Hamilton leads F1 heartbreak for legend
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.
Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton led the outpouring of tributes on Sunday night (AEST) as the entire sport mourned one of its greatest characters.
"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."
Hamilton described Moss as his friend and a racing legend in his tribute.
"Today we say goodbye to Sir Stirling Moss, the racing legend," said Hamilton, according to Skysports.com.
"I think it's important that we celebrate his incredible life and the great man he was.
"Saying goodbye is never easy and can be sad but he will always be here, in our memories and will always be such a huge part of British Motorsports Heritage."
Hamilton and Moss both drove for Mercedes, and became increasingly close after Lewis' move to the Silver Arrows in 2013.
"I certainly will miss our conversations," Hamilton added. "To be honest, it was such an unusual pairing, our friendship. Two people from massively different times and backgrounds but we clicked and ultimately found that the love for racing we both shared made us comrades.
"I am truly grateful to have had these special moments with him. Sending my prayers and thoughts to his family. May he rest in peace."
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Today we say goodbye to Sir Stirling Moss, the racing legend. I think it’s important that we celebrate his incredible life and the great man he was. Saying goodbye is never easy and can be sad but he will always be here, in our memories and will always be such a huge part of British Motorsports Heritage. I certainly will miss our conversations. To be honest, it was such a unusual pairing, our friendship. Two people from massively different times and backgrounds but we clicked and ultimately found that the love for racing we both shared made us comrades. I am truly grateful to have had these special moments with him. Sending my prayers and thoughts to his family. May he rest in peace🙏🏾
Mercedes Team Principal and CEO Toto Wolff also paid tribute to a "larger-than-life figure" in Moss.
He said: "Sir Stirling was a larger-than-life figure in our sport and one of the survivors of an age when motor racing was about danger, bravery and camaraderie.
"But most of all, Stirling's career was characterised by an impeccable sportsmanship and in this he truly set himself apart.
"He was a great figure in the history of Mercedes, both as a Grand Prix driver and the winner of the 1955 Mille Miglia.
"It is no exaggeration to say that we will never see his like again. Our deepest condolences go to his wife Lady Susie, his family and his friends. Godspeed to a true racer."
While Moss also took the opportunity of jumping behind the wheel, including partnering with Jack Brabham for the 1976 Bathurst 1000, he 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," he wrote.
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."
- with wires
Originally published as Hamilton leads F1 heartbreak for legend
It's often said that you shouldn't meet your idols.— Bryn Lucas (@BrynLucas) April 12, 2020
I met one of mine and he was better than I could ever have hoped. We chatted motorsport & life in general...pic taken at Ideal Home Show from about 2012.
RIP...legend and a lovely lovely human.#sirstirlingmoss #stirlingmoss pic.twitter.com/ENTfBDbdAN
Surely one of the greatest tributes to Stirling Moss is no policeman ever asked a driver caught at breakneck speed: 'Who do you think you are - Jack Brabham / Graham Hill /Jim Clark / et al.' It was, and still is, always Stirling Moss. RIP Sir Stirling. pic.twitter.com/kANTiaFztb— Mark Acheson (@markacheson) April 12, 2020