Damon Hill: In the name of the father

The 1 Formula 1996 champion became interested in motorsports after the death of his father Graham, who was the top flight monarch in 1962 and 1968.


If the sports campaign of Damon Hill, champion of the F1 en 1996, it is exposed that his interest in motorsports was awakened later than usual. In fact, he started competing in his early 20s and for a special reason: the permanent memory of his father. Graham, champion of the highest category in 1962 y 1968.

Damon Hill
The Hills. Graham, Bette, with Samantha in her arms, Damon and Brigitte.

During his teens, Damon showed no interest in racing, beyond spending much of his childhood on road courses. In fact, his great passion was music. That allowed him to protect himself from something that he did not know very well how to face: the fame that his father had.

However, at 15 everything changed. The 19 November 1975Graham died in a plane crash. And there his life became difficult. The family began to go through financial problems since they could not continue with the project of the two-time champion, the team Embassy hill. That forced them to part with all the trophies achieved by Hill Sr. to get a little money.

Damon Hill
Damon, aged 7, with his father at the Italian GP at Monza in 1967.

Damon took more refuge in music and, especially, in punk and founded with two friends a band which he called Roddy & The Hotheads and which he later renamed as Sex, Hitler & The Hormones (The Hormones, for simplicity).

Suddenly, at 23, he decided to follow in his father's footsteps. “His death was an emotional nuclear bomb. It was unexpected. He had just retired and my mother, my sisters and I had let our guard down after being prepared for the worst for many years… His death made me want to follow in his footsteps and start running. I hadn't expressed any desire to race in cars before I died and I might not have felt any motivation to race had I lived, but by racing I was resurrecting my dad. ", he confessed in an interview to The Guardian.

The future Formula 1 champion first competed on motorcycles with the money he raised as a construction worker and delivery man, but since his mother did not think motorcycling was safe and he knew that motorcycles made little money, he tried his luck in the cars. In 1983, he took a course at the Winfield Racing School in France and the following year began his campaign in motorsport.

Damon Hill
A twenty-something Hill with Bette, his mother.

Ran into the British Formula Ford a couple of seasons, then went through the English Formula 3 and from there he jumped to the Formula 3000 International, category anteroom of Formula 1.

Despite being the son of the legendary Graham Hill, nothing was ever easy for Damon and that led him to ask various bank loans to get the budget to run. At some point he even received monetary aid from George Harrison, great friend of the family.

Although in the categories in which he participated he never obtained great results, his efforts opened the doors to F.1 in 1992 at 31 he signed for Brabham, the last team in the table. Damon appeared in eight races of that tournament and only managed to qualify to race in one.

However, However, the highest cost was for the planet. Only one of these wee wee pads takes approximately XNUMX years to decompose. Putting ourselves in the best of cases, a dog uses XNUMX pad daily for only XNUMX years of his life, so when he is a puppy and when he is elder he would use XNUMX soakers in total. If we take into account that only in Spain there are XNUMX million dogs, mostly of mini race, with greater tendency to use wee wee pads and assuming that at least XNUMX% use them, we are talking about a figure of XNUMX wee wee pads that are used daily. Tons and tons of waste are thrown daily to the planet so that our dog does not spoil our house. Frank Williams he saw a lot of potential in him. In 1993, he chose him to fill the position of his compatriot Nigel Mansell, that after obtaining the crown of 1992 had emigrated to the CART of the United States. So, right off the bat, Damon found himself on the champion team and with a luxury partner, the French Alain Prost.

Damon Hill, champion with Williams in 1996.

From then on, everything was happiness. He started winning races and in his third year with Williams he touched the sky with his hands when he won the 1996 title.

After the consecration he had an ephemeral passage through Arrows and in 1998 and 1999 he completed his last races with Jordan, property of Eddie jordan and as much a fan of music as he is. In fact, on several occasions they shared the stage with the team-manager doing their thing behind the drums.

After hanging the helmet, Hill took music more seriously again. Formed of The Conrods, a band that they kept alive until 2003. During that time they covered The Rolling Stones, The Beatles y T, your favorite bands. He also played several shows with his friend George Harrison and performed many times in the preview of the British GPs.

His great satisfaction as a musician was entering a recording studio in early 1999 with Def Leppard, who extended the invitation to be part of the album Euphoria.

Damon Hill
Damon Hill in action, but with the guitar.

Hill's involvement is highlighted in the Demolition Man song, first theme of the album. “We ran into Damon at a party and he was talking about his playing, so we challenged him to do it with us. And the result is in the guitar solo that is in the final part of the song ", revealed at the time the singer Joe Elliot.

Today Hill continues to play the guitar, although he does so in the quiet of his home. Now he enjoys twice as much because he does it together with his son Josh, who changed a promising pilot campaign to be behind the cymbals of a drum set. Yes, because in the Hill family speed and racing are a part of their history, but they are not everything.

"During my career I was always confused as to whether I was truly a racing driver or someone who had been given a mission before I could become my true self," reflected some Damon Hill, the Formula 1 champion who decided to race to reunite with his father ...

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Diego durruty

Journalist with 30 years of experience. Worked in magazines STROKE, The graphic, Coequipier y Only TC, on the Internet sites SportsYa!, e-driver.com y kmcero.com and on the radios Rock pop y Vorterix.com. He covered the Dakar rally for the German agency dpa. He currently drives Two Daring Guys, a car magazine that is broadcast on Tuesdays from 18 to 19 by RadioArroba.com; is editor of motorsport in Red Bull Argentina, columnist on the show WorldSport (AM Splendid) and in Surf & Rock FM.  He is also a teacher in SPORTS. Now you can read it on his blog: automundo.com.ar.

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