Murray Walker reveals he “didn’t exactly welcome” James Hunt

But admits, “When he got rid of the nastiness and stopped racing, he was a really decent chap"

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During Formula 1’s glory years of the 80s Murray Walker and James Hunt were an unbeatable double act. But, it wasn’t always rosy.

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“To begin with there was a fraught atmosphere. I didn’t exactly welcome him. I was old enough to be his father and I didn’t approve of a lot of things he did: drinking, smoking, womanizing, all to great excess,” Walker tells Radio Times magazine.

“After he’d stopped racing and lost a lot of money and a gigantically expensive divorce cleaned him out, a really nice bloke took over. And after that we got on really well,” he adds.

And while Walker says Hunt had a “terrifying temper” and could give the engineers “a tremendous tongue-lashing”, he had a softer side too.

Walker explains, “James was a great budgerigar fancier. He once took me to his aviary; he’s got dozens of budgies, knew them all by name, and was a very keen showman.”

On new hit film Rush, which relives Hunt’s tussle with Nikki Lauda in the 1976 World Championship, Walker says:

“They’ve caught all the racing stuff absolutely perfectly. Bu they’ve taken some artistic licence with the story. Lauda and Hunt weren’t bitter enemies; they were great friends who at one point shared a flat together.”

Read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times magazine (on sale Tuesday) plus check out Murray Walker at 90, Sunday 4:00pm, Radio 5 Live. 

Picture: Don Smith

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