The Collection

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Photographer Rainer Schlegelmilch
Where Circuit de Monaco, Monaco
When Sunday, May 11, 1975
Details Niki Lauda, Ferrari 312T.
The story behind the shot

A championship turn around

When the Formula 1 circus arrived at Monaco in 1975, Ferrari hadn’t claimed a victory at the prestigious track in 20 years. Niki Lauda was about to change that. It had been a slow start to the season for Lauda, and he was running ninth in the championship standings after four rounds, but his luck would turn around in Monte Carlo. The Ferrari qualified on pole, with the unlikely row-mate of Shadow’s Tom Pryce. Pryce wouldn’t stay at the front for long, with Jean-Pierre Jarier passing him on off the line. Jarier crashed moments later as he tried to pass Lauda for the early lead and Ronnie Peterson inherited second place. The race started in the wet but, as you can see from Schlegelmich’s photo, it didn’t stay that way. A drying track called for tyre changes up and down the pit lane, and it was in the pits that Peterson’s race was lost. As his pit crew tried to switch the tyres, a wheel nut was lost under the car. The delayed stop dropped him down the order, and Emerson Fittipaldi picked up second. At the front of the order, Lauda was cool, calm, and collected. He briefly lost the lead during the pit stops, but was soon back at the front and charging away from the rest of the pack. The gap back to Fittipaldi was, at one point, more than 15 seconds, but the reigning champion began to reel in the Ferrari late in the race. Lauda’s oil pressure was dropping, and Fittipaldi had his first victory since the start of the season in his sights. The Brazilian managed to close the gap to just under three seconds but ran out of time before he could snatch the victory. Lauda claimed his first win of the season, jumped up to third in the championship standings, and had started his title challenge.