Sunday 12th September 1976
Just five weeks after a priest was summoned to his bedside to read him the last rites following his horrific accident at the Nurburgring, a heroic Niki Lauda was back in his cockpit to participate in the Italian Grand Prix despite horrific burns. The plan had been to wait another month, but James Hunt’s success meant Lauda needed to get back to protect his championship lead. Even Ferrari was caught out by his bravery and had to run an extra car for Carlos Reutemann who they had hired to drive in Lauda’s seat, but Enzo Ferrari insisted Lauda’s well being was the “sole responsibility of Niki and his doctors”. Incredibly, Lauda finished fourth and Reutemann ninth as Ronnie Peterson won the race from Clay Regazzoni and Jacques Laffite.