James Hunt became the Formula One (F1) world champion 40 years ago. On the 40th anniversary of the famous achievement, legend of the sport Niki Lauda has revealed that he sees a lot of similarity between his former rival and Lewis Hamilton.
“It is like Hamilton and (Nico) Rosberg of today. One lives one kind of life, and the other lives a different lifestyle. It was a similar situation between James and me.” Lauda said to the Press Association Sport, h/t ESPN.
The 67-year-old mentioned that the current F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton shares a lot of characteristics with that of Hunt. Hunt lived a very straightforward, eccentric and a weird life which is very similar to that of Hamilton. However, both are very good for the sport.
The non-executive chairman of Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team had a very famous rivalry on track with Hunt. Back in 1976, when the Brit won his first world championship, the rivalry was at its finest stage.
Lauda was forever famous for his dedication to the sport. He was very particular about the dynamics of his car and extremely was involved in the developmental phase. Hunt on the other hand was completely different and was famous for being a party animal and a playboy, according to Mirror.
During the famous 1976 F1 world championship, there was a point when Lauda was leading by 26 points, until a serious crash halted his run. The crash turned his car into a fireball which resulted in Lauda suffering several facial injuries along with internal burns.
However, this only placed him out of two races. After missing six weeks of F1 action, Lauda returned to face Hunt in the Japan Grand Prix. During his absence, Hunt managed to close the gap to 3 points.
During the final race of the season in Japan, Lauda retired after just two laps owing to poor conditions. Hunt went on to cross the finish line in third position to become the world champion.
Lauda later revealed that Hunt was the only person other than himself who deserved to win the title.
Photo courtesy: diogo dubiella/Wikipedia