Britain's James Hunt has won pole position for Sunday's (11 September) Italian Grand Prix in Monza.
Britain's James Hunt has won pole position for Sunday's (11 September) Italian Grand Prix in Monza. In the final practice session on Saturday (10 September) Hunt drove his McLaren around the Monza circuit in one minute, thirty-eight and eight one hundredths of a second to set a new unofficial lap record of 132.777 mph (212.887 kph). Meanwhile Austria's Niki Lauda, who had the fifth fastest time, is aiming to secure his second world drivers' title with a win.
SYNOPSIS: Practice began on Friday (9 September). Lauda already has a lead of 21 points over his nearest rival, South African Jody Scheckter, for the world drivers' championship. A win on sunday would make the title his.
Most keenly aware of the situation is the current champion James Hunt, who lies fifth on the championship table. Both he and the American, Mario Andretti, in fourth place, lost their chances of catching Lauda when they were forced to retire in the Dutch Grand Prix. Sweden's Ronnie Peterson, although completely out of the running, aims for his fifth win at Monza in four years. Only three more races remain after Monza before the season ends.
Taking some of the limelight away from James Hunt has been another Briton, John Watson, who's been making a strong showing in recent races. Driving a Brabham, Watson on Saturday (10 September) had the third fastest time in practice, completing the circuit in one minute, thirty nine point two one seconds. Monza would be a fitting win for Lauda, as it is Ferrari's home ground. Lauda and Ferrari, with fifteen grand prix victories to their credit, part company at the end of this season. The track also has another significance, as it was there last year that Lauda made a brave comeback to racing just six weeks after a crash almost cost him his life.
On Friday (9 September) 12 drivers broke the unofficial lap record and so conditions on the track for the race should be fast.
The drivers main problem will be the tricky chicane immediately after the start.