• October 4 down the years

The posthumous champion

What happened on this day in Formula One history?
Emerson Fittipaldi celebrates victory at the 1970 US Grand Prix © Sutton Images

Emerson Fittipaldi's win at the US Grand Prix ensured that Jochen Rindt, who had been killed at Monza the previous month, could not be overtaken in the drivers' championship and so because the sport's one and only posthumous champion. Jackie Stewart had led for 83 of the 108 laps before he retired with an oil leak.

Graham Hill's second of three successive win in the US Grand Prix came on this day in front of a crowd of more than 100,000 at Watkins Glen. Jim Clark led for almost half the distance before his gearbox gave out - he took over the car of team-mate Mike Spence to complete the race but that rendered him ineligible for points - and from then on Hill led, eventually finishing half-a-minute ahead of John Surtees.

Former world champion Denny Hulme died at the age of 53 from a massive heart attack while taking part in the Bathurst 1000 in Australia. He was heard to complain to his pit that he had blurred vision which was put down to heavy rain, but he suffered the heart attack while doing 180mph and his BMW hit a wall, and although he managed to bring it under control and stop it, he was dead by the time marshals reached the car.

Sebastian Vettel took a dominant victory in the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, keeping his title hopes alive after leaders Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button finished well down the order in seventh and eighth. Vettel never looked under threat, keeping a comfortable gap between his Red Bull and the Toyota of Jarno Trulli, who fended off McLaren's Lewis Hamilton for second.

President de Gaulle risked the ire of the French racing community with the announcement plans to build a new national F1 car had been shelved as part of measures to stabilise the economy. The plan had only been unveiled a few months earlier.