Duncan Hamilton (racing driver)
|Born||30 April 1920|
|Died||13 May 1994(aged 74)|
|Formula One World Championship career|
|Active years||1951 – 1953|
|First race||1951 British Grand Prix|
|Last race||1953 British Grand Prix|
Duncan Hamilton (30 April 1920 in Cork, County Cork, Ireland – 13 May 1994 in Sherborne, Dorset, England) was a British amateur racing driver. Born in County Cork, Ireland, he was educated at Brighton College. He 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. His best results in the non-Championship events were fourth place in the 1948 Zandvoort Grand Prix with a Maserati 6CM, third in the 1951 Richmond Trophy (ERA B-Type), second in the 1951 BRDC International Trophy (Talbot-Lago T26C), third in the 1952 Richmond Trophy (Talbot-Lago T26C) and fourth in the 1952 Internationales ADAC Eifelrennen (HWM-Alta).
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 fourth at their first attempt in the 1950 race and sixth 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. 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 sixth. 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, 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!" Tony Rolt likewise maintained that it was fiction.
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, 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.
After he retired from racing in 1958 he concentrated on his garage business. He co-wrote an autobiography called Touch Wood!. Duncan Hamilton died in Sherborne, Dorset. His son Adrian Hamilton, a classic car dealer, runs his father's garage today. Duncan's grandson Archie Hamilton is also a racing driver.
Complete World Championship results
|1951||Duncan Hamilton||Talbot-Lago T26C||Talbot-Lago S6||SUI||500||BEL||FRA||GBR
|1952||HW Motors||HWM 52||HWM S4||SUI||500||BEL||FRA||GBR
|1953||HW Motors||HWM 53||HWM S4||ARG||500||NED||BEL||FRA||GBR
- The Formula One Archives. Retrieved on 13 August 2007.
- BBC Top Gear article "Not even a broken nose could stop Hamilton from winning the 1953 Le Mans 24 Hours" 20 April 2007. Retrieved on 3 August 2008.
- Forward by Earl Howe to "Touch Wood!" Retrieved on 3 August 2008.
- Daily Telegraph obituary of Tony Rolt, 2 February 2008. Retrieved on 3 August 2008.
- Obituary of Tony Rolt by Alan Henry, 9 February 2008. Retrieved on 3 August 2008.
- Mike Hawthorn tribute site, "Rheims 1956" extract from Paul Skilleter's book "Jaguar Sports Cars". Retrieved on 3 August 2008.
- "The World Championship drivers – Where are they now?". Retrieved 13 August 2007.
- Duncan Hamilton and Lionel Scott (ed. Doug Nye): Touch Wood! Duncan Hamilton & Co. 1992 ISBN 0-9516945-0-2.
- Paul Skilleter: Jaguar Sports Cars GT Foulis & Co. 1976 ISBN 0-85429-166-0
|Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
José Froilán González