The bravest of the brave – Niki Lauda

Having finally gotten around to watching Rush this evening, I was reminded that the hero of the story is actually Niki Lauda.

It is a matter of record that Niki was world champion in 1975, ’77 and ’84.

Had we not already known of the events of 1976 season involving Lauda, one could be forgiven for thinking his role in the 1976 season was a work of pure fiction, yet alone the two world titles still to follow.

Niki’s refusal to succumb to the injuries he sustained at the nurburgring (a crash which looked almost certain to be a fatal event) was a miracle in itself.

Then coming back to Grand Prix racing 6 weeks later is an event that this author was too young to see first hand. However if one cannot find such a fightback inspirational then goodness knows what is.

And his 4th place finish at Monza on his comeback stands as probably THE standout drive in the history of F1 in my opinion. Because it should not have been possible – sheer bloody willpower and bravery beating medical science and the balance of probabilities.

But it is not the Monza race that I believe to be the single biggest act of bravery in ’76.

It was in fact his withdrawal from the race at the Japanese Grand Prix and the likely handing of the title to James Hunt – which showed what he’s made of. Knowing when live to fight another day – literally in that era.

Now I can stand on record as saying I have been critical of Lauda and certain events and actions in his involvement in F1 recently (indeed I believe he could probably start a fight in an empty room with his PR skills) – notably at Jaguar.

I cannot help but admire Mr Lauda. Indeed the events of 1976 serve as a reminder, that if you want something enough, you can make it happen.

And equally, that if you’re intelligent enough to know when to pick your battles, you can live to fight another day.

And maybe it is exactly this that has driven Robert Kubica onto his WRC2 title.

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