Page 1 2 USER REVIEWS
TV Commentator: James Hunt proudly takes his first victory of the season here in Spain after a brilliant run.
[as they are standing at the podium James leans down to Niki]
James Hunt: It was only a matter of time.
[Niki walks off looking frustrated, James’ victory in Spain doesn’t last long after he is disqualified due to the back of his car being deemed too wide]
Spanish Official: It’s too wide. Disqualified.
James Hunt: What?!
Spanish Official: You’re disqualified.
James Hunt: How can we be disqualified?
[later that night, James watches as Mayer gives instructions to the mechanics to adjust the car]
Teddy Mayer: Just make it narrower, I don’t care how.
Alastair Caldwell: New rear suspension, new wishbones.
Teddy Mayer: I wanna make sure this thing is legal. No doubts.
Alastair Caldwell: Well then, we better move the old coolers back to the old position.
[James turns and walks off in frustration]
James Hunt: Fuck!
[the Grand Prix continues in Monaco]
TV Commentator: And with Hunt disqualified from his Spain win, his championship here is not going well. And now he’s pulled out here!
[James car starts smoking]
TV Commentator: And James Hunt is out!
[as James walks off the race track he’s stopped by a reporter]
Reporter: Can you tell us what happened?
James Hunt: Sure, magic. We’ve taken a great car, great piece of engineering and overnight turned it to a big huge stinking turd.
[James walks off]
[at the race in Belgium James’ engine blows up and he’s out of the race again; after getting out of his car James rushes in anger to Mayer and Caldwell]
James Hunt: What the hell have you done?! The car is fucking undriveable!
Teddy Mayer: James, look, if there’s a problem with the car, we’ll find it and fix it.
James Hunt: The car is a piece of shit!
Alastair Caldwell: We will sort it out!
James Hunt: They’re killing us out there!
[later Niki and James are being interviewed by reporters separately]
Reporter #1: But it has been a good race for you, huh, Niki?
Niki Lauda: Its proved to everyone that the quickest car happens to be a legal car.
Reporter #2: James, you’re fifty points behind Lauda in the championship. You’ve had another retirement today, what’s going wrong?
James Hunt: Well, it’s dirty politics and dirty tricks, that’s what’s going wrong.
[later we see Niki and James signing autographs for the crowds]
TV Commentator: So as we approach the half way games at this year’s Formula One season, Ferrari and Niki Lauda seem clearly on top, while James Hunt and McLaren are struggling.
[we see James and Niki both signing autographs as they walk side by side each other]
Niki Lauda: So, five races in. How’s it going so far?
James Hunt: Just fine. Just a little problem with an Austrian rat and his team of Italian cheats who have destroyed my car.
Niki Lauda: What are you talking about?
James Hunt: I’m talking about the race in Spain that I won.
Niki Lauda: Yeah, in a car which is not legal.
James Hunt: Five eighths of an inch too high, you know that doesn’t have the slightest effect on speed. But you complained and your team of lawyers leaned on the authorities and now we’ve had to rebuild the car which has become a monster.
Niki Lauda: At least it’s a legal monster.
James Hunt: So you’ve had to resort to cheating.
Niki Lauda: You’re driving an illegal car and you call me the cheat! That’s pathetic. Rules are rules.
James Hunt: Yes, and rats are rats.
[James signs his last autograph]
James Hunt: Thank you. Thank you.
[he starts walking off, Niki follows behind him]
Niki Lauda: Do you really think it upsets me, James? Calling me a rat because I look like one? I don’t mind it. Rats are ugly, sure, and nobody likes them, but they’re very intelligent and they have a strong survival instinct.
James Hunt: Wonderful.
[James turns and continues to walk off, Niki turns to Marlene]
Niki Lauda: [subtitled] Marlene, come. Leave this jerk alone.
[Niki gets into his car he says loudly to James]
Niki Lauda: No wonder she left him.
[James stops and looks at him for a moment before walking off]
[to Mayer and Caldwell as James enters McLaren’s pits]
James Hunt: Anyone seen Suzy? She was supposed to be here today.
[Caldwell grabs a newspaper]
Alastair Caldwell: We, uh…didn’t want to tell you before the race.
James Hunt: Tell me what?
[James takes the newspaper and sees the headline ‘Suzy Joins the Burton Show’ with a photo of James and Suzy shown as being split]
James Hunt: Jesus.
[James reads the article which confirms Suzy is having an affair with Richard Burton]
[James meets Suzy in a restaurant in New York, he notices she’s wearing a lavish diamond necklace]
James Hunt: Is that from him?
Suzy Miller: Yep.
[he notices the reporters outside looking in through the window for them]
James Hunt: So when did all this start?
Suzy Miller: That weekend I went skiing. Why have you come here, James?
James Hunt: I’ve come to get you back.
Suzy Miller: You don’t want me back. You never wanted to be married in the first place.
James Hunt: Yes, I did.
Suzy Miller: Oh, come on, James. You did it because you hoped it might change you, settle you down, help with the racing.
James Hunt: No. No, I didn’t.
Suzy Miller: And who knows, if it had been just the drinking, or the dope, or the infidelity, or the moods, it might even have worked. But when it’s all of them…
James Hunt: Yes, I know, I’m terrible.
Suzy Miller: No, you’re not terrible. You’re just who you are at this point in your life. God help anyone who wants more.
James Hunt: And Richard Burton, will he be able to give you more? You know he has quite a bad boy reputation himself.
Suzy Miller: What’s important is how it feels to me, and it feels like he adores me.
[as James leaves the restaurant he’s surrounded by the reporters]
James Hunt: Well, it’s all very amicable. My wife has found herself a new backer…I mean, lover, which makes her happy. And uh…Mr. Burton has found a way of feeling young again, which makes him happy. Let’s hope his pockets are deep, they’ll need to be. And I’ve found a way to be single and have an ex-wife without it costing me a penny. Which goes down as the biggest winning in my career.
[the reporters laugh]
James Hunt: I have a flight to catch.
[later, as James is on his flight home he has sex with the stewardess to drown his sorrows]
[at the Grand Prix in France on the Paul Ricard Circuit]
TV Commentator: We haven’t seen this sort of intensity from James Hunt all season long. Reports have been coming out of McLaren camp all week that their car is now fully legal and faster than ever.
[Hunt goes on to win the race; next is the British Grand Prix]
TV Commentator: Hunt has really closed the gap on Lauda as they head in to end the race. Niki Lauda is under real pressure from James Hunt as they go up the hill into the corner.
[as James’ and Niki’s car get round the corner]
TV Commentator: And Hunt is in front of Lauda!
[Hunt then goes on to win the race; after the celebrations James is interviewed by a reporter]
TV Reporter: James, at the moment you’ve got a terrific edge over the rest of the field, how have you achieved this advantage?
James Hunt: Big balls.
[James smiles into the camera]
[at the McLaren’s pits James and the others watch the FIA announcement on the small TV]
FIA Official: Following an inquiry into the disqualification of driver James Hunt from the Spanish Grand Prix, it has been decided to overturn this disqualification and to restore his victory, and reinstate his points.
[everyone in the McLaren’s camp celebrates and cheer; later in a press room James is being interviewed by reporters]
TV Reporter: James, a few weeks ago, you were out of the running for this season completely, now you’re right back in it. What’s changed?
James Hunt: Uh…well, it’s a combination of factors, not all of which I’m prepared to discuss here. But uh…justice being done re the disqualification in Spain helps, and having my car back at its best again.
[Niki is being interviewed at the same time by German reporters]
German Reporter: [subtitled] In theory it’s possible for James Hunt to catch you. Are you worried?
Niki Lauda: [subtitled] Not at all. For him to catch me, he would have to win a lot of races…and pigs would have to fly.
[Niki and the German reporter laugh]
Niki Lauda: [subtitled] Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a family matter to attend to.
[Niki turns and walks off]
[Niki and Marlene are sat waiting to get married at a registry office]
Niki Lauda: [subtitled] I should warn you, I’m not going to be any good at this. “Bringing flowers” and “holding hands”. I’ll probably forget your birthday. But if I’m going to do this with anyone, it might as well be you.
Marlene Lauda: [subtitled] My God, a poet!
[she chuckles, then later they get married in a small private ceremony and after the vows they kiss]
[at their honeymoon in Ibiza they have some fun swimming naked in the pool, later that night Marlene finds Niki staring out the balcony window in deep thought]
Marlene Lauda: [subtitled] What’s the matter?
Niki Lauda: [subtitled] Happiness is the enemy. It weakens you. Puts doubt in your mind. Suddenly you have something to lose.
Marlene Lauda: [subtitled] When you call happiness an enemy, then it’s too late. Then you’ve already lost.
[Niki looks at her and nods his head]
[at the German Grand Prix free practice session]
TV Commentator: Welcome to Nürburgring. This is a fourteen point two miles track, complete with a hundred and eighty-five corners and bends.
[we see one of the race having an accident, later we see him being carried away on a stretcher moaning in pain as his leg is badly broken, his bones sticking out, James an Niki watch as the ambulance takes the racer away; later as Niki is walking off he gets tracked down by a fan]
German Fan: [subtitled] Niki, an autograph?
Niki Lauda: Yeah.
[Niki signs in his book and hands it back to the fan and starts walking off]
German Fan: [subtitled] With the date, please.
Niki Lauda: [subtitled] The date? Why?
German Fan: [subtitled] You never know. Could be your last.
[Niki stops turns to look at the man in anger for a moment before walking away]
[on the day of the race, 1st August 1976]
TV Commentator: Welcome to the Nürburgring, the most dangerous circuit on this season’s calendar. In Formula One it is known as “the graveyard”. The weather conditions are far from ideal and latest reports indicate there is no relief in sight.
[later Niki holds a meeting with the other racers and the FIA Officials, he holds up his hand]
FIA Official: Gentlemen. Gentlemen, please be quite.
[the drivers in the room quite down]
FIA Official: Niki Lauda.
Niki Lauda: Thank you.
Niki Lauda: I called this meeting because as you all drivers know the Nürburgring is the most stupid, barbaric, outdated and dangerous track in the world. We’ve all seen the rain that has been falling today, now those of you with experience know the Ring needs perfect conditions to be even remotely acceptable in terms of risk. Now today with the rain is anything but perfect, so I called this meeting to take a vote to cancel the race.
[there’s a ripple of astonished reaction from the drivers in the room]
Niki Lauda: There would be no change to the situation as far as points is concerned. The race would simply be cancelled.
Teddy Mayer: This is bullshit.
[a drivers gets to his feet]
Driver #1: If the race is cancelled, none of us get our race fees.
Niki Lauda: That’s true. You leave without your fee, but you might leave with your life.
James Hunt: It also means that you would effectively win the championship. So I can see why this suits you just fine.
[Niki turns to face James, who’s still seated]
Niki Lauda: Why? There would be no points for me either.
James Hunt: No, but there would be one race less where I, or anyone else here, could catch you.
Driver #2: James is right, this is just tactics!
Driver #3: Maybe he’s just frightened.
Niki Lauda: Which asshole said this?
[he looks around the room but no one owns up]
Niki Lauda: Yes, of course I’m frightened. And so are you.
[there’s silence in the room]
Niki Lauda: I accept every time I get in my car there’s twenty percent chance I could die, and I can live with it. How about one per cent more? And today with the rain the risk is more.
James Hunt: I suppose that all depends on how good you are in the rain.
Niki Lauda: I have the track record here. I’m the only person in history to do the Nürburgring in under seven minutes. So actually, it’s to my advantage to race here today. Because I’m quicker than all of you.
[the other drivers laugh at his comment]
James Hunt: Fine. Then let’s race.
[there’s a ripple of chatter as the other drivers agree]
FIA Official: Gentlemen, please.
Driver #2: Why are we here, Niki? Come on.
[Niki looks at James and sits back down]
FIA Official: Well, all those in favor of cancelling the race?
[Niki and a handful of other drivers raise their hand]
FIA Official: All those in favor of racing?
[James along with the majority of the drivers raise their hand]
FIA Official: Gentlemen, the race is on.
[the other drivers clap as they stand and start to leave the room, James walks over to Niki who is still sat looking annoyed]
James Hunt: You know, Niki, every now and then it helps if people like you.
[Niki chuckles as James walks off]
[German Grand Prix, Nürburgring, August 1976, as they are sat in their cars waiting for the race to begin Niki looks over to James who’s looking up at the clouds, Caldwell comes up to James]
Alastair Caldwell: Jochen’s going on slicks. Do you wanna change?
James Hunt: Is Niki gonna change?
Alastair Caldwell: No.
James Hunt: Then we stay on wets too.
[the cars all line up and get their engines started]
TV Commentator: This season’s fight for the Formula One championship has so far been the story of two men. Thus far it’s been going pretty much the way of Niki Lauda. James Hunt has qualified fastest here, he’s on pole position at the German Grand Prix with Niki Lauda on side in the blood red Ferrari. It’s a long race, of the tracks starts to dry out, the wet weather tires could…
[the start flag is waved and the cars are off]
TV Commentator: Niki Lauda and James Hunt are side by side on the front row as the race gets underway, absolutely as one.
[as the race gets underway Lauda forces one of the McLaren’s car off the track]
TV Commentator: Lauda, gets very aggressive up there forcing the McLaren onto the grass. Lauda has the lead at the moment! Lauda leads into the first corner, Hunt is in second place.
[suddenly another McLaren car goes past James]
TV Commentator: That’s Jochen Mass going past Hunt! He made the right choice to go with the dry weather tires. Mass passing Lauda now! Jochen Mass in the number four McLaren takes the lead! Jochen Mass is the clear leader with everybody else slipping to change tires after just one lap.
[James goes into the pit to get his tires changed, Caldwell comes up to him]
Alastair Caldwell: See? I told you to go on slicks! You didn’t take my advice!
James Hunt: Fuck off! Where’s Niki?
Alastair Caldwell: Behind you! He made the same mistake.
[James looks in his mirror and sees Niki’s car pull up and his crew frantically start changing his tires]
TV Commentator: The tire changing frenzy has caused a huge reshuffling of a panic.
[as James’ tires are changed he’s given the all clear and he roars off]
TV Commentator: Lauda urging his mechanics to hurry.
[after the tires are finally changed on Niki’s car he sets off to catch up with James]
TV Commentator: This race has gone wrong for him so far, his championship rival, James Hunt is a long way up the road. Lauda passing car after car, he’s just going past Mario Andretti’s Lotus there.
[as Niki is frantically trying to catch up with James, suddenly during the third lap, a suspension arm in his car breaks which causes him to swerve off the track and crash into a wall and the car becomes engulfed in flames, then two other cars hit him, some of the drivers come over and try to pull Niki out but the flames from the fire make it impossible, Niki is finally pulled out and taken to the hospital and Marlene hears of this news over the radio]
[as Niki lies in the ICU he hears the voices of the doctors]
Niki’s German Doctor: [subtitled] It’s not the burns to his face that are the danger. It’s the burns to his lungs.
[news reporters are gathered outside the hospital reporting on Niki’s condition]
German Reporter: [subtitled] In the intensive care unit, six doctors and thirty-four nurses are on duty for him. But his condition is far worse than originally feared.
[in the hospital as Niki falls in and out of consciousness he hears the doctors discussing his condition and sees Marlene standing by his bedside looking devastated]
[James is sat in the McLaren workshop writing a letter when he hears more news on the TV being reported on Niki’s condition]
News Reporter: In Formula One today victory celebrations were muted after a horrific accident involving world champion Niki Lauda. Due to safety concerns before the race, the Austrian had said he would not take part, but in the end he did. He was making up for lost time when he went off the track, puncturing the Ferrari. Brett Lunger was unable to avoid the flaming wreck, who was unhurt and joined the other drivers to rescue Lauda, who was taken to Mannheim Hospital with severe burns. The incident reminds us again of the dangers of Formula One. Niki Lauda was trapped for almost a minute in the searing inferno of eight hundred plus degrees.
[at the hospital as Marlene waits Niki’s doctor comes out and calls out to her]
Niki’s German Doctor: [subtitled] He’s awake and just spoke. He said, “Tell the hospital priest to fuck off! I’m still alive!” You can go in.
[Marlene rushes into Niki’s room and looks distressed when she sees the burns to the side of his face and head, she goes over and sits beside him on his bed and touches his hand; 14 days later as Niki is recovering in hospital he watches the races on TV, grimacing in pain as he gets his bandages changed]
TV Commentator: [subtitled] James Hunt gains on the absent Niki Lauda.
[on the 28th day in hospital, 29th August 1976]
German Doctor: [subtitled] We need to vacuum the lungs. I should warn you, it won’t be easy.
[as Niki has his lungs painfully vacuumed he continues to have the TV on showing the race and he hears James earning more points, as the doctor stops vacuuming Niki’s lungs, Niki grabs the doctor’s hand]
Niki Lauda: [subtitled] Do it again.
German Doctor: [subtitled] Are you sure? The lungs will already be bruised.
[Niki watches James standing at the podium after winning a race, this spurs him on and opens his mouth to indicate for the doctor to continue vacuuming his lungs]
[after a few more weeks at the hospital Niki now on his feet, tries to put his helmet back on, but the burns on his face make it painful, Marlene hears his moans of pain and enters the room]
Marlene Lauda: [subtitled] Niki, stop. Please, stop.
Niki Lauda: [subtitled] I know what you’re thinking, but please. If you love me, you won’t’ say a word.
[she looks at him then nods, Niki continues trying to put on the helmet again and even though clearly in pain he finally manages to get the helmet on]
[Italian Grand Prix, Free Practice, September 1976; James and his team are in the pits when they hear a commotion]
James Hunt: What’s going on?
Alastair Caldwell: Jesus, it’s Niki.
James Hunt: What about him?
Alastair Caldwell: He’s here.
James Hunt: What?
Alastair Caldwell: He’s racing.
[James pushes through the crowd of reporters and photographers, he smiles as he sees Niki in the Ferrari pits]
James Hunt: Niki?
[as Niki turns to face James, his smiles fades as he sees the extent of Niki’s facial and head wounds]
Niki Lauda: It’s that bad, huh?
James Hunt: No.
Niki Lauda: In hospital I asked them straight, no bullshit, how bad my appearance would be. They said with time it would be fine, but it won’t. I can tell, seeing your reaction. I will spend the rest of my life with a face that frightens people.
[Niki walks towards James]
James Hunt: You know, Niki, I…tried to write you a letter at the time to apologize. The drivers meeting in Germany before the race, I swayed the room.
Niki Lauda: Yes, you did.
James Hunt: That race would never have gone ahead.
Niki Lauda: No, it shouldn’t.
James Hunt: So in many ways I feel responsible for what happened and…
Niki Lauda: You were. But trust me, watching you win those races while I was fighting for my life, you were equally responsible for getting me back in the car.
[they stare at each other for a moment before Niki turns and walks away]
[before the race begins Niki is at a press conference sat at a table at the top]
Italian Journalist: How are you feeling, Niki?
Niki Lauda: Fine.
American Journalist: Niki, can you confirm to us exactly which procedures you had and the expectations for your recovery.
Niki Lauda: Good. I had a skin graft operation where they put half my right thigh on my face. Now it doesn’t look too good, but one unexpected advantage is it’s impossible to perspire with skin grafts, so sweat will never run into my eyes again, which is good for a driver.
[the audience of journalists laugh]
Spanish Journalist: When they heard about your condition, Ferrari immediately hired a replacement driver Carlos Reutemann.
Niki Lauda: Yep, before even reaching the hospital.
German Journalist: Uh…is Reutemann driving today too?
Niki Lauda: Yes, he’s keen to make an impression. Let’s see where Mr. Reutemann finishes and where I finish today.
[the journalists laugh again]
American Journalist: James Hunt of McLaren have caught up a lot while you were away.
Niki Lauda: Yes. Is there a question now or are you just trying to piss me off?
[the journalists laugh, we see James is stood outside the room watching, he smiles too]
French Journalist: You still think you can win?
Niki Lauda: Yes, of course. I have a better car, and possibly I’m the better driver. But he’s a clever guy and he’s used his time well while I was lying half dead in hospital to win some points.
[the journalists laugh]
British Journalist: And what did your wife say when she saw your face?
[Niki pauses for a moment before replying]
Niki Lauda: She said uh…sweetie, you don’t need a face to drive, you just need the right foot.
[the journalists laugh]
British Journalist: I’m being serious. Do you really think your marriage can survive with the way you look now?
Niki Lauda: And I’m being serious too. Fuck you. Press conference over.
[Niki walks off in anger]
[after the press conference with Niki is over, as the journalists are walking off James calls out to the British journalist that had questioned Niki about his face]
British Journalist: James, are you alright?
James Hunt: Yeah, yeah. Listen, I think I’ve got something for you on that last question about Niki.
British Journalist: Oh, you heard about it?
James Hunt: Yeah.
[James takes the journalist to a quiet corner and suddenly pushes him into a room]
British Journalist: James!
[James punches him in the stomach and then closes the door, then he starts punching the journalist repeatedly in the face, he throws him on the ground and shoves his recorder into his mouth]
James Hunt: Now, go home to your wife and ask her how you look!
[he punches him in the face again]
James Hunt: Prick!
[James leaves the room and closes the door behind him]
[at the Italian Grand Prix as the drivers getting ready to set off]
TV Commentator: So, Niki Lauda, just forty-two days after his near fatal accident at Nürburgring, will race here today at Monza, against all medical advice, and no doubt in incredible pain.
[everyone watches as Niki, wearing his helmet, walks up to his car and gets inside it]
Ferrari Mechanic: Niki, it’s time.
Niki Lauda: Okay.
[Niki watches as Marlene stands at the sidelines to watch, then the race begins and all the cars are off, both the Italian and British commentators report on the event]
Italian TV Commentator: [subtitled] That’s a bad start for Lauda, he’s slow away.
TV Commentator: The returning Niki Lauda seems overwhelmed and is being overtaken by car after car.
Italian TV Commentator: [subtitled] A terrible start for the Austrian. It’s perhaps too soon for him to be racing again.
TV Commentator: Lauda’s off line! He rams wide onto the grass! He bristles it back onto the track, but that was a bad moment for Niki. Niki Lauda is the reigning world champion, but maybe in his current state he’s a danger out there, to himself and to the rest of the peers.
[suddenly the car ahead of Niki collides with the car in front it]
TV Commentator: And Stuck has collided with Mario Andretti’s Lotus! Niki’s boxed in!
[Niki manages to bypass the accident and carries on driving, gaining speed on the drivers ahead of him]
TV Commentator: Niki Lauda is actually making a move, he’s up Brett Lunger’s tail. He pulls out of his position to overtake. Lauda’s starting to find the form that earlier in this race we believed he’d lost. Lauda is still not faster than Reutemann and closing the gap ahead. Lauda closing on Carlos Reutemann, the man called in to be his replacement in the Ferrari team.
[as Niki overtakes Reutemann, James is shown standing by his car by the side of the track]
TV Commentator: And there’s James Hunt’s McLaren, smoking stationary by the side of the road. This is bad news for Hunt’s championship points.
[James watches Niki’s car speeding off past him]
TV Commentator: It’s Ronnie Peterson who comes home the winner here in Monza. But all eyes are on the man who finishes a brilliant fourth, Niki Lauda!
[the crowd cheers and as Niki’s car pulls into the pits the crowd rush down from their seats towards Niki and his car]
TV Commentator: What a race, what a man, what a season. With a fourth place finish and three priceless points, it means that Niki Lauda is a major step closer to obtaining the world championship.
[as Niki is being carried on the shoulders of the ecstatic crowd, he looks over to Marlene who blows him a kiss and smiles at him with joy, meanwhile James looks on at Niki from behind the crowd]
[Japanese Grand Prix, Final Race of 1976; Niki and James wake to find it’s raining heavily]
TV Commentator: So the long, grueling and incredibly dramatic season comes down to this final race in Japan in the shadow of Mount Fuji. Niki Lauda goes into this deciding race in Fuji just three points ahead of James Hunt, Hunt knowing he must beat the Austrian fair and square to take the title.
[at a press conference, James, Niki and the other drivers are sat at long table]
Journalist: James, do you think you can cope with the pressure?
James Hunt: Well, I’ve never really understood what that means. I love my job, I love competing, I love racing. Maybe you should ask Niki, he’s the world champion, he’s got everything to lose.
Japanese Journalist: Mr. Lauda, are you feeling pressure?
Niki Lauda: Do I look like I’m feeling pressure?
[there’s a murmur of laughter]
Niki Lauda: I’m world champion and on the verge to become world champion again. Hunt has now opportunity to win, but it’s not so easy to become a champion. You have to really believe it to make it possible.
Journalist: James, is there anything you’d like to add?
James Hunt: If Niki is being tricky and getting a kicky out of playing mind games, then fine, I’m flattered. The fact is momentum is with me, I’ve never felt better. And I fully expect the next press conference we’ll have to be with me as world champion.
Radio Commentator: Intermittent heavy rain has been forecast here at Fuji today, along with strong winds and occasional fog rolling in from Maui.
TV Commentator: This is over today as the Japanese Grand Prix is to come, Lauda’s lead a mere three points. What a way to finish the season. Hunt or Lauda? Well, the final chapter will unfold while we bring you extended coverage of this…
[James and Niki are both looking at the heavy rain and wind, James turns to Mayer]
James Hunt: Why can’t they cancel the race? It’s lethal out there.
Teddy Mayer: The race is going ahead. The television rights have been sold all around the world. The showdown between you and Niki is all anyone wants to see.
TV Commentator: With heavy rain continuing to fall here at Fuji, a decision has finally been made.
TV Commentator: The 1976 Japanese Grand Prix will go ahead.
Race Announcer: All drivers to your cars, please.
[in the Ferrari pits, Niki looks nervous, he turns to look at Marlene for a moment before putting on his balaclava; in the McLaren pits James is violently sick from being so nervous]
[as it continues to rain heavily, the drivers get in their cars, Caldwell goes over to James]
Alastair Caldwell: Alright?
James Hunt: Fine.
Alastair Caldwell: Hold still.
[Caldwell paces a drill on James’ helmet visor]
James Hunt: What the hell are you doing?
Alastair Caldwell: To let the condensation out.
James Hunt: It’ll also let the water in.
Alastair Caldwell: Not if you’re leading. Trust me, this race is all about the start.
James Hunt: Need a hand here?
Alastair Caldwell: Yeah, hold it, Teddy.
[Caldwell starts drilling a holes into the visor]
Alastair Caldwell: Okay, start the bastard.
[James starts his engine]
Alastair Caldwell: Good luck, kid.
[he shakes James’ hand]
Teddy Mayer: Good luck, kid.
[as Niki starts his engine he looks over to and at the same time James turns to look at Niki, they stare at each other in acknowledgment, Niki raises his hand as a friendly gesture and James raises his in return, Niki then gives a final nod which James also does]
TV Commentator: The electric tension here at Fuji with eighty thousand race fans in the racing grudge match of the decade. There’s Mario Andretti in pole position, James Hunt alongside him. On row two of the grid there is Niki Lauda, and on row three of the grid Jody Scheckter from South Africa in the six wheeled Tyrrell. Behind him are the rest of the twenty-five drivers.
TV Commentator: There’s the flag! The Japanese Grand Prix is under way.
[the cars start to move, all of them finding it difficult to speed in the torrential rain]
TV Commentator: In these conditions it must be almost impossible to drive a four hundred fifty horse powered car. And it’s Andretti who has the lead, but Hunt is attacking! Hunt’s going round the outside of Andretti. Niki Lauda following it through! Hunt leads into the first round!
[as Hunt speeds on ahead Niki follows close behind him]
TV Commentator: Hunt comes through to complete the first lap leading the field, at least he has clear vision in front of him. Niki Lauda behind him eating his spray.
[as the race goes on, Niki starts to slow down as he begins to think of Marlene]
TV Commentator: Lauda is slowing! Niki Lauda is bringing the Ferrari number one into the pit. Some sort of problem, we can’t imagine what so early in the race.
[Niki stops the car in the pit and just sits lost in thought]
Lauda’s Mechanic: What’s wrong with the car? What’s wrong with the car?!
[Niki doesn’t reply but seems to be lost in thought, he turns off his engine]
Lauda’s Mechanic: Niki, what’s wrong with the car?
Niki Lauda: Nothing. Car’s perfect.
[Niki hands the steering wheel to his mechanic and starts to take his seat belt off]
Lauda’s Mechanic: What are you doing?
Niki Lauda: I’m stopping.
[Niki starts getting out of the car]
TV Commentator: The mechanics are asking what the problem is. But wait, Niki Lauda is getting out of the car! This is sensational! The reigning world champion, Niki Lauda is out of this race!
[Niki turns to his mechanic]
Niki Lauda: It’s too dangerous!
Lauda’s Mechanic: Niki, do you want me to say there’s a problem with the car for the media?
Niki Lauda: No, tell them the truth.
[the media looks on as Niki talks to his mechanic]
TV Commentator: Now, what is happening? They’re talking to the team manager, Lauda explaining something.
[after Niki finishes talking to his mechanic he turns and walks towards Marlene, he smiles at her and then he walks off with Marlene following him]
TV Commentator: With Lauda out, James Hunt knows he has to finish this race in third place or higher to be world champion. But the job’s not done yet for James Hunt, in these dreadful conditions he still has to go the distance.
[Niki and Marlene sit in their campervan listening to the radio commentary of the race]
Radio Commentator: With fifteen laps to go here in Fuji, James Hunt or Niki Lauda in this extraordinary season, is not over yet. In this treacherous final round, can James Hunt hang on?
[lap 58, Hunt continues to lead]
Alastair Caldwell: Oh, God. His tires are blistering.
[at the same time Suzy is watching the race on the TV at home, Bubbles and Hesketh are also watching the race on TV]
TV Commentator: Brambilla’s very close to Hunt now, closing on him all the time now. And he’s trying to drive inside James Hunt. Hunt cuts across him, Hunt’s not having that at all. He’s spinning, Brambilla almost took James out of the race and out of the world championship. Now, we find Mario Andretti closing on James Hunt. Mario Andretti is going past Hunt! Hunt is slowing! James Hunt seems to have a problem.
[as his car starts to slow down, James looks at his wheels and notices the rubber on the tires are wearing out]
TV Commentator: Despite these wet conditions, these wet weather tires do wear extremely fast.
[in the Ferrari pit, Niki comes over to join the mechanics as they follow the race on the TV]
Lauda’s Mechanic: Front tires, they’re gone!
TV Commentator: Hunt has to take his car back to the pit stop.
[lap 70, 4 laps to go; James pulls into the pit]
TV Commentator: Look at that left front tire. Right front tire, sorry! Nothing remaining on it and the other one is cracked.
[Caldwell calls out to the mechanics]
Alastair Caldwell: Let’s go, let’s go!
[the mechanics get to work frantically to change the tires, Caldwell goes over to James]
Alastair Caldwell: Okay? When did you break your gear lever?
James Hunt: Nine or ten laps ago.
Mechanic: We need to lift it! We need to lift it!
James Hunt: Come on!
TV Commentator: Regazzoni’s Ferrari and Jacques Laffite in the Ligier have gone ahead!
[to the mechanics]
James Hunt: Come on, hurry!
[as they watch James’ car getting his tires replaced and getting overtaken by the other drivers]
Lauda’s Mechanic: Hey, Niki, you’re going to be world champion!
Niki Lauda: Not yet.
TV Commentator: A few lapse ago, James Hunt was looking like the champion of the race, now it looks as though it’s all gone wrong for him.
Alastair Caldwell: James!
James Hunt: Come on!
Alastair Caldwell: Listen!
James Hunt: What?
Alastair Caldwell: Just go easy out there.
James Hunt: What are you saying?
Alastair Caldwell: I’m saying, look after yourself. We want you back in one piece. You’re too far back, there’s too many drivers in front of you. There’s always next year.
James Hunt: Oh, so that’s it?! It’s over?
[James revs his engine]
James Hunt: Fuck it!
[he puts down his visor and speeds off]
TV Commentator: James Hunt rejoins the race in sixth position. There are four laps remaining to go, surely no way back for the Brit now.
[as James goes at full speed he starts thinking about his encounters with Niki and Niki’s wins, Hesketh and Bubbles continue to watch the race on TV]
Lord Hesketh: Concentrate, Superstar.
[lap 71, 3 laps to go]
TV Commentator: Just brings it back under control.
American Commentator: Hunt’s M23 twitching this way and that under breaking, he almost loses it right there.
TV Commentator: Hunt’s on the tail of Jacques Laffite in the blue Ligier. He’s inches away from the pit board, he’s inches away from the Ligier!
[James manages to go past Laffite and speeds on ahead]
TV Commentator: James Hunt may have gone up a place, but it’s not enough and this race is running out.
[lap 72, 2 laps to go]
TV Commentator: And Watson has spun! Watson has spun! Hunt manages to weave his way between that bank marker and the stationary Penske. He’s catching Regazzoni, but in these conditions it’s one thing to catch up, it’s quite another to overtake.
[James gets close to Regazzoni and decides to overtake]
TV Commentator: He’s alongside Clay Regazzoni, this could be the world championship!
[James manages to overtake Regazzoni]
TV Commentator: He’s got him!
Japanese Commentator: [subtitled] The scoreboard still shows Hunt in 5th place.
TV Commentator: Hunt crosses the line! Now he needed to finish third to score enough points to be world champion, but in the confusion here we’re being told that he may have finished fifth.
[in the Ferrari pit]
Lauda’s Mechanic: He finished fifth?
Mechanic: No, faster.
TV Commentator: Our lap charts show Hunt in third place, but if the scoreboards right, it means he’s just missed out on the championship. A crushing defeat for Hunt after such a heroic drive. I can see the race officials conferring, examining the official lap charts. We’re just going to have to wait for their verdict here.
[as the officials are examining the lap chars, James pulls into the pit and takes off his helmet]
Teddy Mayer: Let’s get you out of there, buddy.
James Hunt: I’m sorry, Teddy. I’m sorry. I thought I could make it…
Teddy Mayer: Sorry? What are you talking about? You did it!
James Hunt: Did what?
Teddy Mayer: You crazy bastard! You came third, you got the points!
[James looks at the scoreboard]
Teddy Mayer: You’re champion of the world!
TV Commentator: James Hunt is now officially confirmed as finishing third here in Japan, that means he is champion of the world.
[James gets out of the car and Caldwell embraces him]
TV Commentator: Our new world champion, James Hunt by just one single point.
[Niki watches James celebrating from the Ferrari pits and smiles to himself; as James is celebrating reporters surround him]
Reporter: Tell us, James, what are you going to do next?
James Hunt: I shall be getting drunk.
[as James continues to celebrate his victory with his team, Niki and Marlene are seated in their helicopter, Niki watches the celebrations with a look of envy]
Marlene Lauda: [subtitled] Are you okay?
Niki Lauda: [subtitled] Fine. No regrets.
[he looks at her]
Niki Lauda: [subtitled] Not one.
[Marlene smiles and they both look at the celebrations as the helicopters lifts off to leave]
[following his victory, James continues his playboy lifestyle, we see him being interviewed and endorsing products; then while in Bologna, Italy, as he about to board an airplane he finds Niki on the runway checking his plane; to the group of women that he’s traveling with]
James Hunt: You lot go on ahead, I won’t be a minute.
[he goes over to Niki]
James Hunt: Niki. Good to see you.
[he shakes Niki’s hand, Niki then continues checking his plane]
James Hunt: I heard you were spending more and more time in one of these.
Niki Lauda: Do you fly?
James Hunt: No. I don’t think they’d insure me.
[referring to flying]
Niki Lauda: You should try, it’s good for discipline. You have to stay within the rules, stick to regulations, suppress the ego. It helps with the racing.
James Hunt: There I was thinking you’re about to wax lyrical about the romance of flight.
Niki Lauda: No, it’s all bullshit. So what brings you here?
James Hunt: A friend’s wedding. Well, at least I think it was a wedding, might have been a Birthday or something, it’s all a bit of a blur. How about you? Have you been to Fiorano?
Niki Lauda: Season testing.
James Hunt: You’re relentless.
Niki Lauda: Thank you.
James Hunt: I’m not sure that was meant as a compliment.
Niki Lauda: When do you start testing? Next week?
James Hunt: No. What are you, nuts? I didn’t just win the biggest thing in my life so I could get right back to work.
Niki Lauda: Why? You have to, to prove to all the people who will always say you just won it because…
James Hunt: Because of what? Because of your accident? Jeez, Niki, is that other people or is that you? I won, okay? On the all important day, when it came down to it, we raced on equal terms, equally good cars. And I put my life on the line and I saw it through.
Niki Lauda: And you call that winning?
James Hunt: Yes!
Niki Lauda: The risks were totally unacceptable. You were prepared to die. To me that’s losing.
James Hunt: Yes, I was. I admit it, I was prepared to die to beat you that day. And that’s the effect you have on me.
[Niki smiles and shakes his head]
James Hunt: You pushed me that far and it felt great. Oh, hell, isn’t that what we’re in this for? To stare death in the face and to cheat it? I mean, come on, there’s nobility in that, that’s like being nice.
Niki Lauda: You English, you’re such assholes. You know my position. Twenty percent risk.
James Hunt: No, no, no, no, Niki. Don’t bring the percentages into this, don’t be a pro. The minute you do that you kill what’s good about this, you kill the sport.
[they stare at each other for a moment before they’re interrupted by one of James’ friends calling out to him]
Hunt’s Female Friend: James? James?
James Hunt: I’ve got to go.
[he turns to leave; referring to Niki’s plane]
James Hunt: Be careful in this thing.
[as James is walking off to join his friends]
Niki Lauda: James.
[James stops and turns to face Niki]
Niki Lauda: You know in hospital the toughest part of my treatment was the vacuum, pumping the shit out of my lungs. It was hell. And when I was doing it I was watching television, you winning all my points.
James Hunt: Your points?
Niki Lauda: That bastard hand, I would say. I hated that. And then one day the doctor came and said, “Mr. Lauda, may I offer a piece of advice? Stop thinking of it as a curse to have been given an enemy in life, it can be blessing too. A wise man gets more from his enemies than a fool from his friends.” And you know what? He was right. Now look at us. We were both a pair of kids when we met. Hot headed jerks in Formula Three. Disowned by our families, headed nowhere. And now we’re both champions of the world. It’s not bad, huh?
James Hunt: No, it’s not bad.
Niki Lauda: So don’t let me down. I need you busting me my balls, get back to work.
James Hunt: I will, Niki. I will. But I intend to enjoy myself first. So much life needs to be for pleasure. What’s the point of having a million cups and medals and planes if you don’t have any fun? Now how is that winning?
[James’ friends call out to him]
Hunt’s Female Friend: We’re gonna leave without you! James!
[James waves to her and turns back to Niki]
James Hunt: I’ll see you on race day, champ.
Niki Lauda: You will…champ.
[as he starts to walk off he turns to Niki for a moment]
James Hunt: You look good, Niki. You’re the only guy to have your face burnt off and it being an improvement.
[Niki gives him the finger and smiles, James smiles back and turns to walk towards the plane his friends have boarded]
[last lines; as Niki watches James going to board the plane with his friends, we see archive footage of the real James Hunt and Niki Lauda during their races together and as they got older]
Niki Lauda: [voice over] Of course he didn’t listen to me. For James, one world title was enough. He had proved what he needed to prove. To himself and anyone who doubted him. And two years later, he retired. When I saw him next in London, seven years later, me as a champion again, him as broadcaster, he was barefoot on a bicycle with a flat tire, still living each day like his last. When I heard he died age 45 of a heart attack, I wasn’t surprised. I was just sad. People always think of us as rivals but he was among the very few I liked and even fewer that I respected. He remains the only person I envied.
Total Quotes: 116
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