American racer Phil Hill passed away yesterday at the age of 81 at the Community Hospital in Monterey, California, as a result of complications from Parkinson?s disease. Phil is best known for being the only US-born driver to win the F1 Championship, which he did in 1961 behind the wheel of a Ferrari.
F1 was not Hill's only accomplishment however, having posted three victories at the Le Mans 24 hour and Sebring 12 hour endurance events. Hill was also pivotal to Mike Hawthorn's World Championship in 1958 where he slowed and waved Hawthorn through during the Moroccan Grand Prix to allow him to take second place and secure the title.
Ferrari?s president, Luca di Montezemolo, expressed his admiration for the accomplished driver;
?I, as well as all employees of Ferrari are extremely saddened by the news of the passing of Phil Hill, a man and a champion who gave so much to Ferrari and who has always greatly represented the company?s values inside and outside the racing track.?
While many of us may have never had the pleasure of watching Phil race, we can certainly appreciate the contributions he's made to the world of motor sport. A true champion in every sense of the word.