United States GP 1978

United States GP, 1978

In the month between the South African and Long Beach races the F1 teams raced in the International Trophy at Silverstone with Keke Rosberg pulling off a big surprise by winning for Theodore while another youngster Derek Daly made a big impression in a Hesketh on a day when all the big names crashed out. As a result Daly was still in the Hesketh at Long Beach in place of American Eddie Cheever. The Shadow team had finished the new DN9 and Danny Ongais was back in action, running in a third Shadow entered by Interscope Racing. With only 22 cars allowed to start there was an hour-long pre-qualifying session on Friday morning during which Rosberg, Daly, Hector Rebaque and Ongais failed to make it, while Arrows drivers Riccardo Patrese and Rolf Stommelen, Arturo Merzario (Merzario) and Brett Lunger (BS Fabrications McLaren) were allowed to take part in official qualifying.

The Ferraris were highly competitive and pole position went to Carlos Reutemann with Gilles Villeneuve two-tenths slower. Niki Lauda was third in the Brabham and Mario Andretti fourth. John Watson was fifth fastest with Ronnie Peterson sixth in the second Lotus. The top 10 was completed by James Hunt (McLaren), Alan Jones (Williams), Riccardo Patrese (Arrows) and Jody Scheckter (Wolf).

In the race the Brabhams and Ferraris set off together at the front and at the hairpin Watson made a bid for the lead, sliding down the inside line, pushing Reutemann and Lauda out, which allowed Villeneuve to dive inside and take the lead. When the situation was unscrambled Villeneuve led Watson, Lauda and Reutemann. The order remained the same until the 10th lap when Watson went out, leaving Villeneuve under pressure from Lauda. But the second Brabham-Alfa went out on lap 28 with electrical trouble and so Villeneuve was left leading Reutemann. Jones was up to third having passed Andretti. On the 39th lap Villeneuve tried to lap Clay Regazzoni's Shadow and crashed out, leaving Reutemann in the lead.

In the second half of the race Andretti was able to catch and repass Jones for second place and the Australian then fell back with fuel pressure problems which dropped him to seventh place.

Reutemann survived a spin to win the race with Andretti just over 10 seconds behind him. Patrick Depailler was third in his Tyrrell with Peterson fourth, Jacques Laffite (Ligier) fifth and Patrese sixth, giving the Arrows team its first World Championship point.

11 Carlos Reutemann Ferrari  80 1h52m01.301s  
Mario Andretti Lotus-Cosworth  80 1h52m12.362s  
Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Cosworth  80 1h52m30.252s  12 
Ronnie Peterson Lotus-Cosworth  80 1h52m46.904s  
26 Jacques Laffite Ligier-Matra  80 1h53m24.185s  14 
35 Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Cosworth  79  
27 Alan Jones Wlliams-Cosworth  79  
14 Emerson Fittipaldi Copersucar-Cosworth  79  15 
36 Rolf Stommelen Arrows-Cosworth  79  18 
10 17 Clay Regazzoni Shadow-Cosworth  79  20 
11 10 Jean-Pierre Jarier ATS-Cosworth  75  19 
12r Patrick Tambay McLaren-Cosworth  74 Accident 11 
20 Jody Scheckter Wolf-Cosworth  59 Accident 10 
19 Vittorio Brambilla Surtees-Cosworth  50 Crown Wheel & Pinion 17 
15 Jean-Pierre Jabouille Renault  43 Turbo 13 
12 Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari  38 Accident 
Niki Lauda Brabham-Alfa Romeo  27 Ignition 
Didier Pironi Tyrrell-Cosworth  25 Gearbox 22 
37 Arturo Merzario Merzario-Cosworth  17 Gearbox 21 
Jochen Mass ATS-Cosworth  11 Brake Master Cylinder 16 
John Watson Brabham-Alfa Romeo  Oil Tank 
James Hunt McLaren-Cosworth  Accident 
ns 18 Rupert Keegan Surtees-Cosworth   Accident 23 
ns 16 Hans-Joachim Stuck Shadow-Cosworth   Accident 24 
ns 30 Brett Lunger McLaren-Cosworth    25 
ns 22 Lamberto Leoni Ensign-Cosworth    26 
npq 32 Keke Rosberg ATS-Cosworth    27 
npq 25 Hector Rebaque Lotus-Cosworth    28 
npq 39 Danny Ongais Shadow-Cosworth    29 
npq 24 Derek Daly Hesketh-Cosworth    30