Burnt, battered, he battled back

Niki Lauda, bearing the horrific scars of the Nurburgring crash in 1976, returned to racing less than six weeks later. PHOTO: DPA
Niki Lauda, bearing the horrific scars of the Nurburgring crash in 1976, returned to racing less than six weeks later. PHOTO: DPA

AUG 1, 1976

At the German Grand Prix in Nurburgring, Niki Lauda crashed his Ferrari. The car caught fire and trapped in the burning cockpit, he suffered third-degree burns to his head and face and inhaled toxic gases that damaged his lungs. While at Mannheim hospital, he fell into a coma and was read the last rites by a priest.

AUG 5

Condition no longer deemed life-threatening.

AUG 8

Moved to a hospital in Ludwigshafen, which had a specialist burns unit.

SEPT 12

Finished fourth in Monza, Italy, after missing the Austria and Netherlands races.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 22, 2019, with the headline 'Burnt, battered, he battled back'. Print Edition | Subscribe