Racing lines: the race of Sir Jackie Stewart's life

There will also be an unprecedented display of all his trophies. “We will have the British Grand Prix of shooting standing beside the solid-gold RAC British Grand Prix trophy, which we’ve got for the weekend,” says Stewart. “The quality of these trophies is fantastic, when sometimes those of today leave something to be desired. It will be a good attraction on its own.”

A cast list of special guests is guaranteed, and given who we’re talking about, he might even manage to order decent weather. But you sense his frustration that when it comes to the most important person in his life, for once he has found himself powerless – hence the charity and its high ambition. 

“Helen, my timekeeper and lap-charter, can’t walk now,” he says sadly. “She can remember a lot of things from the past, but if you speak to her four minutes later, she can’t recall it. It’s a very cruel illness.

“The statistics now are that for everybody born today, one in three is going to have dementia, and there’s no cure. We’ve got to do something about it.”

Hamilton vs Russell

I later ask Stewart what he’s looking forward to from F1 this year. He dismisses fears that Sir Lewis Hamilton might not return after the manner of his title defeat to Max Verstappen and is relishing the prospects of “that young and over-height” George Russell, “who might for the first time give Lewis a little push and shove” at Mercedes-AMG.

But were the events of Abu Dhabi damaging? “No,” he fires back. “It would’ve been damaging if a pace car had crossed the finish line first. That’s not what F1 is about.”

Stewart likes Verstappen but adds: “He still has time to learn emotionally. What you can’t do is over-drive. He and Lewis tangling wasn’t what I would call pure world champion [behaviour]. Juan Manuel Fangio didn’t do that, neither did Jim Clark – and, by the way, neither did Jackie Stewart.”


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