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Duncan Hamilton

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Duncan Hamilton
Template:Country flagicon British
Formula One World Championship Career
Active years 1951 - 1953
Team(s) Talbot-Lago, HWM
Grands Prix 5
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podium finishes    0
Career Points 0
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First Grand Prix 1951 British Grand Prix
First win
Last win
Last Grand Prix 1953 British Grand Prix

Duncan Hamilton (born County Cork, Ireland, April 30 1920 - died Sherborne, Dorset, May 13 1994<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>), a British amateur racing driver, was educated at Brighton College, flew Lysanders with the Fleet Air Arm in World War II and ran a garage.

Formula One career

He participated in five World Championship Grands Prix and 18 non-Championship Formula One races.<ref name="results">The Formula One Archives. Retrieved on 2007-08-13.</ref> His best results in the non-Championship events were 4th place in the 1948 Zandvoort Grand Prix with a Maserati 6CM, 3rd in the 1951 Richmond Trophy (ERA B-Type), 2nd in the 1951 BRDC International Trophy (Talbot-Lago T26C), 3rd in the 1952 Richmond Trophy (Talbot-Lago T26C) and 4th in the 1952 Internationales ADAC Eifelrennen (HWM-Alta).<ref name="results"/>

Le Mans 24 Hours

He also took part in numerous sports car races and contested the 24 Hours of Le Mans nine times, most famously in partnership with Tony Rolt. The pair finished 4th at their first attempt in the 1950 race and 6th in 1951, both times in a special-bodied Nash-Healey coupe. Their Jaguar C-Type did not finish in 1952, but they returned with a C-Type to win in 1953, despite Hamilton colliding with a bird at 130 mph, which broke his nose.<ref>BBC Top Gear article "Not even a broken nose could stop Hamilton from winning the 1953 Le Mans 24 Hours" April 20, 2007. Retrieved on 2008-08-03.</ref> They were second with a Jaguar D-Type in 1954 but failed to finish in 1955. For 1956 Hamilton partnered Alfonso de Portago in a Ferrari but again did not finish. In 1957 he reverted to a Jaguar D-Type: partnered by the American driver Masten Gregory he came 6th. His last Le Mans appearance was in 1958, when the D-Type he shared with Ivor Bueb failed to finish.

1953 24 Hours of Le Mans

At the 1953 event Hamilton and Rolt had been disqualified for practising in a car with the same number as another on the circuit at the same time. Hamilton was a larger-than-life character,<ref>Forward by Earl Howe to "Touch Wood!" Retrieved on 2008-08-03.</ref> and his account of what followed has passed into motor racing legend: by the time Jaguar team manager Lofty England persuaded the organisers to let them race, both drivers were drunk in a local bar; when the race was under way the team tried to sober Hamilton up by giving him coffee during the pit stops but he refused it, saying it made his arms twitch; instead he was given brandy.

Lofty England refuted the story: "Of course I would never have let them race under the influence. I had enough trouble when they were sober!"<ref>Daily Telegraph obituary of Tony Rolt, February 2 2008. Retrieved on 2008-08-03.</ref> Tony Rolt likewise maintained that it was fiction.<ref>Obituary of Tony Rolt by Alan Henry, February 9 2008. Retrieved on 2008-08-03.</ref>

Privateer races

Hamilton also won the 1956 Rheims 12-hour race for Jaguar with a D-Type co-driven by Ivor Bueb. Despite the win, the factory dropped him from their 1956 Le Mans roster for speeding up and passing team-mate Paul Frère's car at Rheims when Lofty England had ordered the entire team to slow down,<ref>Mike Hawthorn tribute site, "Rheims 1956" extract from Paul Skilleter's book "Jaguar Sports Cars". Retrieved on 2008-08-03.</ref> hence his switch to a Ferrari that year. In 1957 Jaguar did not enter Le Mans - cars and equipment had been destroyed by a fire at the factory - and Hamilton used his privately-owned D-Type.

Retirement

After he retired from racing in 1958 he concentrated on his garage business. His son Adrian Hamilton, a classic car dealer, runs it now.

Duncan Hamilton co-wrote an autobiography called Touch Wood!.

Complete World Championship results

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 WDC Points
1951 Duncan Hamilton Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot-Lago S6 SUI
500
BEL
FRA
GBR
12
GER
Ret
ITA
ESP
NC 0
1952 HW Motors HWM 52 HWM S4 SUI
500
BEL
FRA
GBR
Ret
GER
NED
7
ITA
NC 0
1953 HW Motors HWM 53 HWM S4 ARG
500
NED
BEL
FRA
GBR
Ret
GER
SUI
ITA
NC 0

Bibliography

  • Duncan Hamilton and Lionel Scott (ed. Doug Nye): Touch Wood! Duncan Hamilton & Co. 1992 ISBN 0-95-169450-2.
  • Paul Skilleter: Jaguar Sports Cars GT Foulis & Co. 1976 ISBN 0-85-429166-0
Preceded by:
Hermann Lang
Fritz Riess
Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
1953 with:
Tony Rolt
Succeeded by:
José Froilán González
Maurice Trintignant
Template:24 Hours of Le Mans winners