We both felt the first half of the movie, up to the crash, was pretty flat. I suppose it was intended to set up the rivalry between the two very different drivers but it just didn't work. To me it made both Hunt and Lauda as caricatures, not real people. Hunt is the drinking, drug using, womanizing playboy with natural talent and no fear; Lauda is the calculating Teutonic machine.
The crash itself was a disappoint as well. No, I didn't want it more graphic just more real. Very little was said or shown of the four drivers who braved the flames and risked their lives to save Niki. Here is a description of the accident, "Lauda's Ferrari swerved off the track, due to a suspected rear suspension failure (the movie shows a suspension piece breaking but so subtly I'm not sure if non-automotive audience members will understand what the part is), hit an embankment (the movie has the Ferrari hitting a guard rail) and rolled into the path of Brett Lunger's Surtees-Ford car. Lauda's Ferrari burst into flames, but, unlike Lunger, he was trapped in the wreckage. Drivers Arturo Merzario, Guy Edwards and Harald Ertl arrived at the scene a few moments later, but before they were able to pull Lauda from his car, he suffered severe burns to his head and inhaled hot toxic gases that damaged his lungs and blood." Here is actual footage of the crash; if you see the movie compare it to Ron Howard's crash.