4. Vittorio Brambilla (Austria 1975)
The “Monza Gorilla” was as far from sense and sensibility as one could get. He always tried to overdrive his poor equipment (a March) to gain some ground and show what he could do. Most of the time to no avail, but hugely popular among his fellow countrymen, at least those who had space at heart for more than a “certain” Cavallino Rampante.
But his day has come on Osterreichring, in a downpour, and in a weekend marred by the death of Mark Donohue, following a hefty practice crash. Courage was something that the late Vittorio had on stock and, when the flag dropped, he went from ninth to third, Then, surfing better then the rivals, let behind former US Marine Brett Lunger and James Hunt. Polesitter Niki Lauda hadn’t a car suited to the wet conditions, and lost ground.
After just 29 laps the race was halted and the ecstatic Italian crossed the line first… only to crash meters ahead. It is worth mentioning that he was the oldest driver on the grid (37 years). Home favourite, Lauda, ended a distant sixth.