Austrian F1 legend and three-time formula one world champion Niki Lauda passed away on Monday. He was 70 and died at a hospital, eight months after going through a lung transplant.
Lauda was a revered champion in the racing circuit and won world titles in 1975, 1977 and 1984, two of which were after his horrific accident at the racing track at the 1976 German Grand Prix.
Lauda, a courageous driver, was admired within the club of racers for his remarkable driving skills and more so for his comeback post 1976.Lauda's journey has been aptly covered in the sports-drama film Rush (2013), which to this date, remains one of the most loved and extensively researched films in the genre. In Rush, German-Spanish actor Daniel Brühl portrays Lauda, while Chris Hemsworth essays his famed rival James Hunt. The Hunt-Lauda rivalry is the cornerstone of Rush, while the film also covers the infamous 1976 accident of Lauda, his glorious comeback and subsequent domination at the racing tracks and his personal life. In Rush, directed by Ron Howard, Lauda is posited as a contemplative and tactical driver as opposed to Hemsworths's Hunt, who is self-confident and rash. The 1976 German Grand Prix, which left the life of the former champion, Lauda, in the lurking, is also regarded as a prominent moment in the history of the sports. In Rush, like in the real incident, when Lauda's Ferrari breaks and the car flies into an embankment before it bursts into flames and is hit by other cars, Lauda sustains serious burns to his head and face and internal burns to his lungs. Watching Hunt win the titles, while he recovers, Lauda decides to return to the tracks against doctors' advice.
The climax, which unfolds at the Japanese Grand Prix, in 1976, is a call back to Lauda's accident during the German race. The track is soaking wet and the chances of accident are high. While remaining in the lead over Hunt, during the first lap, Lauda contemplates retiring from the race and does so in the pit stop. His decision to stay with his wife Marlene, who he married before his accident, instead of risking his life again on the track, is hailed as a very effective and emotional moment for a character, whose entire life is dedicated to the track.
During his racing career, Lauda won two titles for Ferrari and one for McLaren. Apart from F1 racing, Lauda pursued his passion for flying by venturing into airline business. Post retirement, Lauda also worked at the top echelons in F1 management. A Rush of a life and career indeed.See Rush trailer here:
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