English motorsport legend Stirling Moss died on Sunday morning at the age of 90 from lung disease. “He died the way he lived, in a beautiful way,” his wife told the Daily Mail.
Stirling Moss competed in Formula One for 11 seasons from 1951 to 1961. The Englishman, considered one of the best drivers in history, won 16 Grand Prix out of 66 contested but always missed out on the world crown. One of his most resounding successes came at Monaco in 1961. At the wheel of his Lotus, he edged out the fast Ferrari.
He failed four times to finish second in the championship (1955, 1956, 1957, 1958), including three times behind Argentina’s Juan Manuel Fangio, and three times in third place (1959, 1960, 1961). This statistic makes him the most successful driver without a world title, earning him the nickname “champion without a crown”.
An icon of English sport and a member of the Hall of Fame of international motor sport, he has distinguished himself in disciplines other than Formula 1. In particular, he twice finished second in the Le Mans 24 Hours (1953, 1956) and once second in the Monte Carlo Rally (1952). He won 212 of the 519 races in which he took part.
Moss ended his sporting career after a violent crash on the Goodwood circuit in 1962. In a coma and paralyzed for a few weeks, he then had to settle for historic races. However, he continued motor sport until 2011, at the age of 81.
“It was one lap too many. (…) He just closed his eyes,” his wife Susie Moss told the British agency PA.
Mercedes, his team during the 1955 season, was quick to react on Twitter. “Today, sport has not only lost a true icon but also a gentleman. The Mercedes family has lost a dear friend.”