“Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose”

This quote by the legendary Ayrton Senna is one of the most famous ones in sports. Many a coach, manager, and captains have used this line to motivate their teams and even themselves, to strive to achieve their potential. To fire themselves up when the competition heats up.

However, in the world of sports, there can be only one winner. One man-or one team-who gets to lift the trophy and pop that bottle of champagne. They are the ones who kept their cool when it mattered and one-upped their closest rivals.

Formula One has also seen its fair share of exciting and close calls-where the answer to the question “who will lift the cup” was left to the last second of the last race.

Here are some of the closest nail-biting F1 cup wins of all time, where the point difference was 3 or less-

  1. Emerson Fittipaldi, 1974 – won by 3 points versus Clay Regazzoni
Niki Lauda (L) with teammate Clay Regazzoni (C) and Emerson Fittipaldi (R)

Fittipaldi and Regazzoni had an amazing season, going neck-to-neck in every race. Both the drivers had got seven podiums each by the time of the last race-day, at the Watkins Glen circuit in the US. They were even level on points.

On the penultimate day, Fittipaldi and Regazzoni started at 8th and 9th positions respectively. The race was tight, but Regazzoni was having trouble handling his car, and even changing tyres twice made no difference. In the latter half of the race, Niki Lauda and Jody Scheckter retired, promoting Fittipaldi to fourth. But that was all he needed, as Regazzoni crossed the line at 11th position.

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