• Monaco Grand Prix

Lauda ends Ferrari's wait in Monaco

ESPNF1 Staff
May 11, 1975
Niki Lauda leads Ronnie Peterson in to Tabac early in the race © Sutton Images

Austrian Niki Lauda finally broke the Ferrari run of misfortune by winning the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo. It was Ferrari's first victory in Monaco in two decades and its first win since the German Grand Prix the year before.

Following overnight rain, and heavy morning showers blown in from the Mediterranean - which drenched thousands of spectators huddled under umbrellas - the road was still wet when the race began. A drying track affected speeds and meant officials invoked the two-hour rule, showing the chequered flag after 75 of the 78 scheduled laps. Lauda was a relieved man as Emerson Fittipaldi had cut his lead from 15 to three seconds over ten laps before the premature conclusion.

Lauda started from pole position, with Jean-Pierre Jarier's Shadow moving up to second place and Ronnie Peterson taking third in his Lotus ahead of the Shadow of Tom Pryce. Jarier crashed out on the opening lap, and Peterson and Pryce worked their way through the wreckage, but Pryce twice hit barriers to fall behind Jody Scheckter's Tyrrell and Fittipaldi.

As the track dried the leaders pitted for slick tyres, and as conditions improved the power of the Ferrari came to the fore and Lauda was able to slowly increase his lead before Fittipaldi's late charge.

"I knew that I had plenty in reserve and the car was going superbly well," Lauda said. "So I just slowed down and made sure I would finish."

James Hunt's day finished near the end when Jochen Mass skidded and Hunt, trying to avoid him, was left with nowhere to go and hit the barriers at Mirabeau. Observers noted that the Hesketh operation was showing signs of suffering financially. In 1974 he had arrived in a helicopter and lived in a hired yacht; a year later and he was living in a caravan parked by the harbour.

There was a sad footnote to the race. Graham Hill, who had been soldiering on in increasingly uncompetitive cars for several years, announced his retirement after failing to qualify in his Embassy.

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