The 1978 Formula One Grand Prix Driver's Championship has turned into a dramatic duel between the two Lotus team drivers.
The 1978 Formula One Grand Prix Driver's Championship has turned into a dramatic duel between the two Lotus team drivers. Sweden's Ronnie Peterson won an impressive victory in the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday (13 August) lifting him to 45 point in the championship standings, just nine short of his Lotus teammate Mario ??? of the United States. There are four races left in the 1978 Formula One Grand Prix Championships.
SYNOPSIS: The Austrian Grand Prix at the Southern town of Zeltweg was plagued in it's early stages by cloud bursts that left the track rain-soaked. The practices were also marred by repeated cloudbursts but failed to alter any of top fifteen positions that were wet up on Friday's runs. (11 August). Ronnie Peterson of Sweden took pole position in his sleek black Lotus and maintained his advantage from the start. He was followed closely by Patrick Depailler of France.
In all, six drivers went into spins because their smooth dry weather tyres were unable to grip the rain-soaked tarmac. The race finally had to be halted on the eighth lap for a general tyre change.
When the race restarted, Peterson, quickly regained his edge as the rain cased. But the cars continued to feel the effects of the race with several collisions. The race took a hight toll of cars, with only 11 of the 26 starters crossing the finish line. The casualties including reigning World Champion Niki Lauda of Austria.
Car number six, still in the lead with Peterson threatening to undo his team's carefully laid plans to give their number one driver, Mario Andretti the title. Andretti careered off the track at the very start. Peterson was chased through-out the race by Patrick Depailler of France in a Tyrrell and Gilles Villeneuve of Canada driving a Ferrari.
The cars had to risk pit stops after the second start to change back to suitable tyres for the now dry tarmac.
As seemed inevitable from the beginning of the race, Ronnie Peterson took the checkered flag with an average speed of 189.91 KPH (117.74 MPH). Patrick Depailler came second and Gilles Villeneuve, third.