Flashback Fridays: 1976 Japanese Grand Prix

Hello F1 fans! Welcome to my Flashback Fridays post. In case you don’t know, Flashback Fridays is when I write about great F1 races from the past. Today we will be looking at the 1976 Japanese Grand Prix. The 1976 Formula One Season was a duel between James Hunt and Niki Lauda. They were both equally fast but had very different personalities. Lauda was the smart technical driver while Hunt partied as hard as he drove. 7 weeks before this race, Lauda had a terrible accident at the German Grand Prix. The crash caused him to miss the Austrian and Dutch Grand Prix.

Hunt: left Lauda: right

The race was staged in terrible conditions with heavy rain. As the race started the spray produced by the cars reduced visibility. This caused Niki Lauda to retire from the race. I think the reason why he retired is because the bad crash he had in Germany was in similar conditions. He was not ready to take the risk. Lots of cars spun and crashed. It was like driving on an ice rink. Only 11 out of 27 cars managed to finish.

However, as the race progressed, the track got drier. This caused James Hunt’s wet weather tyres to overheat which forced him to pit. After a slightly slow pitstop, he found himself in fifth place. He needed to finish third or better to win the Championship. With 6 laps to go, James Hunt made his charge for the title. Everyone Thought it was over. However, he soon proved everyone wrong by passing Alan Jones and Clay Regazzoni to win the Championship by only one point.

I hope you enjoy my post and I will see you tomorrow for the British Grand Prix. Bye!

Fact of the day: Niki Lauda holds the record for the most years between Championships. He won Championships 7 years apart in 1977 and 1984.

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