In 1958, Stirling Moss won four Grand Prix races to Mike Hawthorne’s one.

So Moss must be the better driver.

But Mike Hawthorne was crowned World Champion that year.

How can that be?

Surely Moss must have been a better driver than Hawthorn?

Well, it depends on how you look at it.

Stirling Moss loved racing, he wanted to be the fastest, and he wanted to beat everyone else.

That was his priority: racing.

Mike Hawthorne had a different priority: he wanted to be World Champion.

That’s not quite the same thing.

Stirling Moss would always race flat out, faster than anyone else.

Mike Hawthorne would race tactically.

He would race carefully to build up points.

He knew at the end of the season that’s what counted.

The difference was shown particularly clearly in two races that year.

The races that decided who would be World Champion.

In the Portugese Grand Prix, Mike Hawthorne’s car had engine trouble.

It stopped dead on the track.

The only way to get it restarted was to push it.

But Hawthorn couldn’t do that on his own, and no one else was allowed to help.

As Stirling Moss came by, he saw Hawthorn in trouble.

He pointed to a downhill road that ran parallel to the racetrack.

He told Hawthorne to bump start his car by rolling down it.

Hawthorne did what Moss suggested, and he finished second to him.

But Hawthorn was disqualified for driving in the opposite direction to the race, which meant he’d lose the six points.

Stirling Moss ran over to the officials and argued that they were wrong.

Moss said, as the road wasn’t part of the track it didn’t count.

Eventually the officials accepted Moss’s argument, and they allowed Hawthorn to keep the six points.

The final race of the season was the Spanish Grand Prix.

If Moss won, he would win the title.

Unless Hawthorn finished second.

Hawthorn stayed in third position, taking no chances, nurturing his car around the track.

On the final lap Mike Hawthorn’s teammate, who was in second place, moved over to allow Hawthorn to pass him.

Hawthorn finished second and became World Champion.

Beating Stirling Moss by one single point.

Hawthorn immediately retired from racing.

He had what he’d always wanted, the trophy.

Hawthorn won it tactically, by finishing second.

That, and the six points Stirling Moss had given him by arguing with the officials on his behalf.

Hawthorn wanted the trophy, Moss wanted to be the best driver.

That’s not quite the same thing.

Over his career, Mike Hawthorn had just three Grand Prix wins.

Stirling Moss had sixteen Grand Prix wins.

Stirling Moss was never World Champion, but he’s recognised as one of the greatest drivers ever.

Not many people have heard of Mike Hawthorn.

Who we admire can tell us a lot about ourselves.


Are we only doing our job for the awards?

Or do we love the job?