United States GP 1979
APRIL 8, 1979
United States GP, 1979
There were no changes in the driver lineup for Long Beach and South African GP winner Gilles Villeneuve took pole position in his 312T4. His former Ferrari teammate Carlos Reutemann was second in the Lotus while Jody Scheckter (Ferrari) was third quickest ahead of the two Ligiers of Patrick Depailler and Jacques Laffite. Mario Andretti completed the top six in his Lotus while the top 10 was rounded off by Jean-Pierre Jarier's Tyrrell, James Hunt (Wolf), Riccardo Patrese (Arrows) and Alan Jones (Williams). The Brabhams were again not very competitive with Niki Lauda 11th and and Nelson Piquet 12th while Jan Lammers did a good job to put his Shadow 14th. The McLarens were uncompetitive with John Watson and Patrick Tambay 18th and 19th. It was a disastrous practice for Renault as both Jean-Pierre Jabouille and Rene Arnoux failed to qualify.
The starting procedure was a mess with Reutemann being forced to start from the pits because of an electrical failure. Villeneuve overshot his grid position and decided to lead the field around again. When the grid arrived on the grid for the second time, Laffite's car locked up and turned sideways and so Villeneuve led half the field around again, the rest having been stopped by officials. The leaders had to then weave through the backmarkers to take up their positions. Finally the race got underway with Villeneuve taking off into the lead with Depailler holding off Scheckter to grab second. In the process the South African damaged a front wing. Further back in the field Tambay ran into the back of Lammers and was launched through the air and landed on top of Lauda's Brabham. Both cars were out.
Villeneuve thus led Depailler, Scheckter and Jarier and Andretti but it was Jarier who was on the move and he soon overtook both Scheckter and Depailler to run second. Depailler then dropped behind Scheckter and the Ferrari driver then attacked Jarier and finally on lap 27 he moved to second place. The two Ferraris were out ahead and interest centered on the battle for third with Jarier under pressure from Depailler, Andretti and Jones. The Williams driver managed to get ahead of Andretti and all three then overtook Jarier and so as the race went into its closing stages Jones was challenging Depailler. On lap 62 he got ahead. In the closing laps Depailler lost fourth gear and dropped behind Andretti, while Jarier had to be happy with sixth.
|7||18||Elio de Angelis||Shadow-Cosworth||78||20|
|8||6||Nelson Piquet||Brabham-Alfa Romeo||78||12|
|dq||3||Didier Pironi||Tyrrell-Cosworth||72||Push Start After Spin||17|
|r||7||John Watson||McLaren-Cosworth||62||Fuel Injection||18|
|dq||9||Hans-Joachim Stuck||ATS-Cosworth||49||Push Start After Spin||21|
|r||29||Riccardo Patrese||Arrows-Cosworth||40||Brake Master Cylinder||9|
|r||2||Carlos Reutemann||Lotus-Cosworth||21||Drive Shaft||2|
|r||14||Emerson Fittipaldi||Copersucar-Cosworth||19||Drive Shaft||16|
|r||20||James Hunt||Wolf-Cosworth||0||Drive Shaft Joint||8|
|r||5||Niki Lauda||Brabham-Alfa Romeo||0||Accident||11|
|ns||15||Jean-Pierre Jabouille||Renault||Accident/ Injury||25|
|ns||16||Rene Arnoux||Renault||Universal Joint||26|