1999, Hill formed the “Conrods”, his group which lasted until 2003 and was known for performing covers of popular songs by The Kinks, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
Works like an expert
As a racing driver, Hill is nothing new to screens. Prior to starting running, he had been on the popular “Jim’ll Fix It” TV show with his father as early as 1975, and he also made a reappearance in 1995 to celebrate the show’s 20th anniversary.
Hill also commented for ITV F1 at the 2007 and 2008 Hungarian Grands Prix, replacing Martin Brundle. Most notably, Hill joined the Sky Sports F1 presentation team for the 2012 Formula 1 season.
Has an OBE
The Order of the British Empire (OBE) is a British order of chivalry used to reward unsolicited donations to the arts and sciences, charitable work and public service, among others, outside the public service. The recipients are said to have received the “Most Excellent Order in the British Empire”.
After his 1996 Formula 1 triumph at the Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit, Damon Hill received the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, while the palace awarded him an OBE for his achievements.
The race was a staggering 732 miles, making it one of the longest auto races in history.
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