- April 10 down the years
Britain's first world champion is bornWhat happened on April 10 in Formula One history?
Tall, blond, bullish and never without a cap and bow tie, Mike Hawthorn, who was born on this day in Yorkshire, gave the British public the international success it craved in the 1950s. His driving was flamboyant and his private life never dull, and by the mid 1950s, by which time he had already been signed up by Ferrari, it was clear Britain had a racer who was able to mix it with the established stars such as the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio. His racing was then limited by his father's death, so he quit Ferrari to be closer to home to look after the family garage business. Racing for Vanwall in 1955, he was less than impressed with both the car and the team so he returned to Ferrari after two races but found the team had been eclipsed by Mercedes.
His 1955 season will always be remembered for his involvement in an accident in the Le Mans 24 Hours that sent Pierre Levegh's Mercedes into the crowd, killing 80 people. Racing for BRM in 1956 was less than satisfactory, so Mike returned again to Ferrari for 1957 and finished second in the German Grand Prix. Then it all came right in 1958. Although he won only once, to the four wins of Vanwall's Stirling Moss and the three of Tony Brooks, his consistent scoring - with five second places - was enough to make him Britain's first World Champion. He immediately retired, planning both to expand the family garage business and to get married, only to be killed in a road accident in 1959. It was later revealed he was suffering from a kidney illness that would have precluded further racing.
Carel Godin de Beaufort was a Dutch nobleman who drove irregularly in Formula One between 1957 and his death in 1964. He was a genuine amateur, funding his own cars which he ran in bright Dutch orange under the Ecurie Maarsbergen banner, the team taking its name from de Beaufort's country estate. Although early on he was seen as something of a joke - his solid frame led to his car being tagged "Fatty Porsche" - who got in the way but as time went on respect for him grew and in 1962 he twice finished sixth to earn two points. He was anything but conventional either, often driving without shoes and even donned a Beatles-style wig rather than a helmet. Once at Reims he stopped during a practice session to give an attractive young lady a ride round the circuit, to the fury of officials. He died when his Porsche 718 crashed at the Nürburgring, during practice for the 1964 German Grand Prix and was thrown from his car and suffered massive injuries from which he died three days later.
Paul Russo, born on this day, took part in eight Indianapolis 500s at the time they were included in the Formula One Championship, finishing fourth in 1957 and sharing a second place with Tony Bettenhausen in 1955. He was best known as a midget-car racer before World War Two and won three times in 85 starts in the AAA and USAC Championship Car series between 1940-41 and 1962.
The birth of Duke Dinsmore in West Virginia. He competed in seven Indianapolis 500s between 1946 and 1953 with a best finish of 15th.