Brazilian GP 1978
JANUARY 29, 1978
Brazilian GP, 1978
The Brazilians switched the Grand Prix to the Jacarepagua circuit outside Rio de Janeiro, a place more fitting to the glamorous F1 image than Interlagos. The field was the same as it had been in Argentina with addition of the just-finished Arrows FA1, which appeared in Varig colors.
Qualifying resulted in pole position for Ronnie Peterson in his Lotus 78 (the new 79 not being ready). Then came James Hunt in his McLaren M26 with Mario Andretti third in the second Lotus. Carlos Reutemann (Ferrari) was fourth ahead of Patrick Tambay (McLaren), Gilles Villeneuve (Ferrari), Emerson Fittipaldi (doing well for a change with his own car) and Alan Jones in the promising Williams FW06. Hans Stuck was next up for Shadow with Niki Lauda completing the top 10 in his Brabham-Alfa Romeo. John Watson had a bad time in qualifying and ended up 21st on the grid. Patrese qualified the new Arrows 18th.
In the race Reutemann went into the lead at the start and was never headed, winning his first race for Ferrari and the first F1 victory for Michelin. He was chased in the early laps by Hunt but the Englishman dropped back when he had to pit for harder tires. That promoted Andretti to second place and he remained there until lap 57 when his Lotus jammed in fourth gear. This dropped him to fourth place at the finish behind an impressive Fittipaldi and Lauda. Fifth place went to Clay Regazzoni (Shadow) with the final point going to Tyrrell's Didier Pironi in only his second Grand Prix.