Britain’s coolest Grand Prix driver of the ’70s. James Hunt smoked fags while he was racing. He wore too much gold jewellery. He could drink Oliver Reed under the table. He crashed – a lot!
He got all the best birds and he was an ever-present item in the gossip columns, never more so than when his first wife (Suzy Miller) went off with Richard Burton.
Hunt won his first Grand Prix in 1975 with a well-timed triumph over Niki Lauda’s Ferrari 312T in the Dutch GP at Zandvoort.
The following year he was signed to the McLaren team and immediately stamped his authority on the new situation by taking pole position for his first Grand Prix in Brazil.
He won the F1 World Championship without sleep!
In retirement, James busied himself with various business ventures and stayed involved in F1 through his commentating duties with Murray Walker on BBC television.
By the early 1990s his life had settled down despite his money problems and it appeared that James would grow old gracefully.
It was not to be though, and in June 1993 he died at his Wimbledon home of a massive heart attack. He was just 45.