Born two years before his father, Graham, won his first Formula One® world title in 1962, Damon Hill became accustomed to the F1® lifestyle from an early age, with regular visits from family friends such as Stirling Moss, Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart to the family home. Deviating from the path of his father, Damon, aged 11 became much more interested in motorbikes. Four years later, tragedy struck the Hill family when Graham and several members of his team were tragically killed in an air crash in 1975.
In 1981, he started competing on bikes, preparing them himself and towing them to the races. In 1985, at the age of 25, he found enough sponsorship for a season of Formula Ford racing, where he showed promise. A stint in Formula Three followed, where he won three races in three years. His attributes as a hard-working individual were obvious, and enough to impress Williams who hired him as a test driver, beginning in 1991. The following year, he debuted in a highly uncompetitive car for Brabham, where he only managed to qualify for two races. Despite this, his role as a test driver for the Williams team soon paid dividends. Following Nigel Mansell’s victory for the team in 1992 (in a car which Hill helped develop), Damon was promoted to replace Mansell, who left F1 for IndyCar Series in America.
The Big Break
Damon made the most of the opportunity, winning three races and finishing third overall to his title-winning team mate Alain Prost, who then retired from racing. The next year, after Prost's replacement Ayrton Senna was killed in his third race with Williams, the task of leading the team fell to Damon, who responded brilliantly, helping rebuild morale and driving himself to exceed all expectations, save his own. His 1994 championship battle with Benetton's Michael Schumacher ended when they collided controversially in the final race at Adelaide. Schumacher, who was accused by some of deliberately taking his rival out, won the title by a single point from Hill, whom others thought could have avoided the crash.
Following another second placed finish to Schumacher in 1995, Hill followed in his father’s footsteps by claiming the 1996 Formula One® World Championship. Despite winning eight out of a possible sixteen races, the Williams team decided to part ways with the newly-crowned champion.
In 1997, he endured a difficult season with Arrows before moving to Jordan, scoring the team's first Formula One victory in the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix. In his final season with Jordan, his motivation waned noticeably and at the end of 1999 he finally hung up the well-known Hill helmet. There was no doubt he had done justice to the family name. To Graham Hill's total of 14 wins and two driving titles, Damon Hill added 22 victories and a World Championship.
Meet Damon In Budapest
Meet Formula One® World Champion Damon Hill at our exclusive Paddock Club Party at this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring. Enjoy exquisite culinary treats prepared by the world-renowned Paddock Club chefs, beer and wine bars before stopping for a picture and posing all your race-related questions to the former Williams driver.