The former Mercedes driver Sir Stirling Moss has died aged ninety in the early hours of Easter Sunday. The Englishman won 212 Grand Prix and many other races and is regarded as ‘the greatest driver to never to win the world championship’.
His world championship results saw him win sixteen races in ten years from sixty-six races, he was also the first British driver to win a home Grand Prix in 1955 at Aintree.
Moss famously lost out on the F1 title in 1958 to Mike Hawthorn after vouching for his rival and preventing him being disqualified when he was accused of reversing on track at the Portuguese Grand Prix.
Moss made his Formula One debut at the non-championship Paris Grand Prix in 1950, where he finished fifth after retiring from the race. His first championship race was the Swiss Grand Prix, but would not taste success until 1954 joining Mercedes where he tasted victory.
With Mercedes, he proved himself as a great allrounder winning the Mille Miglia 1,000 mile race. His career saw him win the 1,000km Nürburgring and the 1959 Isle of Man TT for Aston Martin. He was also part of the famous Mercedes 1-2-3-4 at the 1955 British Grand Prix.
His refusal to drive anything other than British cars after 1957, arguable cost him the world championship. He lost the 1958 championship to fellow Brit Mike Hawthorn.
He never managed to win the Le Mans 24 Hours, Moss became the established top sportscar driver of the 1950s.
After that, he played the understudy both at Lotus and Cooper. Famous wins were the 1961 Monaco Grand Prix, the first win for a rear-engine car at the 1958 Argentine Grand Prix, and the only win for a four-wheel-drive car at a non-champion Gold Cup in 1961.
His Grand Prix career came to an end on Easter Monday the following season when an unexplained crash left Moss in a coma and, after many months in recovery, he returned to find his great powers had been affected and decided to retire.
That 1961 retirement lasted until 1980 when he entered the British Touring Car Championship. In the nineteen years previous he had continued to commentate, share his enthusiasm for motorsport and learn about the current scene.
Moss also played himself in the original Casino Royale James Bond film.
He also competed in historic events and, even after hanging up his helmet for good at Le Mans in 2011, was a regular at meetings such as the Goodwood Revival
In a sixty-five-year carer Moss race just about everything, before formally retiring from racing aged eighty-one in 2011. He continued to appear in public until 2018 when health problems forced him to retire from public life.
In 2016, Moss suffered a chest infection while in hospital in Singapore and spent 134 days in the hospital. He was eventually able to return home, but his slow recovery from the illness forced him to withdraw from public life.
His wife Lady Moss confirmed the news and said he died peacefully at his London home. Saying “It was one lap too many. He just closed his eyes.”
His Mercedes team, “Today, the sporting world lost not only a true icon and a legend but a gentleman. The Team and the Mercedes Motorsport family have lost a dear friend. Sir Stirling, we’ll miss you.”
Lewis Hamilton, six times champion & Mercedes driver, “Today we say goodbye to Sir Stirling Moss, the racing legend. I certainly will miss our conversations. I am truly grateful to have had these special moments with him. Sending my prayers and thoughts to his family. May he rest in peace”
George Russell, Williams, “RIP Sir Stirling Moss. Only had the pleasure of meeting him briefly a couple of times but even that was enough to understand why he was so highly respected. My thoughts are with his family.”
McLaren CEO Zak Brown “Saddened to read of the passing of Sir Stirling Moss. A Formula 1 great, versatile racer and incredible ambassador for British and international motorsport. My respects and sympathies to his loved ones.”