Austrian driver Niki Lauda raced through rain and sun to a convincing victory in the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix in Monte Carlo on Sunday (11 May).
SV Crowd in pits with covered car
SV Car tyres being checked - John Player car
SV Drivers in cars -- preparing for start (2 shots)
SV David Niven watching start
GV PAN Start of race
GV Lauda (No. 12) followed by two cars round bend
GV Three lead cars round bend - Lauda first
GV Cars passing Jarier's car on side after crash (2 shots)
GV Lauda round bend, followed by Reuteman (7) and Petersen
CU Crowd looks through fence as Scheckter and Fittipaldi pass through bend (2 shots)
GV Line of cars trail down hill into straight
GV PAN Lauda along straight on final lap
GV PAN No. 1 (Fittipaldi) around track on final lap followed by other cars
GV PAN Lauda crosses finish line followed by Fittipaldi
GV Other cars cross finish line
SV Lauda receives winner's laurel and cup (3 shots)
Initials CL/2329 CL/2348
SPORT: MOTOR RACING
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Austrian driver Niki Lauda raced through rain and sun to a convincing victory in the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix in Monte Carlo on Sunday (11 May).
Brazilian world champion Emerson Fittipaldi took second place, thus increasing his lead in the World Drivers' Championship.
It was Lauda's third Grand Prix win in four years of Formula One racing and the first victory for the Italian Ferrari team this season.
The race started in rain, but the track soon dried out.
The rain at the start slowed the cars in the early stages and Lauda had completed only 75 of the planned 78 laps of the circuit when the race was stopped after the maximum two hours' racing allowed by international rules.
SYNOPSIS: Rain marred the start of this year's Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday, causing cars -- and people -- to cover up before the start.
The field of eighteen drivers didn't include veteran Graham Hill, who sadly failed to qualify by a fraction of a second.
But British actor David Niven was there. It was still raining when the race started, but a hot sun dried out the track after twenty laps and Niki Lauda's crew was quick to change his tyres.
Behind Lauda, drivers had more problems. Despite the new staggered start, the cars were closely bunched as they swung into the slippery hairpin and several skidded, smashing into others. For much of the time, Austria's Lauda was shadowed by Sweden's Ronnie Petersen and Britain's Tom Pryce.
Frenchman Jean-Pierre Jarier was the first of nine to retire, after he crashed on a bend.
Lauda raced into the lead from the pole position and was passed only when he made a pit stop on the 24th lap to change tyres.
After the tyre change, Lauda regained the lead and settled down twenty-five seconds clear of Emerson Fittipaldi and Carlos Pace. And that's the way it finished.
As Fittipaldi tried desperately to catch Lauda, he and Pace led a field that had been reduced by half. Nine drivers had dropped out through accidents or mechanical trouble.
Lauda's lead was too great and he crossed the line ten seconds ahead of Fittipaldi. It was Lauda's third Grand Prix win in four years of Formula One racing and the Ferrari team's first this season. Though Lauda took the laurels, Fittipaldi remains on top of the World Drivers Championships.