United States GP 1978
APRIL 2, 1978
United States GP, 1978
In the month between the South African and Long Beach races the F1 teams raced in the International Trophy at Silverstone with Keke Rosberg pulling off a big surprise by winning for Theodore while another youngster Derek Daly made a big impression in a Hesketh on a day when all the big names crashed out. As a result Daly was still in the Hesketh at Long Beach in place of American Eddie Cheever. The Shadow team had finished the new DN9 and Danny Ongais was back in action, running in a third Shadow entered by Interscope Racing. With only 22 cars allowed to start there was an hour-long pre-qualifying session on Friday morning during which Rosberg, Daly, Hector Rebaque and Ongais failed to make it, while Arrows drivers Riccardo Patrese and Rolf Stommelen, Arturo Merzario (Merzario) and Brett Lunger (BS Fabrications McLaren) were allowed to take part in official qualifying.
The Ferraris were highly competitive and pole position went to Carlos Reutemann with Gilles Villeneuve two-tenths slower. Niki Lauda was third in the Brabham and Mario Andretti fourth. John Watson was fifth fastest with Ronnie Peterson sixth in the second Lotus. The top 10 was completed by James Hunt (McLaren), Alan Jones (Williams), Riccardo Patrese (Arrows) and Jody Scheckter (Wolf).
In the race the Brabhams and Ferraris set off together at the front and at the hairpin Watson made a bid for the lead, sliding down the inside line, pushing Reutemann and Lauda out, which allowed Villeneuve to dive inside and take the lead. When the situation was unscrambled Villeneuve led Watson, Lauda and Reutemann. The order remained the same until the 10th lap when Watson went out, leaving Villeneuve under pressure from Lauda. But the second Brabham-Alfa went out on lap 28 with electrical trouble and so Villeneuve was left leading Reutemann. Jones was up to third having passed Andretti. On the 39th lap Villeneuve tried to lap Clay Regazzoni's Shadow and crashed out, leaving Reutemann in the lead.
In the second half of the race Andretti was able to catch and repass Jones for second place and the Australian then fell back with fuel pressure problems which dropped him to seventh place.
Reutemann survived a spin to win the race with Andretti just over 10 seconds behind him. Patrick Depailler was third in his Tyrrell with Peterson fourth, Jacques Laffite (Ligier) fifth and Patrese sixth, giving the Arrows team its first World Championship point.