Clay Regazzoni of Switzerland led from start to finish in the First United States Grand Prix West in Long Beach on Sunday (28 March) to win ahead of Ferrari team mate, Austrian Niki Lauda.
GV cars line up on grid at start, and through first corner (2 shots)
TOP VIEW cars through bend
LV Marshall waving yellow flag as course official push Drambilla's March away
TOP VIEW Clay Reggazzoni leading field watched by crowd (5 shots)
CU back markers through bend
MV Scheckter's car being towed away
MV Alan Jones' machine shows time board
MV Clay Regazzoni leading field on his own (4 shots)
MVs Niki Lauda chasing (2 shots)
LV Queen Mary PULL BACK cars through bend
MV Fittipaldi chases Lauda down past pits
HIGH ANGLE care through bend
MV Ronnie Petersen and wife in crowd watching cars through bend
MV Regazzoni through bend
GV Regazzoni past chequered flag
MV winning car surrounded by mechanics
Initials RH/2300 RH/MW/DK/2337
SPORT: MOTOR RACING
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Clay Regazzoni of Switzerland led from start to finish in the First United States Grand Prix West in Long Beach on Sunday (28 March) to win ahead of Ferrari team mate, Austrian Niki Lauda.
The Swiss driver, streaked away from the opposition over the twisting bumpy circuit through the streets of the southern Californian port. He averaged 85.57mph (137.69 kmh).
The demanding track took its toll of cars and drivers. Only five of the 20 starters finished the 80 laps of the 2.02 (3.25km) course. Eight were knocked out of the race by crashes or mechanical failure.
The race, the third in the formula one series, was a setback to the championship prospects of Britain's James Hunt, who was put out of race after a crash with Patrick Depailler of France in the third lap.
Depailler went on to gain third place.
Hunt appeared in the press room later and accused Depailler of "flagrant stupidity". When Depailler got onto the rostrum to deny Hunt's charge of bad driving, the Briton, with a plastic cup of beer in his hand shouted to him: "I've got black marks on my car....you should watch it".
Hunt, who was second in the championship points table, has dropped back to fifth. Lauda, winner of the championship last year and of the first two races this year and of the first two races this year kept his lead with 24 points.
There will be another United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, New York, in October this year.
SYNOPSIS: Cars line up for the start of the first United States grand prix West on Sunday. The race was run through the bumpy, twisty streets of the southern california port of Long Beach. And from pole position, Clay Regazzoni of Switzerland went into the lead, which he was to keep.
After the congested start, four cars were forced out by collisions in the first lap.
But with the confusion behind him, the moustached Swiss streaked further and in front.
About 72,000 people paid to see the race from within the circuit area, and another 28,00 watched for free from buildings around the track.
As the race progressed more cars dropped out with mechanical failure or as a result of collisions.
Meanwhile Regazzonni had little trouble over the tight circuit. He averaged 85.5 miles an hour, and along the Shoreline Drive straight was timed at more than 190 miles per hour.
His Ferrari team mate, Niki Lauda of Austria was lying second, but at no stage threatened the leader. Britain's James Hunt was forced out after a collision in the third lap with France's Patrick Depailler.
Lauda was forced to slow late in the 80-lap race with transmission troubles.
But he still finished well ahead of third placed driver, Depailler.
But there was little doubt about the eventual winner, Regazzoni.
The nine points he earns for the victory puts him in third place in the championship behind Lauds and Depailler.