Wheels24.co.za | WATCH: Niki Lauda’s recovery from a fiery F1 crash marks one of the greatest comeback stories in sport

Three-time Formula 1 champion Niki Lauda has died on Tuesday (May 21), Austrian media reported. He was 70 years old. 

The Austrian won the F1 drivers’ world championship three times, in 1975 and 1977 for Ferrari and in 1984 with McLaren. He was non-executive chairman of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team and also owned 10% of the team.

One of the greatest comeback stories 

Lauda arguably made one of the best greatest sporting comebacks in the late 70s. He appeared to be cruising to a second F1 World Championship title in 1976 when disaster struck at the German Grand Prix in Nurburgring.

Motorsport world reacts to three-time F1 world champion Niki Lauda’s death

Lauda’s Ferrari swerved off the course and struck an embankment, before exploding in flames. Lauda was trapped in the wreckage and suffered severe burns before being pulled to safety by Italian driver Arturo Merzario, who pulled him out of the car to safety.

Incredibly, he returned to racing 43 days later at the Italian Grand Prix. He would go on to win two more drivers championships before retiring.

Remembering Niki Lauda – What’s your favourite Lauda moment in F1? Email usand we’ll publish your thoughts

Watch that incredible crash below: 

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