Brazilian GP 1979
FEBRUARY 4, 1979
Brazilian GP, 1979
After a year away in Rio de Janeiro, the F1 circus returned to Interlagos, where major upgrading work had been done although the drivers were still complaining about bumps on the newly-surfaced track. The field was the same as it had been in Argentina a fortnight earlier and once again it was the two Ligiers which were dominant with pole position going to Jacques Laffite once again and Patrick Depailler alongside him on the front row.
The second row featured the Lotuses of Carlos Reutemann and Mario Andretti and the third row featured the Ferraris of Gilles Villeneuve and Jody Scheckter. Jean-Pierre Jabouille put his Renault seventh, just ahead of Didier Pironi's Tyrrell. The top 10 was completed by Emerson Fittipaldi (Fittipaldi) and James Hunt (Wolf). Brabham was in trouble on this occasion with Niki Lauda down in 12th place and the hobbling Nelson Piquet 22nd.
In the race Laffite took the lead while Reutemann briefly grabbed second place before Depailler seized it back again. Reutemann lost third place as well as Andretti went past him. Behind them came Scheckter and Fittipaldi. Fittipaldi then overtook Scheckter and moved to fourth when Andretti's Lotus began to misfire and went into the pits. Fittipaldi then attacked Reutemann while behind them Scheckter came under pressure from Pironi. Pironi got ahead but then spun and found himself behind again. He repeated the overtaking move and began to pull away from the Ferrari.
On the twenty-second lap Fittipaldi's fine charge ended when a rear wheel worked itself loose and he had to pit. Both Ferraris pitted for new tires and Villeneuve got ahead and they finished fifth and sixth behind Laffite, Depailler, Reutemann and Pironi.