Monaco GP 1976
MAY 30, 1976
Monaco GP, 1976
The entry was slightly smaller than in previous races as RAM decided not to enter as only 20 cars would be allowed to start and the Automobile Club of Monaco had limited the entry to 25. Mario Andretti was away racing at Indianapolis and Lotus ran only one car and Brett Lunger's Surtees had been sold to Henri Pescarolo's Team Norev and the American was waiting for the team to finish a new car for him. Also missing was the second Fittipaldi which had been run for Ingo Hoffmann.
Qualifying resulted in the usual site of Ferrari being 1-2 with Niki Lauda ahead of Clay Regazzoni as usual. Ronnie Peterson was on the second row in his March with Patrick Depailler's Tyrrell six-wheeler alongside, while Jody Scheckter's similar car shared the third row with Hans Stuck's March. Emerson Fittipaldi (who had failed to qualify in Spain) was seventh, ahead of Jacques Laffite (Ligier), Vittorio Brambilla (March) and Jean-Pierre Jarier (Shadow). Chris Amon again showed well in the Ensign in 11th while James Hunt was a disastrous 13th in his McLaren because of gearbox troubles. Carlos Reutemann was the final qualifier in the troublesome Brabham-Alfa Romeo, the Argentine driver become increasingly frustrated with the car's lack of performance.
At the start Lauda went into the lead but it was Peterson who grabbed second from Regazzoni. Most of the field managed to squeeze through Ste Devote but at the back Reutemann collided with Alan Jones's Surtees and both cars retired. The only change at the front in the early laps came on lap 15 when Scheckter passed Depailler to take fourth. Hunt's terrible weekend continued when he spun at Tabac and dropped to the tail of the field. Eventually he went out with an engine failure.
This caused a significant change at the front as oil from Hunt's car caught out Regazzoni and he went up an escape road and dropped behind the two Tyrrells. A lap later Peterson spun on the oil and hit the barriers.
This left Lauda a long way clear of the two Tyrrells, Depailler gradually dropping back as his rear suspension became increasingly fragile. On lap 64 he was overtaken for third by Regazzoni but the Ferrari made a mistake on lap 74 and crashed out and so Depailler regained third. Stuck finished fourth, Mass fifth and Fittipaldi sixth.