Spanish GP 1981
JUNE 21, 1981
Spanish GP, 1981
Three weeks after Gilles Villeneuve's victory in Monaco, the F1 circus rolled up at Jarama for the Spanish GP. The field had altered somewhat with Eliseo Salazar having left March to join Ensign, displacing Marc Surer.
Jacques Laffite took pole on his Ligier-Matra with the two Williams-DFVs of Alan Jones and Carlos Reutemann second and third ahead of John Watson's McLaren, Alain Prost's Renault and the Alfa Romeo of Bruno Giacomelli. Villeneuve was seventh.
Race day was incredibly hot and the temperature was around 100-degrees when the race began with Jones and Reutemann blasting into the lead as Laffite made a poor start and Villeneuve diving into third place at the first corner, snagging Prost's front wing as he took the place. At the end of the first lap Villeneuve pulled out of Reutemann's slipstream and took second place. Jones quickly built a lead but on lap 14 - when he was around 10secs ahead - he went off.
This left Villeneuve with Reutemann on his tail. Behind them Watson, Laffite and Elio de Angelis emerged from the hurly-burly and all began to close on the dueling leaders. Reutemann was having some trouble with his gearbox and when Laffite arrived behind him there was little Carlos could do to stop Jacques overtaking. The Argentine would later drop behind Watson as well as the five front-runners became a train of cars, nose-to-tail for the 18 laps of the race.
Villeneuve had the power to get away from his rivals on the straight but in the corners they were all over him. Time and time again Laffite pulled alongside as they emerged from a corner but the Ferrari would surge ahead as the horsepower kicked in. The five remained locked together right to the flag, crossing the line covered by just 1.24s to record the second closest race in the history of F1 at the time.
|2||26||Jacques Laffite||Talbot Ligier-Matra||80||1h46m35.230s||1|
|5||11||Elio de Angelis||Lotus-Cosworth||80||1h46m36.250s||10|
|8||22||Mario Andretti||Alfa Romeo||80||1h47m35.810s||8|
|10||23||Bruno Giacomelli||Alfa Romeo||80||1h47m48.660s||6|
|r||25||Jean-Pierre Jobouille||Talbot Ligier-Matra||52||Brakes||19|
|r||8||Andrea de Cesaris||McLaren-Cosworth||9||Accident||14|
|exc||37||Emilio de Villota||Williams-Cosworth||Not Allowed To Practice||31|