South African GP 1977
MARCH 5, 1977
South African GP, 1977
There was a six week gap between the Brazilian and South African GPs but little had changed in the F1 field in that period. Ian Scheckter had broken his ankle in a Formula Atlantic race in South Africa and so Hans Stuck took his place at March. Fittipaldi was back down to one car again but there were two new teams both using old March 761s: BS Fabrications entered a Chesterfield-sponsored car for Brett Lunger while F&S Properties had bought a car for Boy Hayje and this was being run by RAM Racing.
Qualifying resulted in James Hunt taking his third consecutive pole position in his McLaren while Carlos Pace put the new Brabham-Alfa Romeo BT45B second on the grid. Then came Niki Lauda's Ferrari, Patrick Depailler's Tyrrell, Jody Scheckter in the Wolf and Mario Andretti in the Lotus. Seventh on the grid was Ronnie Peterson (Tyrrell) with Carlos Reutemann (Ferrari) eighth, Emerson Fittipaldi (Fittipaldi) ninth and Gunner Nilsson (Lotus) 10th.
At the start Pace had too much wheelspin and so Hunt went off into the lead with Lauda, Scheckter and Depailler behind him. Pace slotted in ahead of Mass and Andretti. In the early laps Hunt and Lauda ran nose-to-tail but at the start of the seventh lap the Austrian took the lead and gradually began to get away. Hunt dropped back and came under pressure from Scheckter. On the 18th lap Scheckter took the position.
At the back of the field Renzo Zorzi's Shadow stopped at the side of the track at the end of lap 21 with a split fuel pipe. There was a small fire and two marshals ran across the track, thinking that no-one was coming, despite the fact that they were on the wrong side of a blind brow. Stuck and Pryce arrived, almost side-by-side. Pryce hit the second marshal, who was carrying a fire extinguisher. The man (who was killed instantly) was thrown into the air but the extinguisher hit Pryce on the head, killing him instantly. The Shadow continued down the straight, moving gradually to the right and Laffite, who was unsure what was going on, moved alongside as the two cars approached Crowthorne. The Shadow glanced off the barriers and went straight into the Ligier. Fortunately Laffite was unhurt.
The race went on but the only change at the front came on lap 67 when Hunt slipped back to fourth place behind Depailler. Lauda won but for most of the race had been watching as gauges as part of Pryce's rollbar had become lodged in Lauda's water radiator and the temperatures were rising slowly as the race went on.
|6||7||John Watson||Brabham-Alfa Romeo||78||1h42m41.800s||11|
|13||8||Carlos Pace||Brabham-Alfa Romeo||76||2|
|15||14||Larry Perkins||Stanley BRM-BRM||73||22|
|r||10||Hans-Joachim Stuck||Brabham-Alfa Romeo||55||Engine||18|
|r||5||Mario Andretti||Lotus-Cosworth||43||Accident/front Suspension||6|
|r||33||Boy (Johan Gerard) Hayje||March-Cosworth||33||Gearbox||21|
|r||16||Tom Pryce||Shadow-Cosworth||22||Fatal Accident||15|
|r||3||Ronnie Peterson||Tyrrell-Cosworth||5||Fuel Pressure||7|