Ask Steven: Who or what was "mon ami mate" in F1?

Victor Blackman

Who or what was "mon ami mate" in F1? asked Harry Salisbury

"Mon ami mate" was the cheery salutation with which the 1950s British driver Mike Hawthorn would usually greet his close friend - and latterly Ferrari team-mate - Peter Collins. They both drove for Ferrari from 1956 to 1958, the year in which Collins was killed at the German Grand Prix. He was 26, and had won three GPs.

Hawthorn was the first British driver to win a world championship Grand Prix (in France in 1953) and the first to win the world title, in 1958. Saddened by the death of his friend Collins, he retired after clinching the title, only to lose his life in a car accident on a Surrey road in January 1959. He was 29, and had also won three GPs.

Mon Ami Mate is also the title of a hard-to-obtain book, by Chris Nixon, about the pair: it's subtitled "The Bright Brief Lives of Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins".

Coincidentally, I think I omitted Collins's name in an answer on here recently about the home drivers who have won the British GP. He won it at Silverstone in July 1958 (Hawthorn was second, also in a Ferrari), before his fatal accident at the Nurburgring in the next race.

There have thus been 12 different British winners of the British GP: Stirling Moss (1955 and 1957), Tony Brooks (1957, shared drive with Moss), Peter Collins (1958), Jim Clark (1962-63-64-65-67), Jackie Stewart (1969-71), James Hunt (1977), John Watson (1981), Nigel Mansell (1986-87-91-92), Damon Hill (1994), Johnny Herbert (1995), David Coulthard (1999-2000) and Lewis Hamilton (2008-14).