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The 1977 United States Grand Prix, otherwise known as the 20th Grand Prix of the United States, was the fifteenth round of the 1977 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at Watkins Glen on 2 October 1977.[1] The race, which was also known as the 1977 United States Grand Prix East, would see Niki Lauda somewhat inevitably crowned as World Champion for the second time.[1]

Qualifying would see Lauda's old rival, James Hunt claim pole position for McLaren, the Brit sharing the front row with Hans-Joachim Stuck.[1] Stuck's teammate John Watson was next ahead of home hero Mario Andretti, while title protagonists Lauda and Jody Scheckter would start from seventh and ninth respectively.[1]

A persistent drizzle had soaked "the Glen" before the start of the race, prompting a late change to "wets", although Watson alone would gamble on slicks ahead of the start.[1] That proved to be a mistake as he instantly fell to the back of the pack, as teammate Stuck stole the lead from Hunt into the first corner.[1]

Stuck would squirm away with the lead in the opening stages, chased by Hunt and Andretti who had been untroubled by the slithering Watson at the start.[1] Behind, Scheckter was truly fighting for the title, passing Lauda, Ronnie Peterson and Carlos Reutemann to move into fourth by the end of lap three.[1]

Another man on the move was Clay Regazzoni, although he was making up ground after a poor performance in qualifying, having to carve his way up into the top ten and beyond.[1] Out front, meanwhile Stuck seemed to be in command, dancing his Brabham-Alfa Romeo just out of reach of Hunt and Andretti, and with a light drizzle keeping the circuit damp, there seemed little chance of that changing.[1]

Yet, on lap fifteen, the German's maiden victory was lost, for his Brabham suddenly jumped out of gear through a corner and shot the car into the dirt.[1] That promoted Hunt into the lead with a ten second gap over Andretti, while Scheckter was pushing hard to catch them as Lauda moved past Peterson and Reutemann.[1]

Indeed, a late charge from Andretti almost threatened to overturn Hunt's advantage, although, in truth, the race had been over since Stuck's fall.[1] Hunt duly cruised home to claim his second victory of the season from Andretti, while Scheckter came home a distant third.[1] That fact, combined with fourth place, ensured that Lauda was World Champion for the second time, a year after he had come within seconds of death at the 1976 German Grand Prix.

After the race, in somewhat typical fashion given the politics of Maranello, Lauda was sacked by Ferrari after signing for the Brabham-Alfa Romeo team for 1978.

BackgroundEdit

The F1 circus headed back across the Atlantic for its final few rounds of the 1977 tour, setting up shop in the ever picturesque Watkins Glen.[2] However, despite falling earlier in the calendar than it had before, the party atmosphere around "the Glen" would be retained, with no major changes to the venue since 1976.[2] Indeed, the only people who would not be enjoying the scenery would be the race teams themselves having to pack-up as soon as the chequered flag fell to make the move north to Canada, set to be held the following week.[2]

Into the entry list, and there were some notable absentees among the privateers, meaning that the field was slashed to a somewhat paltry 27 entries.[2] Among these there would be one fresh face, as Indy Car and Formula 5000 racer Danny Ongais bought himself a drive in an old Penske, which had been retrofitted to PC4-spec by the old Team Penske crew.[2] However, the entry was instead to be handled by American privateer Indy Car team Interscope Racing, who fielded a mix of ex-Parnelli and Penske crew members.[2]

Elsewhere, there were some major political machinations going on at Ferrari, a fallout sparked by Niki Lauda's signing to Brabham-Alfa Romeo for 1978, to which Mr. Ferrari had proclaimed: "Judas for selling out to the competition for thirty pounds of salami".[3] Out went Lauda's major supporters, assistant sports director Sante Ghedini and chief mechanic Ermanno Cuoghi, with Enzo Ferrari instructing Roberto Nosetto to deny the latter access to the pit wall during the weekend.[3] Elsewhere, Mr. Ferrari had been busy scouting around for a replacement driver, and after approaches to Mario Andretti and Patrick Tambay were rejected, the Scuderia ultimately signed young star Gilles Villeneuve, promising the Canadian a drive in his home race the following weekend.[2]

However, for the immediate future, Lauda was still team leader, and arrived at the Glen knowing that he would more than likely take the title by the end of the weekend.[2] He and teammate Carlos Reutemann used the same 312T2Bs they had raced in Monza, although Reutemann was now given priority in terms of engines and crew.[2] Regardless, the Scuderia arrived among the favourites to claim victory, with Lauda himself needing just a single point to claim the ultimate crown.[2]

Lauda's title rival Jody Scheckter, meanwhile, knew that he had to claim victory just to keep his title hopes alive, and so Wolf brought along their two strongest WRs for the South African to race.[2] However, the dark blue-gold cars were getting increasingly outclassed by their more numerous rivals, and the new car, the WR4, was still in development.[2] As such, it seemed as if Scheckter was fighting a losing battle at the Glen, which had been the death of many title challenges in the past.[2]

Elsewhere, Lotus had been busy in the driver market, re-signing Ronnie Peterson for 1978 to become their new number two alongside Andretti.[3] He therefore replaced compatriot Gunnar Nilsson, with the younger Swede doubtlessly quick, but too inconsistent to ever be considered "the real deal".[2] Yet, Nilsson would still race for Team Lotus until the end of the season, and was given the newest 78 for the North American tour.[2]

McLaren had likewise been sorting out their future pilots for 1978, having convinced James Hunt to sign-up after a miserable 1977 campaign.[3] Instead, it was his teammate Jochen Mass who was to be shown the door, to be replaced by the highly rated Patrick Tambay, who would race in the Hong Kong owned Ensign once again at the Glen.[3] Mass, meanwhile, would see out his contract to the end of the season, with himself and Hunt given the team's now familiar trio of M26s to choose from.[2]

Over at Brabham-Alfa Romeo the focus had, unusually, been solely placed on preparing for the US Grand Prix, with John Watson getting a new car after smashing his monocoque in Italy.[2] This new car was the sixth BT45B to be made, while teammate Hans-Joachim Stuck retained his usual charger.[2] The original BT45B carried on as the spare, with no plans to run an additional entry for the rest of the season following their fallout with Martini.[2]

In Ken Tyrrell land there were no major changes to their line-up ahead of the Glen, apart from Peterson's impending departure at the end of the season.[2] The Swede would therefore line-up alongside teammate Patrick Depailler as usual, with both using the "streamlined" P34Bs as usual.[2] They hoped that various tweaks to the suspension set-up would cure some instability issues the P34B had suffered, particularly as Peterson had been rather vocal about the car's shortcomings.[2]

There were changes at Shadow ahead of the visit to New York State, with Riccardo Patrese again absent due to his Formula Two commitments.[2] Many speculated that team director Jackie Oliver would once again clamber into the cockpit, only for the veteran racer to declare that he would miss the race himself due to "business commitments".[2] The seat alongside Alan Jones was therefore handed to ex-Shadow racer Jean-Pierre Jarier, who was without a drive as ATS did not bother making the trip State-side.[2]

Elsewhere, March still had just the one 771 for Ian Scheckter, meaning Alex Ribeiro was stuck with his old 761B seemingly for the rest of the season.[2] Patrick Nève, meanwhile, was the only of the March privateers to make the trip, with Williams Grand Prix Engineering hoping to secure more sponsorship from the US.[2] The other privateer in the field would be the ever present Brett Lunger, who had a very well prepared pair of ex-factory McLaren M23s to choose from.[2]

Renault, somewhat surprisingly, decided to ship their experimental RS01 across the Atlantic for Jean-Pierre Jabouille to race again, with a full set of engine parts sent with him.[2] Ligier-Matra were better equipped, two cars having been prepared for Jacques Laffite, while Emerson Fittipaldi was down to just a single Fittipaldi for the rest of the season.[2] Surtees were similarly unchanged with Hans Binder and Vittorio Brambilla in their cockpits, while Clay Regazzoni raced his familiar Ensign once again, having just signed up to join Shadow for 1978.[2][3]

In terms of the Championship and another podium finish for Lauda at the Italian Grand Prix ensured that the Austrian racer was just a point away from his second World Championship, having left Monza with a 27 point lead. The only man who could mathematically deny the Austrian the crown was Jody Scheckter, although that would only do so if the South African could secure three wins in the final three races, with Lauda failing to score at all. Elsewhere, Andretti had won the battle of Monza but lost the war, the result of his fragile Lotus, while Mass had pulled to within a point of teammate Hunt after the Brit's miserable season.

Elsewhere it was all over in the International Cup for Constructors' hunt, for Ferrari had left Italy with an unassailable 30 point lead over Team Lotus-Ford Cosworth. Indeed, like their lead driver Andretti, the Norfolk squad were left to rue their delicate Lotus 78, which was undoubtedly the quickest car in the field. In contrast, Ferrari had won the battle by virtue of their reliability and consistent development, meaning they could put all their efforts in securing the Drivers' crown for Lauda as soon as possible, in spite of his impending betrayal.

Entry listEdit

The full entry list for the 1977 United States Grand Prix is outlined below:

No. Driver Entrant Constructor Chassis Engine Model Tyre
1 United Kingdom James Hunt United Kingdom Marlboro Team McLaren McLaren M26 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
2 West Germany Jochen Mass United Kingdom Marlboro Team McLaren McLaren M26 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
3 Sweden Ronnie Peterson United Kingdom Elf Team Tyrrell Tyrrell P34B Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
4 France Patrick Depailler United Kingdom Elf Team Tyrrell Tyrrell P34B Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
5 United States Mario Andretti United Kingdom John Player Team Lotus Lotus 78 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
6 Sweden Gunnar Nilsson United Kingdom John Player Team Lotus Lotus 78 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom Martini Racing Brabham BT45B Alfa Romeo 115-12 3.0 F12 G
8 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck United Kingdom Martini Racing Brabham BT45B Alfa Romeo 115-12 3.0 F12 G
9 Brazil Alex Ribeiro United Kingdom Hollywood March Racing March 761B Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
10 South Africa Ian Scheckter United Kingdom Team Rothmans International March 771 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
11 Austria Niki Lauda Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 312T2B Ferrari 015 3.0 F12 G
12 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 312T2B Ferrari 015 3.0 F12 G
14 United States Danny Ongais United States Interscope Racing Penske PC4 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
15 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille France Equipe Renault Elf Renault RS01 Renault EF1 1.5 V6t M
16 France Jean-Pierre Jarier United Kingdom Shadow Racing Team Shadow DN8 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
17 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Shadow Racing Team Shadow DN8 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
18 Austria Hans Binder United Kingdom Team Surtees Surtees TS19 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
19 Italy Vittorio Brambilla United Kingdom Beta Team Surtees Surtees TS19 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
20 South Africa Jody Scheckter Canada Walter Wolf Racing Wolf WR1 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
22 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni United Kingdom Team Tissot Ensign with Castrol Ensign N177 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
23 France Patrick Tambay Hong Kong Theodore Racing Hong Kong Ensign N177 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
24 United Kingdom Rupert Keegan United Kingdom Penthouse Rizla Racing Hesketh 308E Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
25 United Kingdom Ian Ashley United Kingdom Penthouse Rizla Racing Hesketh 308E Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier Gitanes Ligier JS7 Matra MS76 3.0 V12 G
27 Belgium Patrick Nève United Kingdom Williams Grand Prix Engineering March 761 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
28 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Brazil Copersucar-Fittipaldi Fittipaldi F5 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
30 United States Brett Lunger United States Chesterfield Racing McLaren M23 Ford Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G
Source:[4]

Practice OverviewEdit

QualifyingEdit

Practice/qualifying were scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Watkins Glen, with the usual split of three "timed" sessions, complemented by a lone "untimed" period.[2] Friday would see two of the "timed" sessions, both held in fine, but cool, conditions, while Saturday's running was severely hampered by rain, particularly the final "timed" session.[2] As for a target time, the "aces" in the field would be looking to beat a 1:42.003, a time which had secured pole position for Niki Lauda back in 1975.[2]

Friday QualifyingEdit

From the very start of the session there would be one driver who dictated the pace at the Glen, and it was not one of the main title protagonists.[2] Instead, it was James Hunt, who was to be seen gently drifting his McLaren around the circuit at a rapid pace, more than half a second clear of the chasing pack throughout.[2] Indeed, a 1:41.408 saw the Brit end the morning over half a second faster than second placed Hans-Joachim Stuck, with those two the only drivers to set times under Lauda's old mark.[2]

Elsewhere, the rest of the field were slowly getting up to speed after a long trip across the Atlantic, with most encountering small issues early on.[2] Clay Regazzoni was one of those, with his Ensign completing the session with the Swiss racer needing to change his gear ratios, only to find that he had in fact been running with a gearbox on the edge of failure.[2] The sister car of Patrick Tambay, however, was the exception to the rule, with the Frenchman's running ruined early on as his Ford Cosworth engine overheated in the early stages.[2]

The afternoon session on Friday was for more exciting although it was Hunt who, once again, dictated the pace throughout.[2] Indeed, it took the Brit only a handful of laps to get under his early mark, before claiming a 1:40.863 midway through the session.[2] On his next run, the Brit was on for an even faster time, until he over-optimistically hit the throttle while riding the kerb at turn ten, and duly sent his McLaren backwards into the barriers.[2] The result was a ruined right-rear suspension unit, and very minor damage to the monocoque.[2]

Elsewhere, Stuck confirmed his personal pace by recording a 1:41.138, despite having to switch to the spare car Brabham-Alfa Romeo after cracks were found in his race car's gearbox casing.[2] Teammate John Watson was next, proving that the Brabham-Alfas were particularly potent at the Glen, recording a 1:41.193 to go third overall.[2] Next up was Mario Andretti, disappointed that his Lotus 78 was not the fastest thing in the field, while future teammate Ronnie Peterson was the fifth and final man to record a sub-1:42.000 time.[2]

Over at Ferrari the post-Lauda fallout was getting ridiculous, with the Austrian's chief mechanic barred from the pitwall during the session, a ban that was sustained for the rest of the weekend.[2] That would hamper his personal pace to the point that he slipped behind teammate Carlos Reutemann, and only just finished ahead of title rival Jody Scheckter.[2] The South African, however, was having his own dramas with the Wolf, which was rarely pointing in a straight line, even on the Glen's straights.[2]

Into the stragglers, and Gunnar Nilsson had a miserable afternoon, a brake line failure late in the morning session meaning he had to bed in his new brake system after a long delay.[2] As such, the Swede was well off the pace of Andretti out front, and getting beaten by Vittorio Brambilla, who had an unusually quiet day's running.[2] The Renault was likewise untroubled, while Jochen Mass suffered a legion of minor issues in the second McLaren to leave him at the back of the field.[2] Tambay, meanwhile, would fail to appear at all, meaning he was in danger of missing out on a spot on the grid in 27th.[2]

Saturday QualifyingEdit

The Saturday morning "untimed" session went by untroubled, although dark clouds had gathered around the Glen overnight, and duly dumped their contents at the end of that session.[2] As such, there would be no changes to the grid on Saturday, meaning Hunt had a decisive pole, while Tambay failed to qualify.[2] In contrast, Danny Ongais had been guaranteed a maiden Grand Prix start, despite being five seconds off the ultimate pace, and had no need to risk his car to try and qualify the day before the race.[2]

Regardless, almost all of the field would venture out into the wet, just in-case the rain hung around for Sunday.[2] Alan Jones duly emerged with the fastest time, a 2:07.127, just ahead of Stuck, who was second for the third successive session with a 2:07.750, with no-one else in sight.[2] Indeed, Peterson led the next group, although everyone, including the Swede himself, was five seconds behind or more.[2]

Qualifying ResultsEdit

The full qualifying results for the 1977 United States Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Time Gap
Q1 Q2 Q3
1 1 United Kingdom James Hunt United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:41.408 1:40.863 2:14.537
2 8 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 1:41.989 1:41.138T 2:07.750 +0.275s
3 7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 1:42.548 1:41.193 2:21.741 +0.330s
4 5 United Kingdom Mario Andretti United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1:42.496 1:41.481 2:13.294 +0.618s
5 3 Sweden Ronnie Peterson United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:42.487 1:41.908 2:12.368 +1.045s
6 12 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Italy Ferrari 1:42.862 1:41.952 2:33.689 +1.089s
7 11 Austria Niki Lauda Italy Ferrari 1:43.405 1:42.089 +1.226s
8 4 France Patrick Depailler United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:42.810 1:42.238 2:24.119 +1.375s
9 20 South Africa Jody Scheckter Canada Wolf-Ford Cosworth 1:43.236 1:42.315 2:19.758 +1.452s
10 26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier-Matra 1:42.640 1:43.382 3:02.721 +1.777s
11 19 Italy Vittorio Brambilla United Kingdom Surtees-Ford Cosworth 1:43.195 1:42.786 2:15.323 +1.923s
12 6 Sweden Gunnar Nilsson United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 1:48.355 1:42.815 2:15.340 +1.952s
13 17 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 1:43.019 1:43.310 2:07.127 +2.156s
14 15 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille France Renault 1:45.656 1:43.069 2:13.811 +2.206s
15 2 West Germany Jochen Mass United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:43.827 1:43.242 2:12.514 +2.379s
16 16 France Jean-Pierre Jarier United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 1:44.288 1:43.516 2:33.269 +2.653s
17 30 United States Brett Lunger United States McLaren-Ford Cosworth 1:43.698 1:44.009 2:24.466 +2.835s
18 28 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 1:43.938 1:44.070 2:27.587 +3.075s
19 22 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni United Kingdom Ensign-Ford Cosworth 1:44.208 2:24.629 +3.345s
20 24 United Kingdom Rupert Keegan United Kingdom Hesketh-Ford Cosworth 1:44.550 1:45.049 2:16.833 +3.687s
21 10 South Africa Ian Scheckter United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth 1:45.338 1:44.702 +3.839s
22 25 United Kingdom Ian Ashley United Kingdom Hesketh-Ford Cosworth 1:45.857 1:45.100 2:33.137 +4.237s
23 9 Brazil Alex Ribeiro United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth 1:46.343 1:45.473 2:22.111 +4.610s
24 27 Belgium Patrick Nève United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth 1:48.184 1:45.845 +4.982s
25 18 Austria Hans Binder United Kingdom Surtees-Ford Cosworth 1:45.909 1:45.880 2:43.293 +5.017s
26 14 United States Danny Ongais United States Penske-Ford Cosworth 1:47.240 1:46.070 2:22.299 +5.207s
DNQ 23 France Patrick Tambay Hong Kong Ensign-Ford Cosworth 1:49.435 +8.572s
Source:[2][5]
  • Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.
  • T Indicates a test/spare car.

GridEdit

Pos Pos
Driver Driver
______________
Row 1 ______________ 1
2 James Hunt
Hans-Joachim Stuck ______________
Row 2 ______________ 3
4 John Watson
Mario Andretti ______________
Row 3 ______________ 5
6 Ronnie Peterson
Carlos Reutemann ______________
Row 4 ______________ 7
8 Niki Lauda
Patrick Depailler ______________
Row 5 ______________ 9
10 Jody Scheckter
Jacques Laffite ______________
Row 6 ______________ 11
12 Vittorio Brambilla
Gunnar Nilsson ______________
Row 7 ______________ 13
14 Alan Jones
Jean-Pierre Jabouille ______________
Row 8 ______________ 15
16 Jochen Mass
Jean-Pierre Jarier ______________
Row 9 ______________ 17
18 Brett Lunger
Emerson Fittipaldi ______________
Row 10 ______________ 19
20 Clay Regazzoni
Rupert Keegan ______________
Row 11 ______________ 21
22 Ian Scheckter
Ian Ashley ______________
Row 12 ______________ 23
24 Alex Ribeiro
Patrick Nève ______________
Row 13 ______________ 25
26 Hans Binder
Danny Ongais ______________

RaceEdit

Unfortunately, Sunday would dawn more akin to Saturday than Friday, meaning it was a cold and, ultimately, wet afternoon for racing.[2] Indeed, after a dry warm-up session the clouds finally dumped their load, with a light drizzle evolving into a steady stream of rain as the field assembled on the grid.[2] As such, everyone bar John Watson would switch to wet tyres for the start, with the Brit hoping that the rain would pass in the early stages of the race.[2]

ReportEdit

However, the Ulsterman's gamble was not to pay off, with the #7 Brabham-Alfa Romeo disappearing to the back of the field in the middle of the spray.[2] This was a stark contrast to teammate Hans-Joachim Stuck, who shot past pole sitter James Hunt off the line to take the lead into turn one.[2] The rest of the field, including Hunt, would be covered by the spray behind the #8 Brabham, with the entire fielding making it through somehow without issue.[2]

Indeed, there would be no issues on the opening lap, with Stuck flashing across the line just ahead of Hunt and Mario Andretti, who was up from fourth on the grid.[2] A small gap then followed before Carlos Reutemann led the next batch, having overtaken Ronnie Peterson off the line as the Swede drifted around Watson off the line.[2] Niki Lauda was next ahead of sole title rival Jody Scheckter, while Watson was running in the back group, although still had ten drivers behind him.[2]

Come the end of the second tour it was largely unchanged out front, with Stuck still leading, while Andretti attacked Hunt, albeit briefly.[2] Behind, Alan Jones was on the move, picking his way into the top ten, demonstrating that his decision to push during on Saturday afternoon was a wise decision.[2] As the Australian climbed Watson continued to fall, with the Ulsterman still fighting on with his slicks, despite falling to the very back of the field, only just ahead of Patrick Nève.[2]

As the early laps passed most of the attention was placed on Jones, who managed to drag his Shadow onto the back of Peterson at the end of the third lap.[2] Unfortunately, Jones' charge would end on the following lap, for the Australian sent his Shadow slithering along the outside of the Tyrrell into turn five, only to find that he lacked the room to complete the move.[2] As such, Jones' car went skating off into the barriers, partially destroying the monocoque, leaving Jones to make his own arrangements to get back to the pits to launch a tirade at Peterson's driving.[2]

Another early casualty would include the debuting Danny Ongais at the back of the field, with the American sliding off the circuit on lap seven and into the barriers.[2] A couple of laps later and Jochen Mass was out with water in his electrics, while Ian Scheckter destroyed a lot of catch fencing at the Chicane.[2] Out front, meanwhile, Stuck had lost the use of his clutch, and it was only the German's brute strength that kept the Brabham in the race.[2]

Ultimately, however, the lack of a clutch would prove to be Stuck's downfall, for his Brabham jumped out of gear rounding one of the corners at the back of the circuit, which duly threw the German off the tarmac.[2] Stuck was therefore powerless to prevent his car sliding into the catch fencing, smashing the monocoque.[2] He climbed out of the tangled mess unaided, as Hunt assumed the lead a few seconds clear of second placed Andretti.[2]

As this had been going on, Jody Scheckter had moved past Reutemann and Regazzoni to move into fourth, before picking up third as Stuck climbed out of his ruined cockpit.[2] The South African duly went chasing off after Andretti, although both the American, and race leader Hunt, were able to extend their advantage over the chasing pack.[2] Behind him, Lauda had followed him through to claim fourth, while Regazzoni was left to harass Reutemann for fifth.[2]

Elsewhere, Peterson would come under more fire for his defensive driving, this time while battling compatriot Gunnar Nilsson down the back straight on lap eighteen.[2] Indeed, as Nilsson, who had fought up from the back of the grid at the start, drew alongside the Tyrrell he found that his impending replacement was moving across towards his Lotus.[2] So relentless was Peterson's coming that Nilsson was forced onto the grass, and duly went spinning into the barriers and out of the race.[2]

A few laps later and Peterson was at it again, albeit to a less severe extent while fending off Jacques Laffite.[2] Laffite made several attempts to pass the Swede's Tyrrell, only to find that Peterson would squeeze him towards the grass every time he got alongside.[2] Ultimately, however, Laffite would manage to pull off a dive into turn five, catching Peterson out on the brakes.[2]

Elsewhere, Watson was making up for his mistake of starting on slicks, setting a tremendous pace at the back of the field having stopped for wets on lap eight.[2] Indeed, the Ulsterman was soon weaving his way through the back markers, Nève his first victim on lap fifteen, before steadily catching onto the back of the pack.[2] Indeed, a series of excellent moves, including driving right around the outside of Patrick Depailler at turn five, carried Watson into the top ten by lap 38, only for the Ulsterman to stop for a fresh set of tyres.[2]

Watson duly rejoined down in eleventh before getting back into the top ten, only to be forced to stop again on lap 42.[2] This time he dropped down to fourteenth, having seriously contemplated switching back to slicks as the circuit had begun to dry.[2] Ultimately, however, the Ulsterman stuck with a set of wets for his third stop of the afternoon, and was resigned to saving the tyres rather than push as hard as he could.[2]

Brambilla US Grand Prix 1977

Vittorio Brambilla battles his nose-less Surtees to the flag at the Glen.

Peterson, meanwhile, would see his aggressive driving punished by two visits to the pits, one for a new set of wets on lap 34, before deciding to stop again on lap 40 for slicks.[2] However, Tyrrell's indecision across the two stops, plus the fact that the circuit was still too wet for slicks, meant that the Swede dropped right to the back of the field.[2] Indeed, only Vittorio Brambilla remained behind the now slick-shod Tyrrell after Peterson's stop, with the Italian's pace compromised having lost his nose early on.[2] Most of that time loss had been due to Brambilla's stop to have the nose replaced, where it was found that the radiators were so distorted that it was impossible to mount a new nose section properly.[2]

Into the closing stages and Hunt's pace was beginning to falter, with the Brit nursing his wet tyres on the drying tarmac while also having to watch his engine temperature.[2] This was compounded by his belief that he was carrying a slow puncture, meaning allowing Andretti to suddenly start carving into his lead with ten laps to go.[2] Indeed, with two laps to go the American was closing in at around a second per lap, and was within two seconds of the Brit's car.[2]

However, Hunt did have things in control, and as the McLaren pitcrew, including boss Teddy Meyer waved frantically at him to pick up the pace at the start of the final lap, Hunt pulled out half a second on Andretti to claim victory for the second time in 1977.[2] Andretti came home a frustrated second ahead of Scheckter, while fourth place was enough for Lauda to secure his second World Championship crown.[2] Regazzoni was next having elbowed his way past Reutemann just before half distance, leaving the Argentine to fend off a late challenge from Laffite for sixth in the closing stages.[2]

ResultsEdit

The full race results for the 1977 United States Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 1 United Kingdom James Hunt United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 59 1:58:23.267 1 9
2 5 United States Mario Andretti United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 59 +2.026s 4 6
3 20 South Africa Jody Scheckter Canada Wolf-Ford Cosworth 59 +1:18.879 9 4
4 11 Austria Niki Lauda Italy Ferrari 59 +1:40.615 7 3
5 22 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni United Kingdom Ensign-Ford Cosworth 59 +1:48.138 19 2
6 12 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Italy Ferrari 58 +1 Lap 6 1
7 26 France Jacques Laffite France Ligier-Matra 58 +1 Lap 10
8 24 United Kingdom Rupert Keegan United Kingdom Hesketh-Ford Cosworth 58 +1 Lap 20
9 16 France Jean-Pierre Jarier United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 58 +1 Lap 16
10 30 United States Brett Lunger United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 57 +2 Laps 17
11 18 Austria Hans Binder United Kingdom Surtees-Ford Cosworth 57 +2 Laps 25
12 7 United Kingdom John Watson United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 57 +2 Laps 3
13 28 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 57 +2 Laps 18
14 4 France Patrick Depailler United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 56 +3 Laps 8
15 9 Brazil Alex Ribeiro United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth 56 +3 Laps 23
16 3 Sweden Ronnie Peterson United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 56 +3 Laps 5
17 25 United Kingdom Ian Ashley United Kingdom Hesketh-Ford Cosworth 55 +4 Laps 22
18 27 Belgium Patrick Nève United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth 55 +4 Laps 24
19 19 Italy Vittorio Brambilla United Kingdom Surtees-Ford Cosworth 54 +5 Laps 11
Ret 15 France Jean-Pierre Jabouille France Renault 30 Alternator 14
Ret 6 Sweden Gunnar Nilsson United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 17 Accident 12
Ret 8 Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 14 Accident 2
Ret 10 South Africa Ian Scheckter United Kingdom March-Ford Cosworth 10 Accident 21
Ret 2 Germany Jochen Mass United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 8 Fuel Pump 15
Ret 14 United States Danny Ongais United States Penske-Ford Cosworth 6 Accident 26
Ret 17 Australia Alan Jones United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 3 Accident 13
DNQ 23 France Patrick Tambay United Kingdom Ensign-Ford Cosworth
Source: [6]

MilestonesEdit

StandingsEdit

Fourth place at Watkins Glen proved enough for Niki Lauda to earn his second Championship crown, for Jody Scheckter had failed to win the race. Indeed, with Mario Andretti claiming second on the day it meant that it was the Italian-American, not the South African, that led the chase to be runner-up, with the former seeming to have an advantage in terms of equipment. They were joined in the fight for second by Carlos Reutemann and James Hunt, although Hunt would need two wins just to overhaul Andretti, if Andretti failed to score.

Ferrari had arrived in the United States as the International Cup for Constructors Champions, so the fight for second had taken precedent at the Glen. In this case, it was Lotus-Ford Cosworth that had the advantage, the Norfolk squad all but sealing their position in second with 62 points. McLaren-Ford Cosworth, meanwhile, had moved up to second, fifteen points away, overtaking Wolf-Ford Cosworth ahead of the latter's home race.

Drivers' World Championship
Pos. Driver Pts. +/-
1 Austria Niki Lauda 72
2 United States Mario Andretti 47 ▲1
3 South Africa Jody Scheckter 46 ▼1
4 Argentina Carlos Reutemann 36
5 United Kingdom James Hunt 31
6 West Germany Jochen Mass 21
7 Sweden Gunnar Nilsson 20
8 France Jacques Laffite 16
9 Australia Alan Jones 16
10 West Germany Hans-Joachim Stuck 12
11 Brazil Emerson Fittipaldi 11
12 France Patrick Depailler 10
13 United Kingdom John Watson 9
14 Sweden Ronnie Peterson 7
15 Brazil Carlos Pace 6
16 Italy Vittorio Brambilla 5
17 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni 5
18 France Patrick Tambay 3
19 Italy Renzo Zorzi 1
20 France Jean-Pierre Jarier 1
International Cup for Constructors
Pos. Team Pts. +/-
1 Italy Ferrari 89 (91)
2 United Kingdom Lotus-Ford Cosworth 62
3 United Kingdom McLaren-Ford Cosworth 47 ▲1
4 Canada Wolf-Ford Cosworth 46 ▼1
5 United Kingdom Brabham-Alfa Romeo 27
6 United Kingdom Shadow-Ford Cosworth 17
7 United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 17
8 France Ligier-Matra 16
9 Brazil Fittipaldi-Ford Cosworth 11
10 United Kingdom Ensign-Ford Cosworth 8
11 United Kingdom Surtees-Ford Cosworth 5
12 United States Penske-Ford Cosworth 1
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.

ReferencesEdit

Images and Videos:

References:

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 'United States GP, 1977', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2014), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr295.html, (Accessed 30/05/2018)
  2. 2.000 2.001 2.002 2.003 2.004 2.005 2.006 2.007 2.008 2.009 2.010 2.011 2.012 2.013 2.014 2.015 2.016 2.017 2.018 2.019 2.020 2.021 2.022 2.023 2.024 2.025 2.026 2.027 2.028 2.029 2.030 2.031 2.032 2.033 2.034 2.035 2.036 2.037 2.038 2.039 2.040 2.041 2.042 2.043 2.044 2.045 2.046 2.047 2.048 2.049 2.050 2.051 2.052 2.053 2.054 2.055 2.056 2.057 2.058 2.059 2.060 2.061 2.062 2.063 2.064 2.065 2.066 2.067 2.068 2.069 2.070 2.071 2.072 2.073 2.074 2.075 2.076 2.077 2.078 2.079 2.080 2.081 2.082 2.083 2.084 2.085 2.086 2.087 2.088 2.089 2.090 2.091 2.092 2.093 2.094 2.095 2.096 2.097 2.098 2.099 2.100 2.101 2.102 2.103 2.104 2.105 2.106 A.H., 'The United States Grand Prix: Hunt triumphs in the wet', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport, 01/11/1977), https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/november-1977/51/united-states-grand-prix, (Accessed 30/05/2018)
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 15. USA East 1977', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1977/etats-unis-est.aspx#, (Accessed 30/05/2018)
  4. 'USA East 1977: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1977/etats-unis-est/engages.aspx, (Accessed 30/05/2018)
  5. 'USA East 1977: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), http://www.statsf1.com/en/1977/etats-unis-est/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 30/05/2018)
  6. "1977 USA East Grand Prix". formula1.com. https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1977/races/388/usa-east.html. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 '1977 United States GP', chicacef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2018), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1977&gp=United%20States%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 30/05/2018)
V T E United States United States Grand Prix
Circuits Sebring (1959), Riverside (1960), Watkins Glen (1961–1980), Phoenix (1989–1991), Indianapolis (2000–2007), Austin (2012–present)
CircuitoftheAmericas2012
Formula One Races 1959 • 1960 • 1961 • 1962 • 1963 • 1964 • 1965 • 1966 • 1967 • 1968 • 1969 • 1970 • 1971 • 1972 • 1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981–1988 • 1989 • 1990 • 1991 • 1992–1999 • 2000 • 2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008–2011 • 2012 • 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 2018 • 2019
Non-F1 races 1908 • 1909 • 1910 • 1911 • 1912 • 1913 • 1914 • 1915 • 1916 • 1917–1957 • 1958
See also United States Grand Prix West • Indianapolis 500 • Detroit Grand Prix • Caesars Palace Grand Prix • Dallas Grand Prix • Questor Grand Prix
V T E 1977 Formula One Season
Teams Apollon • Brabham • Boro • BRM • Ensign • Ferrari • Fittipaldi • Hesketh • Kojima • LEC • Ligier • Lotus • March • McGuire • McLaren • Penske • Renault • Shadow • Surtees • Tyrrell • Wolf
Engines Alfa Romeo • BRM • Ferrari • Ford Cosworth • Matra • Renault
Drivers Andersson • Andretti • Ashley • Binder • Bleekemolen • Brambilla • Depailler • de Dryver • Edwards • Ertl • Fittipaldi • Francia • Giacomelli • Hayje • Henton • Heyer • Hoffman • Hoshino • Hunt • Ickx • Jabouille • Jarier • Jones • Keegan • Kessel • Kozarowitzky • Laffite • Lauda • Leoni • Lunger • Mass • McGuire • Merzario • Neve • Nilsson • Oliver • Ongais • Pace • Patrese • Perkins • Peterson • Pilette • Purley • Pryce • Rebaque • Regazzoni • Reutemann • Ribeiro • I. Scheckter • J. Scheckter • Schuppan • Stuck • Sutcliffe • Takahashi • Takahara • Tambay • Trimmer • Villeneuve • de Villota • Watson • Zorzi
Cars Apollon Fly • Brabham BT45 • Boro 001 • BRM P201 • BRM P207 • Ensign N177 • Ferrari 312T • Fittipaldi FD04 • Fittipaldi F5 • Hesketh 308 • Kojima KE009 • LEC CRP1 • Ligier JS7 • Lotus 78 • March 761 • March 771 • McGuire BM1 • McLaren M23 • McLaren M26 • Penske PC4 • Renault RS01 • Shadow DN5 • Shadow DN8 • Surtees TS19 • Tyrrell 007 • Tyrrell P34 • Wolf WR1 • Wolf WR2 • Wolf WR3
Tyres Bridgestone • Dunlop • Goodyear • Michelin
Races Argentina • Brazil • South Africa • United States West • Spain • Monaco • Belgium • Sweden • France • Britain • Germany • Austria • Netherlands • Italy • United States • Canada • Japan
Non-championship Races Race of Champions
See also 1976 Formula One Season • 1978 Formula One Season • Category
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