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Emerson Fittipaldi
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How a Brazilian F1 pioneer lifted Lotus after Rindt's tragic loss

He was the first Brazilian to scale the pinnacle of Formula 1, kicking open a door for the likes of Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna. While it’s now half a century since Emerson Fittipaldi moved to McLaren and claimed his second F1 world championship, CHARLES BRADLEY is reminded that was just another waypoint for a driver who would also win the Indianapolis 500 twice…

The trailblazer for Brazilians who dreamed of racing in Formula 1, Emerson Fittipaldi dared not only to reach the top of the sport but conquered the world on two occasions with Lotus and McLaren. He paved the way for Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna to emulate his success as multiple title-winning countrymen amid a wave of Brazilian racing stars.

Aged 25 in 1972, Fittipaldi held the mantle of the youngest F1 world champion for 33 years, moving his great friend and rival Jackie Stewart to state: “Emerson arrived in F1 like a rocketship.” He claimed 14 grand prix victories and 35 podiums over his decade in F1. Fittipaldi then took on the challenge of IndyCar racing in America, twice capturing its greatest race – the Indianapolis 500 – and winning another title.

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