United States GP 1980

MARCH 30, 1980

United States GP, 1980

The only changes to the driver lineup from the field in South Africa a month earlier were because of injury: Stephen South was in the second McLaren in place of Alain Prost (who had a broken wrist) while Jan Lammers was again in the ATS. This was the sensation of qualifying as the Dutchman set the fourth fastest time with the new D4 chassis. Pole position went to Nelson Piquet in the Brabham ahead of Rene Arnoux's Renault and Patrick Depailler's Alfa Romeo. Alan Jones was fifth in his Williams with Bruno Giacomelli sixth in the second Alfa. Then came Carlos Reutemann (Williams), Riccardo Patrese (Arrows), Didier Pironi (Ligier) and Gilles Villeneuve in the Ferrari. Jacques Laffite was a disappointing 13th while World Champion Jody Scheckter was a dismal 16th in his Ferrari.

At the start Piquet managed to get to the first corner just ahead of Arnoux with Depailler third and then Lammers, Jones and Giacomelli three abreast. Behind then Mario Andretti's Lotus ran into the back of Jean-Pierre Jarier's Tyrrell, an accident which caused Zunino to crash. Moments later Lammers's race ended with a driveshaft failure.

This left Piquet, Arnoux and Depailler ahead of Jones, Giacomelli and Patrese. Depailler and Jones were soon ahead of Arnoux and Patrese dropped behind Reutemann but on the fourth lap there were a series of accidents as a result of Giacomelli spinning. Jarier and Reutemann were both eliminated while the promising Elio de Angelis (Lotus) crashed into the rear of Eddie Cheever's Osella and injured his ankle.

Piquet was able to edge away from Depailler with Jones, Arnoux and Patrese chasing. There was then a gap back to Villeneuve and the other midfield survivors. It took Jones until the 18th lap to get into second place while further back Villeneuve had moved up to fourth by overtaking Patrese and Arnoux. Patrese soon followed to get ahead of the Renault, while Villeneuve worked his way past Depailler. The Frenchman's race ended with a rear suspension failure on lap 41 and soon afterwards Villeneuve dropped back after damaging the nose of his car as he lapped Derek Daly.

A lap later Jones disappeared when he collided with Giacomelli, who was a lap behind. All this meant that Piquet was well ahead of Patrese while Arnoux was dropping back towards the Ensign of Clay Regazzoni. Unfortunately on lap 51 Regazzoni`s Ensign suffered a brake failure and crashed into Zunino's abandoned Brabham. It then flew through the air and hit a concrete barrier. Regazzoni suffered spinal injuries.

Piquet duly won his first Grand Prix victory with Patrese second and Emerson Fittipaldi third.

Nelson Piquet Brabham-Cosworth  80 1h50m18.550s  
29 Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Cosworth  80 1h51m07.762s  
20 Emerson Fittipaldi Fittipaldi-Cosworth  80 1h51m37.113s  24 
John Watson McLaren-Cosworth  79  21 
Jody Scheckter Ferrari  79  16 
25 Didier Pironi Ligier-Cosworth  79  
30 Jochen Mass Arrows-Cosworth  79  17 
Derek Daly Tyrrell-Cosworth  79  14 
16 Rene Arnoux Renault  78  
10 15 Jean-Pierre Jabouille Renault  71  11 
21 Keke Rosberg Fittipaldi-Cosworth  58 Engine Overheating 22 
14 Clay Regazzoni Ensign-Cosworth  50 Accident 23 
23 Bruno Giacomelli Alfa Romeo  49 Accident 
27 Alan Jones Williams-Cosworth  47 Accident 
Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari  46 Drive Shaft 10 
22 Patrick Depailler Alfa Romeo  40 Rear Suspension 
26 Jacques Laffite Ligier-Cosworth  36 Puncture/ Suspension 13 
31 Eddie Cheever Osella-Cosworth  11 Drive Shaft 19 
28 Carlos Reutemann Williams-Cosworth  Drive Shaft 
Jean-Pierre Jarier Tyrrell-Cosworth  Accident 12 
12 Elio de Angelis Lotus-Cosworth  Accident 20 
Ricardo Zunino Brabham-Cosworth  Accident 18 
11 Mario Andretti Lotus-Cosworth  Accident 15 
Jan Lammers ATS-Cosworth  Drive Shaft 
nq 18 David Kennedy Shadow-Cosworth    25 
nq 17 Geoff Lees Shadow-Cosworth   Driver Ill 26 
nq Stephen South McLaren-Cosworth    27