United States GP 1981
OCTOBER 17, 1981
United States GP, 1981
There were three weeks between the Canadian and Las Vegas GPs and in that time Niki Lauda decided to return to F1 with McLaren in 1982. The F1 circus was rather perplexed to be racing around the parking of a Las Vegas casino and no-one seemed to like it much. The entry was as it had been in Canada and in qualifying it was World Championship leader Carlos Reutemann on pole from his teammate Alan Jones. The Australian was not going to do anything to help the Argentine to the title because of their clash over team orders at the start of the year. He was retiring from F1 after the race and had nothing to lose. He was going for a victory.
Third on the grid was Gilles Villeneuve in the Ferrari with Reutemann's title rival Nelson Piquet fourth, Alain Prost fifth in his Renault and John Watson sixth in the McLaren. The top 10 was completed by Patrick Tambay (in his last race with the Talbot Ligier team), Bruno Giacomelli (Alfa Romeo), Nigel Mansell (Lotus) and Mario Andretti (Alfa Romeo).
Jones took the lead at the start with Reutemann dropping behind Villeneuve, Prost and Giacomelli before the first corner. Watson and Laffite were sixth and seventh with Piquet a cautious eighth. With Villeneuve acting as a block to those behind him, Jones was able to drive away to victory. He was never headed.
Villeneuve's second place last only until the third lap when Prost blew past him but the Renault was no match for the Williams. On the next lap Laffite overtook Watson and the order then stabilized with Piquet running behind Reutemann, both men out of the points. On lap 17 Piquet passed the subdued Reutemann and he was followed by Andretti. Piquet chased after Watson and took sixth place on lap 22. This was briefly fifth when Villeneuve stopped with a fuel injection problem. But Nelson was then overtaken by Andretti. A few moments later Giacomelli's promising run in fourth place ended when he went off and rejoined back in ninth position so Piquet was back in fifth but when Reutemann overtook Watson for sixth the pair were back on equal points (although Piquet would win the title on victories). Then Andretti retired with a broken rear suspension and Piquet moved to fourth and Reutemann to fifth. Soon afterwards Prost pitted for tires and dropped to sixth but at the same time Mansell went ahead of Reutemann and as Prost recovered so Carlos lost another place. Prost's recovery would take him to second place, while Reutemann's unimpressive afternoon continued as he drifted behind the recovering Giacomelli. Piquet got up the third when Laffite went in for tires but he was then overtaken by Mansell and Giacomelli, the Italian moving up to third in the closing laps.
So Piquet came up fifth but with Reutemann out of the points it was enough to win the title.
|3||23||Bruno Giacomelli||Alfa Romeo||75||1h44m29.505s||8|
|6||26||Jacques Laffite||Talbot Ligier-Matra||75||1h45m27.252s||12|
|12||8||Andrea de Cesaris||McLaren-Cosworth||69||14|
|r||22||Mario Andretti||Alfa Romeo||29||Rear Suspension||10|
|dq||27||Gilles Villeneuve||Ferrari||22||Started From Wrong Grid Position||3|
|r||33||Marc Surer||Theodore-Cosworth||19||Rear Suspension||23|
|r||25||Patrick Tambay||Talbot Ligier-Matra||2||Accident||7|
|r||11||Elio de Angelis||Lotus-Cosworth||2||Water Leak||15|