GPBlog's Top 50 drivers in 50 days - #8 - Sir Jackie Stewart

07-03-2020 19:00
by Adam Newton
F1 News
GPBlog's Top 50 drivers in 50 days - #8 - Sir Jackie Stewart

Hello and welcome back again for the closing stages of our countdown to the Australian Grand Prix. We’re one step closer to the return of racing, so let’s look at who’s next on our list of the top 50 F1 drivers of all time. Yesterday we looked at Sir Stirling Moss and today it’s time for another knight of the realm, Sir Jackie Stewart.

One of the all time heroes of F1, Stewart first raced in the series in 1965 after dominating F3 the previous year and he immediately showed his ability.

Racing for BRM, he was often Jim Clark’s closest rival, finishing second to his fellow Scot on three occasions in the mid-season before taking his first F1 victory at Monza, fighting off Graham Hill for the win.

He would eventually finish third in the standings, a very impressive debut season. His 1966 season started perfectly with a dominant win in Monaco, but then reliability struck down his BRM, costing him any chance of a title fight.

It was a similar story in 1967 as he only finished twice in 11 races. For 1968 he made the move from BRM to Matra but picked up an injury early in the season and missed two races.

He returned for the Belgian Grand Prix and took a win in the next race at Zandvoort. Another win at the fearsome Nürburgring brought him to within four points of championship leader Graham Hill.

He led Hill home in the USA to take the fight to the final race, but Hill took victory in Mexico to claim his second title.

Stewart was determined not to be beaten in 1969, and made the title his by taking six wins in the first eight races, securing the title in the sixth win at Monza in one of the most dominant spells in F1 history.

Matra became Tyrrell for 1970 and the season started well, with third in South Africa and a win in Spain. However, reliability affected Stewart’s title charge as Jochen Rindt won five of the next six.

When Rindt was killed in practice for the Italian Grand Prix, Stewart had a chance to overtake him with a run of good results, but too many DNFs cost him the chance and Rindt posthumously took the crown.

1971 saw another year of Stewart domination. He took the title lead at round two and never relinquished it, scoring six superb victories. Only Ronnie Peterson was able to score half of Stewart’s points as he crushed the field.

Lotus developed the 72D for 1972 and Emerson Fittipaldi shone in it, taking five victories as he won his first F1 title. Stewart managed to take four wins, including the final two, but his consistency was not as good as the Brazilian’s.

For 1973, Stewart and Fittipaldi went head to head again, with Fittipaldi holding the championship lead after six races.

However, he entered a rough patch as Stewart took consecutive wins, securing his third title at the Italian Grand Prix.

Stewart was instrumental in improving the safety in F1 during its most dangerous era, but his final F1 appearance was marred by the awful death during qualifying of his teammate Francois Cevert, who was set to take over leading the team the following season.

The accident meant the Tyrrell team withdrew from the race at Watkins Glen, ending his F1 career.

Stewart won 27 races, a record that stood for several years before it was beaten by Alain Prost. His career was an incredible one, his driving style brilliant and ability obvious.

He’s rightly seen as one of F1’s all time legends and still makes appearances at F1 events to this day and the F1 paddock is all the better for it.

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