Motorsport world pays tribute to Formula 1 legend Stirling Moss
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British motorsport driver Sir Stirling Moss, the man known as the greatest driver never to have won a world championship, has passed away at the age of 90.
Moss died peacefully at his London home following a long illness.
“It was one lap too many,” his wife Lady Moss said. “He just closed his eyes.”
When you think Formula One, you may think Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher, Niki Lauda or even Juan Manuel Fangio as the greats of the sport but Moss had a record to envy.
In his 14-year career, Moss took the chequered flag in 212 of his 529 races and finishing second in the F1 titles of 1955 to 1958, and third each year between 1959 and 1961.
A teammate of Fangio, Moss won 16 grands prix and missed out on winning the 1958 title by just one point to Mike Hawthorn, despite winning four races to Hawthorn’s one.
In 1959, Moss’ car failed during the final race, in Florida, when leading and again in with a chance of the title.
“I hope I’ll continue to be described as the greatest driver who never won the world championship, but it doesn’t really matter,” Moss once said. “The most important thing for me was gaining the respect of the other drivers and I think I achieved that.”
While he also took the opportunity of jumping behind the wheel, including partnering with Jack Brabham for the 1976 Bathurst 1000, Moss largely retired in 1962, following a crash that saw him in a coma for a month.
He careered into a bank of earth at 100 km/h (160 km/h) without a seatbelt while competing in the Formula One Glover Trophy.
It took 45 minutes to cut him from the wreckage and he suffered brain injuries, and his body’s left side was partially paralysed for six months.
With his eyesight and reflexes also permanently damaged, Moss quit racing.
“I knew that if I didn’t get out, I’d kill myself and maybe somebody else,” Moss said.
After he retired from racing, Moss became a colour commentator for the American Broadcasting Company’s Wide World of Sports Formula One and NASCAR coverage, a position he held into the 1980s.
He also narrated the children’s show Roary the Racing Car and became a successful businessman.
Moss was known as “Mr Motor Racing” and although an outspoken critic of F1 GOAT Schumacher, he was recognised for his services to motorsport in the 2000 New Year Honours list and knighted by Prince Charles.
Drivers and fans from across the world remembered the driving legend with fond memories for one of the gentlemen of world sport as an outpouring of tributes erupted.
Current Williams driver George Russell tweeted “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 boss Zak Brown said: “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.”
Sky Sports’ F1 commentators also quickly shared their thoughts and condolences.
“Heartbreaking news this morning. Sir Stirling Moss was amongst the best of the best, on and off the track and didn’t need a world championship to prove it. RIP you wonderful man and thankyou x,” lead commentator David Croft wrote.
Martin Brundle tweeted: “RIP Sir Stirling Moss. A mighty racer and gentleman. He had a press on style on the track and in life. Remarkable man. Survived the most dangerous era of motorsport and died today aged 90. He had such great stories to tell, and it was a privilege to know him.”
Paul di Resta added: “RIP Sir Stirling Moss, what a legend. Has to be one of the kindest men I have ever met. A true ambassador of our sport, I was lucky enough to be working at some great events with the man over the years. I will always be a big fan.”
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