• October 2 down the years

Lauda's title marred by Ferrari spat

What happened on this day in Formula One history?
James Hunt celebrates his win a cigarette, a beer, and a Penthouse Pet, but it wasn't enough to prevent Niki Lauda taking his title © Sutton Images

Fourth at the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen was enough to secure Niki Lauda his second world championship in three years, with James Hunt, who was champion in between Lauda's triumphs, winning a wet race from Mario Andretti. While Hunt went all-out for victory, Lauda was content to stay off the pace and try for the one point he needed to clinch the title. Hunt built a 15-second lead until an oil leak two laps from the end allowed Andretti to cut that to three seconds by the finish, and had there been another lap he would almost certainly have passed him. Lauda's win was slightly tarnished the kind of Ferrari infighting that led to him leaving the team at the end of the year. The day before Enzo Ferrari had fired Lauda's mechanic over the phone and so he was not in the pits to join in the success.

The British Grand Prix held at Silverstone is widely regarded as the first of the modern era, conducted as it was under the new Formula One regulations. It also marked the official opening of the circuit. A strange collection of new cars and privateers in pre-war vehicles competed, and predictably many of the private entries soon fell by the wayside. The two Maseratis, which had been forced to start at the back of the 25-car field after missing qualifying, completed a 1-2 with Luigi Villoresi winning by 14 seconds from Alberto Ascari.

Alain Prost secured a crucial victory at the Spanish Grand Prix, his second win in eight days, to gain five-point lead over McLaren team-mate and rival Ayrton Senna, who managed fourth after problems with his fuel consumption computer. Post-race, March complained its driver Ivan Capelli had been blocked for 30 laps by the "adolescent driving tactics" of Riccardo Patrese in a Williams, but stewards dismissed the protest.

The start of the 1948 British Grand Prix © Getty Images
Jim Clark won the US Grand Prix in a Lotus with an engine borrowed from BRM rival Graham Hill after his had blown up during practice. Mechanics stayed up all night rebuilding Clark's car, but the BRMs of Hill and Jackie Stewart both expired before the half-way mark. On the same day two future British F1 drivers - Chris Irwin and Piers Courage - scored a 1-2 at the British Formula Three championship race at Brands Hatch.

Born on this day in West Virginia, Paul Goldsmith drove in three championship-ranking Indianapolis 500s, finishing fifth in 1959 and third in 1960. But by his own admission he preferred driving stock cars, but he loved racing anything, including airplanes, motorbikes and even horses.

Bologna-born Nanni Galli was primarily a saloon and sports-car racer who had a four-year foray into the world of F1 with a variety of teams. In 20 races he managed a best of ninth, with his biggest moment coming - and going - in a Ferrari at the 1972 French Grand Prix when he finished 13th.

Mike Nazaruk, a former US marine who was born on this day in Newark, New Jersey, drove in three Indianapolis 500s, making the podium with a second in 1951. He was killed while racing in 1955.

Italian privateer Giorgio Scarlatti was born on this day in Rome. He drove sports cars and in F1 for Masarati, and in 12 F1 starts his only point came with a fifth-place finish at Monza in 1957.