The Celebration of Rivals and the Best Enemy You Could Ask For: “Rush” and the Story of Niki Lauda and James Hunt

There is something I find fascinating about human interaction. The fact that two people can come from two different places, grow up in two different circumstances and cultures, and yet be able to share a bond born of passion and rivalry to produce a friendship that has endured the ages.

I had been long waiting the release of “Rush” by Ron Howard, mainly because I had become a fan of Ayrton Senna and Formula 1, but also because there is a part of that story that feels like its mine. A race fueled by a dream. A dream that does not stand in the thresholds of family tradition and which breaks away to form a new realm. A dream that only comes to light because belief becomes tangible and can materialize.

I watched interviews with Lauda and Hunt and it is undeniable that they held the other in high regard. And it made me sad that Hunt was gone, only because regardless of all the drinking and partying and drug-taking, there was a guy who was genuinely an interesting person and was capable of being a friend.

I went to see the movie a second time all because I wanted to audio record the last scene. The monologue was a touching piece by Lauda about his friend and I’ve included it here:

Of course he didn’t listen to me. For James, one world title was enough. He had proved what he needed to prove. To himself and anyone who doubted him. And two years later, he retired.

When I saw him next in London, seven years later, me as a champion again, him as broadcaster, he was barefoot on a bicycle with a flat tire, still living each day like his last.

When I heard he died age 45 of a heart attack, I wasn’t surprised. I was just sad. People always think of us as rivals but he was among the very few I liked and even fewer that I respected.

He remains the only person I envied.

“A wise man gets more from his enemies than a fool from his friends,” said Lauda.

May we then have fantastic enemies to learn from.

Niki Lauda in an interview with Carjam TV.

This is the racing brief given to Bruhl and Hemsworth on how to drive in F1.

"Rush" with Daniel Bruhl and Chris Hemsworth

“Rush” with Daniel Bruhl and Chris Hemsworth

Formula One World Championship: The real Niki Lauda and James Hunt before the accident

Formula One World Championship: The real Niki Lauda and James Hunt before the accident.

An interview with the real James Hunt. Hemsworth nailed his accent.

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