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F1 champ in '71 dies at 71

2011-12-07 07:43

LONDON, England - British racing driver Peter Gethin, winner of Formula 1's closest race at Monza in 1971, has died at the age of 71.

The official formula1.com website said Gethin had passed away after a long illness.

The 1971 Italian GP was Gethin's sole triumph in F1 and, in only his second race for BRM, he won it from Sweden's Ronnie Peterson by just 0.01sec in a four-car dash to the line with the top five all finishing within 0.61sec.

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At the time, the race was also the fastest ever with Gethin winning with an average speed of 150.755 mph (242.6km/h)

Gethin made his F1 debut with McLaren in 1970 at the age of 30, only weeks after the death of the team's founder Bruce McLaren.

He switched to BRM during the 1971 season after that team's Mexican driver Pedro Rodriguez was killed in a sports-car race in Germany.

Gethin scored only one more championship point after the 1971 win and ended his F1 career with a one-off drive at his home GP in 1974.

Reuters