Formula 1 greats lead tributes to Sir Jack Brabham
Sir Jackie Stewart has paid tribute to his on-track rival and friend Sir Jack Brabham, the three-time Formula One world champion who has died aged 88.
Australian Brabham (below left with Emerson Fittipaldi) passed away at his home on the Gold Coast yesterday morning.
He won the F1 world title in 1959 and 1960 with the Cooper team and in 1966 with a car he had manufactured himself, the Brabham BT19, as well as taking the constructors' crown in 1967.
And Stewart – another three-time F1 title winner, with the first coming in 1969, Brabham's penultimate season before retiring – said: "It is a great loss to motorsport that Jack Brabham has died.
"He died peacefully and unexpectedly, although he had been ill for some time. I saw him this year in Australia and we had a good chat.
"Jack was a fierce competitor and a modest and almost shy man, but a great three-time world champion who accomplished more than any other driver in the history of Grand Prix racing.
"Not only did he win the world championship three times, but he won driving his own car, which is a feat I suspect will never be matched.
"He was an extremely talented driver and very deceptively fast. He was also a very aggressive driver and probably one of the most difficult men to overtake – never apparently blocking intentionally, but somehow or other he was incredibly difficult to pass.
"He was a tough, hard driver and a hugely important part of motor-racing history. I am very fortunate to have been able to call him a friend and I am glad to have lived in the era of Jack Brabham.
"The entire Stewart family sends our condolences and sympathy to (Brabham's wife) Margaret, his sons and his grandchildren."
Sir Stirling Moss, who competed against Brabham in the 1950s and '60s, said: "My career would have been considerably less without him. Every race – and I'm talking 50-odd times a year – we would fight against each other.
"I remember in New Zealand in the early '50s, we were contending the New Zealand Grand Prix or something like that, and I had a problem with my back axle.
"The first person that came up was Jack and he said 'take it off my spare car', knowing very well that there was a good chance I might beat him. That sums him up to me – a real sportsman and a good Aussie."
Current F1 drivers took to Twitter to pay tribute, with world title leader Lewis Hamilton writing: "RIP Sir Jack Brabham. What an amazing driver and man #legend."
Australia's Red Bull racer Daniel Ricciardo wrote: "Sorry to hear about Sir Jack Brabham. A great Australian who inspired many Aussies to pursue our dreams."