Sixty years after winning the Mille Miglia in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, veteran driver Sir Stirling Moss has driven the same type around the banked Monza circuit alongside current Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton in the W196 F1 car.
Mercedes driver Hamilton is aiming for his fourth victory in five races at Barcelona this weekend (10 May), while the 85-year-old Moss, seen by some fans as the greatest driver never to be F1 champion, won 16 grand prix between 1951 and 1961 – as well as many other races.
Moss and navigator Denis Jenkinson completed the 1955 1,000 mile race in just over 10 hours at an average speed of just under 100mph. His race against Hamilton around the banked circuit at Monza was more sedate.
After a three week gap in this years F1 races, the fifth round of the season will be closely watched for signs of any shift in the pecking order, with teams bringing upgrades to their cars now they have had time back at the factory.
The battle at the front, however, is still likely to be between Mercedes – with double world champion Hamilton in commanding form – and resurgent Ferrari. The Briton has a 27 point lead over team mate Nico Rosberg.
After their recent drive, Moss and Hamilton agreed that danger is part of the sport.
The veteran Moss said: I think the trouble with what they do, they try to change the circuits and make them safer. Well motor racing isnt safe. Therefore I think keeping them as they were is a lot more exhilarating for the driver, rather than changing them to make them too safe.
Hamilton continued: I agree. Today was the first time I think Ive driven the bank. You know it was amazing, incredible. I definitely agree because its a lot different to – we dont have any banking at the moment so, very, very cool. I think we should have a banked corner.
The 85-year-old said drivers with greater ability could always overcome difficulties.
Bravery and stupidity are very closely related and you know, if you do certain things at one time it might be brave, whereas at another time it would be stupid to do it. But I think the great thing about motor racing with difficult circuits is that allows drivers with the greater ability – like Lewis and so on – to be able to ignore that and not take any notice of it, said Moss.
Hamilton said drivers today are not heroically brave like their predecessors.
I think bravery has a different meaning today as it did in Sir Stirlings day. You know, back then a large portion of it was bravery, how far you were willing to go and ability, where now its more so ability and you know, you, I dont think you really need to be brave in Formula One any more.
While it still is dangerous, I dont think you need to be heroically brave like they did, like they were, said the F1 champion.