United States GP 1977
OCTOBER 2, 1977
United States GP, 1977
The entry was slightly smaller than had been the norm with 27 cars vying for 26 places on the grid. ATS had decided not to make the trip to the United States and most of the privateers were gone as well. The major addition to the field was Danny Ongais in an Interscope Racing Penske PC4.
Ferrari had already announced that Niki Lauda's replacement at Ferrari would be Gilles Villeneuve and as Ferrari and Lauda were becoming increasingly estranged it looked more and more likely that Lauda would not even both to finish the season. Team Lotus also announced that Gunnar Nilsson would not be retained and that Ronnie Peterson would be returning to the team in 1978. There was a change at Shadow as well as Riccardo Patrese was busy with a Formula 2 race in Estoril and so his place was taken by Jean-Pierre Jarier who had been released from his ATS contract.
Qualifying resulted in another pole position for James Hunt with Hans Stuck showing well to qualify second in his Brabham-Alfa Romeo. Then came John Watson in the second Brabham and Mario Andretti in the Lotus. Peterson was next up in the Tyrrell and shared the third row of the grid with Carlos Reutemann's Ferrari while Lauda was seventh alongside the second Tyrrell of Patrick Depailler. The top 10 was completed by Jody Scheckter (Wolf), Jacques Laffite (Ligier), Vittorio Brambilla (Surtees) and Nilsson in the second Lotus.
At the start the track was damp and Watson gambled on slick tires. Stuck went into the lead with Hunt second, Andretti third ahead of Reutemann, Peterson, Lauda, Scheckter and the rest. Watson dropped quickly to the tail of the field. Stuck continued to lead in the early laps while Scheckter passed Lauda, Peterson and Reutemann to take fourth. Stuck however spun off on lap 15 and as he had no clutch he was unable to rejoin. The order at the front then remained unchanged all the way to the flag with Hunt winning from Andretti, Scheckter and Lauda. Clay Regazzoni (Ensign) was able to overhaul Reutemann to take fifth place.