Friday 29 August 2014

On This Day in Formula One - 29 August

The 1976 World Champion James Hunt.
1976 world champion James Hunt was born in Belmont, Surrey. A young aristocrat with a devil-may-care attitude, Hunt got his Formula One break in 1973 thanks to funding from Lord Hesketh. Hunt moved to McLaren after Emerson Fittipaldi quit to join his family team and he scored six wins and took the title amid a downpour in the final race, in Japan, when friend and rival Niki Lauda pulled into the pits and said that it was too dangerous to race. Hunt stayed out and clinched the third place he needed to lift the crown.

En route to winning the title, Hunt won the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort. Two weeks after Niki Lauda came off the critical list following his horrific accident at the Nurburgring, Hunt trailed Ronnie Peterson and John Watson in the early stages of the race before both men dropped back, leaving Hunt to claim victory from Clay Regazzoni and Mario Andretti and close the gap between himself and Lauda to just 14 points.

Keke Rosberg won the 1982 world championship with Williams despite winning just one race all season at the Swiss Grand Prix. The race was held in Dijon, France with motor racing still banned in Switzerland following the 1955 Le Mans disaster. Rosberg started eighth on the grid and overtook Alain Prost late on to secure victory.

David Coulthard won the Belgian Grand Prix after clashing with team-mate Mika Hakkinen into the first corner. Hakkinen had qualified on pole but was slower off the line, allowing Coulthard to pull alongside. The pair then touched into the first corner as Coulthard muscled his way past on the inside. Hakkinen's second place allowed him to overtake Eddie Irvine by a single point at the top of the drivers' standings.
Kimi Raikkonen took McLaren's first victory of the season at the Belgian Grand Prix but it was not enough to stop Michael Schumacher from securing his seventh drivers' title as he finished second ahead of Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello.


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