Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
He was a pioneer in the British Formula One racing scene and is regarded as the greatest driver never to win the Formula One Drivers World Championship. He came second four times in a row from 1955 to 1958.
For Moss the manner in which the battle was fought was as important as the outcome, and this sporting attitude cost him the 1958 World Championship when he stood up for rival Mike Hawthorn, who faced a penalty in Portugal that would, in retrospect, have denied him the points that he needed to beat Moss. Stirling never for one moment entertained any thought of gaining an advantage in such a way, and in any case his natural sense of justice would not have allowed him to see Hawthorn unjustly penalised. So he stepped forward to defend him. Hawthorn subsequently went on to beat Moss by a mere point, even though he had only won one race that year to Moss's four. It was sufficient to make Mike Hawthorn Britain's first World Champion.
In 1962, Moss was badly injured in a crash at Goodwood while driving a Lotus. He recovered, made a premature attempt at a comeback, but found he was not fit enough and retired from GP racing. However, he has continued to race in historic cars, retaining his deceptively smooth driving style.
One of his most famous drives was in the 1955 Mille Miglia, the Italian 1000-mile open-road endurance race, which he won in record time of just over 10 hours. His co-driver in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR number 722 (indicating the time of the start) was journalist Denis Jenkinson, who supported him with notes about details of the long road trip (an innovative technique that led directly to the rallying co-driver system). This assistance undoubtedly helped the win, but his innate ability was the predominant factor. Later, he wrote extensively about the experience.
Moss' first ever Formula One win was in 1955 at his home British Grand Prix at Aintree, driving the superb Mercedes-Benz W196 Monoposto . It was the only race where he finished in front of his team mate, friend, mentor and arch-rival at Mercedes, Juan Manuel Fangio. It is sometimes debated whether Fangio, one of the all-time great 'gentlemen' of sport, 'allowed' Moss to win in front of his home crowd by yielding the lead at the last corner. Moss questioned Fangio repeatedly about the race in the years after, and to the question "Did you let me win"" Fangio always replied "No. You were just better than me that day".
During his career, Moss drove a private Jaguar, and raced for Maserati, Vanwall, Lotus and Cooper as well as the mighty Mercedes-Benz. He prefered to race British cars, and when at Vanwall he was instrumental in breaking the German/Italian stranglehold on F1 racing, kick-starting the British domination of single-seater racing design and engineering that continues to this day.
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