Formula 1 has always been a thrilling sport for the drivers, but back in the day of Niki Lauda and James Hunt the stakes were high. Lauda found out firsthand how dangerous the cars were when his vehicle exploded into flames, seriously burning his face. In the 2013 film Rush, which depicts his rivalry with James Hunt, we learn a few things about the iconic Austrian racer.
He Would Not Quit
There was no way to make Lauda quit anything. He was determined to win at all costs and in the film we see he’s willing to risk his life for championship glory. Lauda and Hunt pushed each other to their limits, but were hugely different characters.
The Austrian was determined to succeed and was very professional in his approach, while Hunt was carefree and loved having a good time. Even after he suffered his terrible injury, the only thing that drove Lauda was his will to succeed. Against all the doctor’s orders, Lauda returned to racing just 40 days after suffering severe burns to his head and face.
Winning Was Everything
For Lauda, there was nothing he cared about more than winning Formula 1 races. Lauda was the world champion when he had the terrible crash, and the days he spent in the hospital saw him fall behind his rival James Hunt.
The thought of not being champion was eating away at him, so he returned to racing sooner than he was medically cleared to do. Lauda only narrowly lost the title to Hunt that year but was the world champion in the following two seasons.
Lauda sadly passed away in his sleep in 2019 at the age of 70. His funeral was attended by many racing drivers all wishing to pay their respects to the great racer.