This is one of the few photos that shows Phil Hill smiling. He had an unhappy upbringing in an austere home dominated by an alcoholic father, and he turned to cars as an escape to a predictable world. As an accomplished racer he fretted and anguished over every detail of strategy and mechanics. Sports Illustrated called him "Hamlet with goggles and gloves."
Did unhappy childhoods contribute to a driver's success? Hill seemed to think so. Here's what he told sportswriter Pat Jordan:
“Most racers I know had unhappy childhoods. Their lives were chaotic. Racing was an outlet for pent-up aggressions of people who have always felt their lives—and they themselves—were inadequate. They try to put order into their lives by taking something dangerous, potentially chaotic, and imposing their order on it. It gives them worth. A racer believes he can make his deadly machine safe. He is playing God.”