To win or not to win, that was McLaren and Hunt's question

Anyone complaining about the lengthy time it sometimes takes for the stewards to rule on a driver's action might want to hark back to the 1976 British Grand Prix which took place on this day 45 years ago.

The event was a two-part affair marked by controversy, chaos, a declared winner on the podium and another winner decided two months later!

It all started at Paddock Bend at Brand Hatch, as the field barreled down on the opening lap only for Ferrari team mates Niki Lauda and Clay Regazzino to collide with each other.

The race was stopped as a result of the pile-up, with James Hunt's McLaren among the collateral damage provoked quite inadvertently by the Scuderia.

Hunt drove away from the scene in his crippled car and turned into the back gate behind the pits where he parked his car.

The Stewards were unsure who would be eligible to restart the race, initially acting on the basis that any car which had not completed a full lap under the red flags would not be authorised to take part in the restart.

This led to a contentious decision to sideline Hunt, which in turn led to mayhem in the grandstands, with beer cans landing on the track as the revolt took hold.

A clever Teddy Mayer, Team McLaren's boss, played politics and argued with race control just as long as it took to repair Hunt's race car and convince officials to let the local hero take up his position on the grid!

Finally, the race got underway. Lauda held the lead until lap 45, when gearbox troubles forced the Austrian to relinquish first place to Hunt.

As soon as the checkered flag dropped, Ferrari protested Hunt and McLaren's win. Ultimately, two months later, the FIA ruled in Ferrari's favour and disqualified Hunt. But the Brit will forever be remembered as the moral victor of the 1976 British GP.

Fortunately, the controversial call did not affect the outcome of a championship which James Hunt clinched at the very last race in Japan.