The Greatest of Their Time: 1970s

13-09-2018 16:25
by Adam Newton
General
The Greatest of Their Time: 1970s

Welcome back to The Greatest of Their Time, the series in which you get to choose from three options to pick your Driver of the Decade. This week we’re looking at the 1970s, a thrilling but dangerous era of Formula One. Some of the greatest innovators and bravest drivers were at the forefront of the sport in this era.

Sir Jackie Stewart

One of racing’s all-time greats, Stewart won two championships during the 1970s, in 1971 and 1973. The Scotsman drove for Tyrrell between 1970 and 1973, winning 16 races. By the time of his retirement, Stewart had set the record for Grand Prix wins, with 27 overall. Sadly, his career finished on a tragic note. Set to retire after 1973, his last race was to be at Watkins Glen. It was also going to be his 100th Grand Prix, however he did not start the race after the tragic death of his team mate and protégé, Francois Cevert, in qualifying.

Niki Lauda

Lauda is also seen as one of the most talented drivers to have ever raced in Formula One, his skill and determination combining to create one of the best drivers we have ever seen. He won the world championship in 1975 and 1977, with another coming in 1984. Lauda is perhaps best known for his unbelievable recovery after suffering a horrific accident at the Nurburgring, returning to the cockpit just six weeks after almost dying in the crash.

Ronnie Peterson

Perhaps a surprising mention and a less-known driver is Ronnie Peterson. The Swede made his debut in 1970 and showed his speed in 1973, taking nine poles from 15 races and four wins. Only reliability prevented him from more success in the championship that year. Another strong season followed before a few years in the doldrums, reliability plaguing his career. In 1978 he finally had a championship winning car but was ordered to stick to his duty as second driver to Mario Andretti. He did so, and a move to McLaren was on the cards for 1979 before he was tragically killed after a first lap pile-up at the Italian Grand Prix, a circuit he had won at three times.

Honourable mentions: Mario Andretti, James Hunt, Emerson Fittipaldi

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Who is the 1970s Driver of the Decade?

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