00:52 - Source: CNN
Winner of F1's 'closest-ever' GP dies

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British Formula One driver Peter Gethin has died aged 71

Gethin won the closest race in F1 history at the 1971 Italian Grand Prix

He also recorded what was then the highest average speed for an F1 race

CNN  — 

British driver Peter Gethin, the man who won what is widely regarded as the closest grand prix in Formula One history, has died at the age of 71.

The sole victory of Gethin’s F1 career came at the 1971 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, a race which saw just 0.61 seconds cover the first five cars over the finish line.

The Surrey-born racer, who started 30 grands prix in a career which spanned four seasons, had been battling a long-term illness.

“It is with great regret that the club has to announce the death of life member and former director, Peter Gethin, who passed away on December 5,” read a statement on the British Racing Drivers’ (BRDC) website.

Gethin’s victory set a record for the highest average speed in an F1 race, which was eventually surpassed by seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher 32 years later at the same grand prix.

The 1971 Italian Grand Prix was the only podium of Gethin’s career, with his only other point-scoring finishes arriving with single points in Canada in 1970 and at the 1972 race in Italy.

Gethin first entered the elite division of motorsport with McLaren in 1970, following the death of the team’s founding father Bruce McLaren.

He switched to BRM midway through the 1971 season after 14 races with McLaren, before eventually joining Graham Hill’s Embassy team in 1974.

Gethin’s final race in F1 was the British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch in July 1974.