United States GP 1979
OCTOBER 7, 1979
United States GP, 1979
The final race of the season saw a field of 30 cars fighting for 24 grid positions. There were no driver changes and after qualifying Alan Jones, winner of four of the previous five races, was on pole position again. The main interest of the event was whether or not Jones would finish runner-up to the new World Champion Jody Scheckter or whether his Ferrari team mate Gilles Villeneuve would be able to hold him off. Second on the grid was Nelson Piquet in the promising new Brabham-Cosworth BT49 which had appeared at the previous race. Villeneuve was third in his Ferrari with Jacques Laffite (Ligier) fourth, Clay Regazzoni (Williams) fifth and Carlos Reutemann (Lotus) sixth. The top 10 was completed by the two Renaults of Rene Arnoux and Jean-Pierre Jabouille, the Brabham of Ricardo Zunino and Didier Pironi's Tyrrell.
It was raining on race days but it stopped before the race, although the track was still wet and so the cars started on wet tires. Villeneuve made the best start and took the lead from Jones, Reutemann, Laffite and Jabouille. Laffite and Reutemann both went off early on and so Regazzoni was able to take third place ahead of Scheckter. Both men later pitted for slicks and so Jabouille moved to third again but his engine failed and so the place went to Arnoux. On lap 31 Villeneuve pitted and Jones led but when the Australian went into the pits to get slicks the stop went wrong and a wheel came off after he had rejoined. This left Villeneuve with a commanding lead over Arnoux. Pironi was third with Elio de Angelis fourth for Shadow, Hans Stuck fifth in the ATS and John Watson sixth for McLaren.