Argentina's Carlos Reutemann drove his Ferrari to a 10 second victory over reigning world champion James Hunt's McLaren in the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix in Sao Paulo on Sunday (23 January).
Argentina's Carlos Reutemann drove his Ferrari to a 10 second victory over reigning world champion James Hunt's McLaren in the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix in Sao Paulo on Sunday (23 January). The 1975 world champion, Austria's Niki Lauda, pushed the Ferrari team's other car into third place.
SYNOPSIS: The race was held on the famous Interlagos track, and 22 cars were flagged away to a flying start.
Local hero Carlos Pace pushed his Brabham through to the early lead.
His stay in front was short lived, however. In the seventh lap, James Hunt's McLaren tipped the nose of Pace's car and the Brazilian was forced into the pits. He eventually finished in ninth place.
Hunt stormed into the lead.
But Reutemann placed his red Ferrari close up in second spot.
Niki Lauda worked his way through the field to take up third position in the other Ferrari.
France's Jacques Laffite, in a Ligier, headed the rest of the pack.
Another Frenchman, Patrick Depailler in an Elf Tyrell, was also prominent in the early stages.
But by the halfway point, it had settled down to a duel between Hunt and Reutemann.
Eight of the 22 starters were involved in crashes. Most blamed the crumbling track surface, but Hunt came in for severe criticism from the Brazilian press for his aggressive driving.
A pit stop by Hunt during which McLaren's front tyres were changed, left the race in Reutemann's lap.
The crowd's interest then centred on Emerson Fittipaldi as he improved into fourth place.
But the glory was Reutemann's. He averaged 112 m.p.h. (181 k.p.h.) around the gruelling 5 mile (8 kilometre) track. Later he said he had expected the Ferrari to perform well and that he thought the race was his when Hunt stopped for the tyre changes.
Reutemann now heads this year's world championship table with 13 points -- four clear of South Africa's Jody Schekter.