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Motorsport great Moss dies aged 90

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London (AFP)

Motorsport great Stirling Moss has died aged 90 following a long illness, the British driver's wife announced Sunday.

"It was one lap too many," Susie Moss told Britain's Press Association.

"He just closed his eyes."

Although Moss never won the Formula One title, he finished runner-up four times and third three times.

British media reported Moss's passing was the result of a chest infection he caught in Singapore in December 2016 that saw him retire from public life two years later.

There is no suggestion his death was linked to the coronavirus.

In an era where it was common for drivers to race in different disciplines, a 14-year career that started in 1948 saw Moss win 212 of the 529 races he entered including the 1955 Mille Miglia, where he set a new course record in the 1,000 mile event, which took place on public roads in Italy.

In Formula One, Moss won 16 Grand Prix, with his first victory coming in the 1955 British Grand Prix at Liverpool that saw him become the first British winner of the race.

His renowned sportsmanship cost Moss the 1958 title when he defended the conduct of British rival Mike Hawthorn following a spin at the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Moss's action helped spare Hawthorn a six-point penalty, with Hawthorn winning the title by a single point.

His top-level career in motorsport came to an end in 1962 following a crash at the Goodwood track in Sussex, southern England that left Moss in a coma for a month and partially paralysed for six months.

But such was the enduring fame of the debonair driver that, for decades afterwards, the rhetorical phrase "Who do you think you are, Stirling Moss?" was supposedly the standard question all British policemen asked speeding motorists.

"Yes a policeman did once ask me," Moss told the Daily Telegraph in a 2012 interview.

"But I couldn't work out if he was taking the mick (joking)."

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