United States GP 1969

United States GP, 1969

All the team traveled to Watkins Glen from Canada, while some of the drivers went to Michigan for a CanAm race on the intervening weekend. Others flew back to Europe for the Paris 1000 sportscar race which was won by Matra's Jean-Pierre Beltoise with Pedro Rodriguez second in a similar car. Matra's third driver Johnny Servoz-Gavin flew to Rome, won an F2 race and then flew back to the US.

The field reassembled at Watkins Glen with the field largely unchanged. Mario Andretti was back in the four-wheel-drive Lotus 63 while Bill Brack had been replaced in the third BRM by George Eaton. There was still only one Ferrari, entered by NART for Pedro Rodriguez.

Rindt was fastest in qualifying in his Lotus, beating Denny Hulme's McLaren by 0.03s while World Champion Jackie Stewart was third on the 2 x 2 grid alongside Graham Hill's Lotus. Jo Siffert was fifth with sixth place on the grid going to Bruce McLaren, although the New Zealander failed to make the start because of mechanical problems during the reconnaissance laps before the race. Rindt took the lead at the start with Stewart and Hill in pursuit while Hulme dropped back to ninth during the first lap and pitted soon afterwards.

On the third lap Siffert managed to pass Hill and he was soon overtaken by Beltoise and Piers Courage in the Frank Williams Brabham. Siffert retired soon afterwards and as Courage had passed Beltoise (who was in trouble with gears), it was the Englishman who was running third.

On lap 12 Stewart overtook Rindt to go into the lead. Nine laps later Rindt was in the lead again. Rindt was able to pull away this time and Stewart's Matra began to trail smoke and he retired with engine failure on lap 36. This left Courage in second, 40 seconds behind Rindt, although he was battling for the position with Brabham and Ickx. Eventually both the factory Brabhams hit trouble, Ickx retiring with engine failure and Brabham being forced to pit for more fuel and so Surtees moved into third place in his BRM.

Hill was running in sixth place in the mid-race. He had a spin and had to push-start his car. As a result he was unable to do up with seat belts and on lap 91 he spun again. This time the car overturned and Hill was thrown out, breaking both his legs.

Jochen Rindt Lotus-Cosworth 49B 108 1h57m56.840s  
18 Piers Courage Brabham-Cosworth BT26A 108 1h58m43.830s  
14 John Surtees BRM P139 106  11 
Jack Brabham Brabham-Cosworth BT26A 106  10 
12 Pedro Rodriguez Ferrari 312 101  12 
19 Silvio Moser Brabham-Cosworth BT24 98  17 
nc 16 Johnny Servoz-Gavin Matra-Cosworth MS84 92  15 
Graham Hill Lotus-Cosworth 49B 90 Accident 
Jacky Ickx Brabham-Cosworth BT26A 77 Engine 
22 George Eaton BRM P138 76 Engine 18 
Jean-Pierre Beltoise Matra-Cosworth MS80 72 Engine 
Denny Hulme McLaren-Cosworth M7A 52 Gearbox 
Jackie Stewart Matra-Cosworth MS80 35 Engine 
21 Peter Lovely Lotus-Cosworth 49B 25 Mechanical 16 
15 Jackie Oliver BRM P139 23 Engine 14 
Mario Andretti Lotus-Cosworth 63 Suspension 13 
10 Jo Siffert Lotus-Cosworth 49B Mechanical 
ns Bruce McLaren McLaren-Cosworth M7C  Engine