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Brakes put on Hasemi

ESPN staff
December 4, 2013
Masehiro Hasemi's fastest lap at the Japanese Grand Prix in 1976 was disallowed © Getty Images

Who set the fastest lap in his only Grand Prix? asked Jeremy Moore

The answer usually given is that it was Masahiro Hasemi, a local driver appearing in his first (and, as it turned out only) Grand Prix, in Japan in 1976.

Hasemi, driving something called a Kojima-Ford, finished 11th and last on the day, seven laps behind the winner Mario Andretti - but apparently pulled out the fastest lap during a famously chaotic rain-affected race, in which James Hunt clinched the world championship after Niki Lauda pulled out saying the conditions were unsafe.

Many websites, including this one and the official F1 site, continue to credit Hasemi with the fastest lap, giving him a 100% record - but it seems possible this is a mistake, even though Hasemi was familiar with the circuit (he had won the non-championship Japanese GP there the year before).

He was originally announced as having set the fastest lap, but a short time later, according to the motorsportarchive website, "The Japanese Automobile Federation (JAF) proclaimed that the Tokyo driver had cut part of the Fuji circuit comprehensively, giving him approximately three seconds in hand.

With this information, Hasemi's fastest lap was disallowed and awarded to the next-fastest driver, Jacques Laffite; however this was never taken into account by Formula One management, and thus on paper, Masahiro Hasemi is considered to be the only driver to record a fastest lap in what was to be his only race."

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