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Hunt vs Lauda

Nicky Lauda and James Hunt were intertwined in one of the most intense rivalries in Formula One (F1). Nicky Lauda came into the 1976 F1 season as the defending champion with Ferrari. Hunt had previously been driving for the Hesketh F1 team which went bankrupt for the 1976 season. He managed to book a drive with Mclaren, Ferrari’s closest rival. 

Nicky Lauda was the son of one of the biggest and most wealthy bankers in Austria. He swindled a credit agent to give him a loan on account of his family’s wealth. He used this money to buy his way into the BRM F1 team which was struggling financially at the time. It took Lauda no time at all to cement his superb driving ability and unlike any other driver at the time he understood the design of the car and was a master at setting up the finer details of the car’s performance. This understanding of mechanics and his cold demeanor when driving earned him the nickname: “the computer.” 

Hunt on the other hand shows his mettle in the lower racing divisions and was signed into F1 due to his raw speed and pace. 

As the two rivals began the 1976 season the Mclaren showed much promise taking pole position in the first qualifying session. Nonetheless in the Spanish GP Ferrari logged a protest with the FIA the ruling body of F1 the Mclaren was found to be 0.8 of an inch too wide and was disqualified from it’s win. The revised Mclaren was flawed and nowhere near the pace shown before. The Ferrari of Nicky Lauda pulled away scoring consistent wins and podiums. 

As the championship drew into its later stages the F1 circus arrived in Belgium at a track called the Nurburgring which was dubbed by Jackie Steward the green hell. It is a very long and dangerous track surrounded by trees. In regular conditions the track was very dangerous nonetheless on the weekend in question there was torrential rain. An argument to cancel the race was shut down as most drivers were eager to race as the championship was close to its end. The race went forward. Unfortunately on lap 2 Nicky Lauda’s Ferrari speared into the barrier at 140 miles an hour which set off an inferno of fire above 1000 degrees celsius. Nicky Lauda was trapped inside for over 2 minutes and sustained terrible burns to his hands and face.  Crucially the burning of carbon fiber around him scorched his lungs leaving him half dead. He was served his last rights by a priest at the hospital. Nonetheless three days after the accident he woke up and said as follows “tell that priest to f*** off I am not dead!” He was back on the F1 grid in four weeks time with blood still seeping through his head bandages

Patricio Inchauste

Hi I am Patricio Inchauste I am a junior and I have a massive interest in F1 and MMA.

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