Autosport Awards
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Autosport Awards

Gregor Grant Award: Stirling Moss

Racing legend Sir Stirling Moss received a Gregor Grant Award at this evening's Autosport Awards in London

Gregor Grant Award: Stirling Moss

He was recognised for a lifetime of achievement in motorsport, including 16 grand prix wins during his Formula One career, by the award which carries the name of Autosport magazine's original editor.

Martin Brundle presented Moss with the award and asked if he had a favourite moment from his career.

"I did 529 races so it's difficult to remember them all," he said. "I think the best achievement I had was the Mille Miglia - because that record can't be broken now - or maybe Monaco 1961."

Brundle added his own memories of competing against Moss.

"Two things stand out in my mind," he said. "Brands Hatch in 1981 when we were racing touring cars. We were all struggling for grip and it was just his moment, the grip level he was used to, and he wiped the floor with us.

"In a D-type at Goodwood, I looked across at St Mary's and there was Stirling Moss. He's so competitive and so fast. Once a winner, always a winner for sure."

Moss is one of the all-time greats of British motorsport and arguably the finest driver never to win the world championship - his raw statistics do not do justice to his talent. Many still regard him as Britain's finest ever racing driver.

Ultimately, his admirable patriotism and sportsmanship prevented Moss from achieving greater success, for he always preferred to drive for British teams whenever possible, which sometimes left him in less competitive machinery than if he had accepted approaches from the likes of Ferrari.

His early successes in F1 did come with foreign equipment. Moss bought a Maserati 250F for 1954 in bid to prove he was worth a seat in Mercedes' works team, and made his point with third in Belgium.

He duly earned the second Mercedes drive the following year, winning his first GP in his home race at Aintree, and taking second to teammate Juan Manuel Fangio in the standings.

He repeated that result with Maserati and Vanwall in 1956/7, again beaten by friend and rival Fangio, but would have been champion in 1958 had he not spoken in support of eventual title-winner Mike Hawthorn when his compatriot was set to be penalised in Portugal.

"That's the way it was then," said Moss when asked if he had any regrets. "I don't think he should have been disqualified for something that was nothing to do with him."

The rest of Moss's F1 career was spent driving for Rob Walker's private outfit, where he continued to win races against the might of the larger teams - taking two famous underdog victories against Ferrari's invariably dominant 'shark nose' 156s in Monaco and Germany in 1961.

But his F1 successes were just part of the Moss story, for he also dabbled in a myriad of other racing categories. Success at Le Mans eluded him, but he finished second in the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally, and beat Fangio to victory in the infamous 1955 Mille Miglia road race.

A serious accident at Goodwood in 1962 ended Moss's career, but he has remained a keen follower of motor racing and a fine ambassador for the sport ever since, regularly starring at events such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

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