Swedish GP 1977
JUNE 19, 1977
Swedish GP, 1977
There was much excitement in Sweden as a result of Gunnar Nilsson's victory in Belgium a few days earlier. The field was much the same as it had been in Zolder although Riccardo Patrese was away racing Formula 2 cars at Mugello and so team manager Jacky Oliver had a run in the Shadow. RAM Racing expanded to two cars with a second March 761 being entered for Finland's Mikko Kozarowitsky.
In qualifying things were complicated somewhat by Goodyear's decision to bring different tire compounds. The American company was aware that Michelin would soon be entering F1 with the new Renault team and wanted to be prepared. In the end, however, the tires made little difference as Mario Andretti was again on pole for Lotus with John Watson second in the Brabham-Alfa Romeo, just as they had been in Zolder. Third on the grid was James Hunt in the McLaren M26 with championship leader Jody Scheckter alongside him in the Wolf. Then came Hans Stuck's Brabham, Patrick Depailler's Tyrrell, Nilsson's Lotus and Jacques Laffite in the Ligier-Matra. The top 10 was completed by Jochen Mass in a McLaren M23 and Ronnie Peterson in the second six-wheeler Tyrrell. Niki Lauda, who was one point behind Scheckter in the title race, was 13th.
At the start Watson once again beat Andretti away from the start with Scheckter briefly second before the Lotus driver took control. On the second lap he took the lead from Watson and the order then remained unchanged until lap 30 when Scheckter tried to pass Watson and the two collided. Scheckter retired and Watson had to go into the pits. This put Hunt up to second place but he had Depailler, Mass, Laffite and Reutemann right behind him. Laffite now began the charge and in the space of five laps passed Mass, Depailler and Hunt to take second place. He then set off after Andretti who was 15secs ahead. While this was happening Mass overtook Depailler and Hunt to take third and was followed through by Reutemann.
With two laps to go Andretti ran into a fuel metering problem and arrived in the pits. Laffite took the lead to win the first all-French victory in the 27 year history of the World Championship. Mass was second with Reutemann third, Depailler fourth and Watson fifth. Andretti recovered to finish sixth.