ByRichard Kelley

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Niki Lauda put his undeniable stamp on the 70's with a life more improbable than fiction and more inspiring than possible. His 1977 championship should have been Lauda's most joyous conquest, but it nearly broke him. He immediately had to reassert control of the team from Carlos Reutemann, signed by Ferrari after Lauda's accident. Then there were the incessant politics. Lauda's single-mindedness and drive saw him through, but by the end of the season, he was completely exhausted and out of love with Ferrari. With trophy in hand, he walked away from the final two Grands Prix.

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