Lauda, following his near fatal crash at the German Grand Prix, announcing he would start at the Italian GP, Sept. 12, 1976.
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Legendary Formula One driver Niki Lauda has died at the age of 70, his family said Tuesday, triggering an outpouring of praise for a man whose track victories and comeback from a horrific crash enthralled race fans worldwide.Lauda won the Formula One drivers' world championship three times, in 1975 and 1977 for Ferrari and in 1984 with McLaren, despite a terrible race crash in 1976 .Lauda had been nonexecutive chairman at Mercedes F1 since 2012 and he was instrumental in bringing in British driver Lewis Hamilton to spark a run of success that has brought five consecutive world drivers' and constructors' championships.Lauda was born as Andreas Nikolaus on Feb. 22, 1949, in Vienna into an upper middle-class family, who did not share his passion for cars.In 1968, without telling his parents, Lauda won his first race with a Mini Racer he had bought with his grandmother's help.The next season, in 1977, Lauda went on to win his second F1 world championship with Ferrari.Lauda quit Formula One at the end of 1979 to pursue his second passion, civil aviation.But he came back to the race circuit in 1982, this time with McLaren, and won his last world championship with them in 1984 .
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