United States GP 1976

United States GP, 1976

There was only a week between the Canadian and United States East Grand Prix and so there was little time for much change. Guy Edwards had stood down from Hesketh with Brazilian Alex Ribeiro taking over while Wolf Williams was without Chris Amon (who had hurt himself in Canada) and so Australian Warwick Brown was given the drive in an old Hesketh.

The World Championship gap between Niki Lauda and James Hunt was down to just eight points and Hunt was looking strong as he set pole position, ahead of Jody Scheckter (Tyrrell), Ronnie Peterson and Vittorio Brambilla (March) ahead of Lauda and their team mate Hans Stuck. The top 10 was completed by Patrick Depailler (Tyrrell), John Watson (Penske), Tom Pryce (Shadow) and Carlos Pace (Brabham-Alfa Romeo).

In the race Scheckter made the best start and took the lead with Brambilla grabbing third from Peterson. Lauda followed. In the early laps Scheckter and Hunt were able to pull away while Lauda worked his way ahead of both Peterson and Brambilla to take third position. Towards half-distance Hunt closed up on Scheckter and took the lead but Hunt made a mistake and Scheckter got ahead again and it was not until the 46th lap that Hunt took the lead again.

Further back the action was more intense with fourth place passing from Peterson to Depailler and then to Laffite.

On lap 15 there was nasty accident when Ickx crashed the Ensign, head-on into the guardrail. The car split in two and caught fire but amazingly Ickx was able to hobble away with only a broken ankle and a few minor burns.

Later Laffite went out with a puncture after running over debris. Moments later Brambilla did the same and so Mass found himself fourth with Stuck fifth and Watson sixth.

Hunt's victory closed the World Championship gap to just three points as the F1 circus headed off to Japan for the first time.

11 James Hunt McLaren-Cosworth M23 59 1h42m40.741s  
Jody Scheckter Tyrrell-Cosworth P34 59 1h42m48.771s  
Niki Lauda Ferrari 312T2 59 1h43m43.065s  
12 Jochen Mass McLaren-Cosworth M23 59 1h43m43.199s  17 
34 Hans-Joachim Stuck March-Cosworth 761 59 1h43m48.719s  
28 John Watson Penske-Cosworth PC4 59 1h43m48.931s  
Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 312T2 58  14 
19 Alan Jones Surtees-Cosworth TS19 58  18 
30 Emerson Fittipaldi Copersucar-Cosworth FD04 57  15 
10 17 Jean-Pierre Jarier Shadow-Cosworth DN5B 57  16 
11 18 Brett Lunger Surtees-Cosworth TS19 57  24 
12 25 Alex-Dias Ribeiro Hesketh-Cosworth 308D 57  22 
13 24 Harald Ertl Hesketh-Cosworth 308D 54  21 
14 21 Warwick Brown Wolf Williams-Cosworth FW05 54  23 
nc 38 Henri Pescarolo Surtees-Cosworth TS19 48  26 
16 Tom Pryce Shadow-Cosworth DN8 45 Engine 
26 Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra JS5 34 Suspension 12 
Vittorio Brambilla March-Cosworth 761 34 Tire 
Carlos Pace Brabham-Alfa Romeo BT45 31 Accident 10 
Larry Perkins Brabham-Alfa Romeo BT45 30 Suspension  13 
Mario Andretti Lotus-Cosworth 77 23 Suspension 11 
22 Jacky Ickx Ensign-Cosworth N176 14 Accident 19 
Gunnar Nilsson Lotus-Cosworth 77 13 Engine 20 
10 Ronnie Peterson March-Cosworth 761 12 Suspension  
20 Arturo Merzario Wolf Williams-Cosworth FW05 Spin 25 
Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Cosworth P34 Fuel Line 
nq 39 Otto Stuppacher Tyrrell-Cosworth 007   27