Three-time World Champion Sir Jack Brabham passes away, age 88

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Three-time Formula One World Champion Sir Jack Brabham has passed away at the age of 88. An official notice was passed on the Brabham family’s official website. Brabham was perhaps one of Australia’s greatest ever racing drivers.

Son David Brabham said in a statement, “It’s a very sad day for all of us. My father passed away peacefully at home at the age of 88 this morning. He lived an incredible life, achieving more than anyone would ever dream of and he will continue to live on through the astounding legacy he leaves behind.”

Known as “Black Jack,” before his racing career, Sir Jack plied his trade as a former mechanic in the Royal Australian Air Force.

Over a 15-year career in Grand Prix racing, Brabham is the only driver to have won the World Championship in a car of his own creation – the Brabham BT19 Repco in 1966, developed in partnership with countryman Ron Tauranac. He also won World Drivers Championships in 1959 and 1960, with the legendary Cooper Climax. The Brabham team won the 1966 and 1967 Constructor’s Championships, as well.

He won 14 Grands Prix, captured 13 pole positions and set 12 fastest race laps from his 128 race starts, in a career that lasted until 1970. He won his final race – the 1970 South African Grand Prix – that year, before selling his team to Bernie Ecclestone.

Brabham was also the patriarch of Australia’s iconic racing family.

Sons Geoff, Gary and David have enjoyed successful careers of their own – primarily in sports car racing – and both Gary and David made it to F1.

Geoff made his name via Nissan’s prototype program in the IMSA GTP Championship, where he won four championships. He also made 10 Indianapolis 500 starts, with two top-five finishes. David’s career has seen a wealth of sports car success, including an overall win at the 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving for Peugeot.

Now the latest generation of racing Brabhams is on the rise. Grandson Sam Brabham is racing in Formula Ford; Matthew or “Matty,” who is Geoff’s son, has stormed through the Mazda Road to Indy by winning championships in USF2000 and Pro Mazda the last two seasons. He took his first Indy Lights win last weekend at Indianapolis.

We express our thoughts and condolences to the entire Brabham family. Sir Jack is survived by Lady Margaret, his three sons and their respective families.

Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to take pole position Saturday for the Formula One Austrian GP.

The Finnish driver edged out the world champion by 0.012 seconds to claim the top spot for the season opener at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. He clenched his fist as he climbed out of his car and shared a hug with Hamilton.

“It’s something special when you push the car to the limit,” said Bottas, who is chasing an eighth career win. “Feels so good. It’s very impressive (from the team).”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, and Lando Norris gave McLaren a boost by finishing fourth. Verstappen has won the past two years here, including 2019 when he started third behind Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“It’s going to be interesting quite a bit warmer tomorrow and hopefully this will play to our advantage,” Verstappen said. “Today, Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately. Last year we were also a little bit off in qualifying so I expect we will be a bit better in the race.”

Bottas had the leading time when drivers embarked on their final laps and beat his own mark before sliding off the track into the gravel.

Hamilton was chasing a record-extending 89th career pole. He was ahead but then dropped off slightly as Bottas secured a 12th career pole.

“Great job by Valtteri. It’s a great start to the season,” Hamilton said. “We show year on year that we continue to be the best team. We’re open-minded … constantly learning from each other and pushing the boundaries.”

Ferrari struggled for speed, with Leclerc nearly one second behind in seventh and Sebastian Vettel failing to make it into the third and final part of qualifying, known as Q3. He starts the race from 11th on the grid.

Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season with his future in F1 uncertain.

Earlier, Hamilton posted the fastest time in morning practice. The 35-year-old British driver was also quickest in both sessions on Friday.

Midway through third practice, F1 newcomer Nicholas Latifi misjudged the exit of a turn and spun his Williams car into a protective tire wall.