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Formula 1 Legend: Niki Lauda

Submitted by on May 13, 2016

Niki Lauda

Niki Lauda driving the Brabham BT46B ‘Fan Car’ to victory in the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix, thanks to the Cahier Archive.

Spend some time reflecting on one of the most astonishing careers in Formula 1 with the great Niki Lauda.

Responsible for some of the greatest stories in Formula 1 and one half of one of its most iconic rivalries, Niki Lauda is the kind of champion who could only exist in the golden age of the sport.

Taking on a bank loan to buy into March as a Formula 2 driver, Lauda quickly demonstrated his prowess to the team and earned a seat in Formula 1. He pulled double duty for the team in 1972, racing in both Formula 1 and Formula 2.

A big break in Formula 1 takes a lot more than hard work and talent, and Lauda still had a ways to go to find his. With March in a shambles, he took out another loan to buy into BRM in 1973. BRM served as his stepping stone and he would make his jump to the pointy end when teammate Clay Regazzoni left the team and joined Ferrari. Regazzoni sung his praises, and Enzo took him on board for 1974.

His debut for Ferrari at the ’74 Argentine Grand Prix would see him finish second, and he went one better a few races later to win the Spanish Grand Prix. He set six consecutive pole positions in 1974 and won the Dutch Grand Prix, ultimately finishing fourth in the drivers’ championship.

With a year driving for Ferrari under his belt and the Ferrari 312T as his ride, Lauda was supreme in 1975, winning five grands prix and securing his first drivers’ title a race early at the conclusion of the Italian Grand Prix.

1976 was an insane season for Lauda, featuring his iconic duel with James Hunt for the championship and his fiery crash during the last Formula 1 Grand Prix held at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

He would go on to win the drivers’ title twice more – in 1977 and in 1984, nearly a decade after his first and several years after retiring from the sport for the first time in 1979.

This barely serves as an intro to a fascinating, thrilling and legendary career. Put your feet up and enjoy this chat with the man himself, thanks to Steve Rider and F1 Legends.

MORE: Niki Lauda’s Formula 1 Master Class

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