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17 July  
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1955: Moss claims first Grand Prix victory
Stirling Moss has won the British Grand Prix at the Aintree track near Liverpool - the first time an Englishman has triumphed in the race.

Another British driver, Mike Hawthorn, finished in sixth place.

London-born Moss, 25, held off a stiff challenge from his Mercedes-Benz team mate, world champion Juan Manuel Fangio.

Fangio had posted the second-fastest time after Moss during the warm-ups and led for the first couple of laps of the race but was overtaken by Moss on the third.

The Argentine driver gained the lead again on the 18th lap but by lap 26 Moss was in front once more.

He kept first place for the rest of the 90 laps in spite of a strong last-lap challenge by Fangio at Tatts Corner.

The two silver Mercedes crossed the line almost together.

Rapid progression

However, the lack of personal rivalry between the drivers was made plain by Moss in his winner's speech.

Moss said Fangio could have taken the race if he had wished but, being a great sportsman, had allowed Moss to achieve his long-held ambition of winning the British Grand Prix.

But given the history of racing in his family it was inevitable that sooner or later Stirling Moss would win a Grand Prix.

During the 1920s his father, Alfred, a dentist, took part in races including the Indianapolis 500.

His mother, Aileen, also took part in rallies and won the Ladies Experts Trials in 1936.

At the age of 18 Stirling Moss sold many of his possessions to buy his first racing car - a Cooper - in which he won 11 of his first 15 races.

He progressed rapidly through Formula Three and Formula Two to compete in F1 races.

However, his strong sense of patriotism has kept him largely in British cars and it was not until last year he accepted an offer to join the German Mercedes-Benz team.

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Watch/Listen
Stirling Moss pictured in 1954
Stirling Moss comes from a racing background

Images from the British Grand Prix win by Stirling Moss (mute)



In Context
Stirling Moss is perhaps the most famous and best-loved of all British racing drivers.

In spite of winning many races and the British championship ten times he never became world champion driver.

He was runner up five times between 1955-60 - four times to Juan Manuel Fangio and once to fellow Briton, Mike Hawthorn.

Many put Moss' lack of a world title down to his desire to drive British cars.

His career was cut short in April 1962 when he had a serious accident during a race at the Goodwood track in Sussex.

He was in a coma for the next 32 days and was paralysed for six months.

After his retirement from racing Stirling Moss forged a new career as a lecturer and author and as a speaker at corporate functions.

He also continued to race in veteran events.

Stirling Moss received an OBE in 1959 and in 1999 he was knighted.

Stories From 17 Jul


 
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