It’s just that four Nürburgring 1,000km wins and four Oulton Park Gold Cups (with one more to come), three Italian GPs and three British Empire Trophy wins (with one more to come), plus a brace apiece of British, Monaco (with one more to come) and Portuguese GPs, two BRDC International Trophy wins, a Reims 12 Hours and a Sebring 12 Hours (the latter in a tiddly, brake-less OSCA), a Mille Miglia and a Buenos Aires 1,000km, and beating ‘Those bloody red cars! – not Moss’s words – in their Pescara back yard, kinda, well, you know, softened the blows.
And the more relaxed he became, the better Moss performed: if his 1961 Monaco GP victory has a rival as his best in F1 then it is his victory in that year’s German GP. He had never been better and the gap to the next best had never been greater.
That was always likely to narrow, however. At 32, he was giving six and five years to up-and-comers Jim Clark and John Surtees. He was, however, seven months younger than Graham Hill. We can only speculate how it might have panned out. We can’t even be sure as to the cause of why it ended so suddenly, so shockingly.
Hill, on the verge of a maiden F1 win, was the closest witness to Moss’s spearing into an earth bank during the 1962 Glover Trophy. The BRM man, who would become that year’s world champion, ruled out driver error; but Moss, memory a blank, crucially could not.
He fretted, after gradual recovery, understandably unsure as to his future – driving racing cars was all he knew – and would regularly wonder if he had hung up his white Herbert Johnson too soon. He had called it quits after an unconvincing test of a Lotus sports-racer at Goodwood in May 1963 – but fate, brutal in application, would be kind ultimately.