Bengaluru, May 21: When talking about Niki Lauda, the first thing thing that comes to the mind of motorsports buffs all around the world is the 1976 FIA F1 World Championship and his famed rivalry with British driver James Hunt in that season.
That was the year in which Hunt won his first and only world title where he pipped Austrian Lauda by just a point!
Lauda's rivalry with Hunt is part of paddock folklore and is well documented in the Ron Howard's 2013 biopic 'Rush.
In the 123-minute thriller German-Spanish actor Daniel Bruhl portrays the role of Lauda while Australian Christopher Hemsworth stars as Hunt.
Though some of the incidents in the film look much more exaggerated, the intense battle for the 1976 FIA F1 World Championship, starting from the crash in Germany, to the final race of the season is well narrated.
Going into the Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji, which was the final race of the 1976 season, Ferrari's Lauda had a three-point lead over McLaren's Hunt. The stage was set for a thrilling climax amidst a heavy downpour with Mario Andretti grabbing the pole followed by Hunt and Lauda.
Defending world champion Lauda was recovering from a near fatal crash in the German Grand Prix that season and despite suffering serious burns, he was soon back in his Ferrari with a modified helmet.
But on the race day, he decided to call it quits after two laps realising it was too dangerous to drive.
With the Austrian pulling out, all that Hunt required was a third-place finish to clinch the title. But there was another twist to the tale as Hunt, who was leading the race first suffered a tyre wear and then a puncture forcing him to take a pit stop.
Despite Mclaren crew advising him to play it safe, Hunt went for the jugular and got what he wanted - a hard-fought third-place and a maiden F1 world title which he had been yearning for years.
Just one point separated Hunt and Lauda in one of the most exciting season in F1 history and the biographical sports film, which is written by Peter Morgan, sums it up aptly.
I can’t say I’m a fan of sports much less formula 1..but I was such a fan of the film Rush that the stories of Mr.Hunt and Mr.Lauda were inspirational. I wasn’t expecting to feel the way I feel about Niki Lauda’s death. But it hit me in a surprising sort of way. #RIPNiki pic.twitter.com/GhzJ7KbD04— George Rodriguez (@Demon7Monkey) May 21, 2019
Despite minor technical glitches, the film was a box office hit and was screened at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.
After seeing the film, Lauda himself had said wish 'I wish James Hunt could have seen Rush'".