American Formula One driver, Mario Andretti, tightened his hold on the 1979 World Drivers' Championship with a convincing victory in the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort on Sunday (August 27).
American Formula One driver, Mario Andretti, tightened his hold on the 1979 World Drivers' Championship with a convincing victory in the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort on Sunday (August 27). Second place was taken by Andretti's team mate, Swede Ronnie Peterson, making it the fourth 1-2 finish for the John Player Special - Lotus team this season.
SYNOPSIS: The two black Lotuses led the field from the moment they left the front row of the grid, with Andretti in Number 5 showing the way. The only serious accident in the race happened minutes later when the gold coloured Ford of Ricardo Patrese collided with the blue Tyrrell of Didier Pironi as they turned into pit straight. The two cars were extensively damaged, but both drivers escaped unhurt.
For the twin black Lotuses it was to be the eighth win of the season - with Andretti and Peterson consolidating their positions as the two leading world championship drivers. Towards the end of the race Peterson had a chance to take the lead when Andretti's car suffered exhaust trouble, but strictly obeyed Lotus team orders to stay behind and act as a buffer between his team mate and the rest of the field.
With the two Lotuses showing no sign of easing off, there was little challenge from the rest of the field except for reigning world title-holder, Austrian Niki Lauda, who gave chase until the final stages of the seventy-five lap event. Lauda went on to finish third in his Brabham-Alfa and later acknowledged that the winning pair could not be caught.
Lotus team boss Colin Chapman who designed the winning cars was elated by the result which repeated the double victories achieved in the Grand Prix in Belgium, Spain and France. With three races left to run in Italy, the United States and Canada, Andretti can only now be beaten by his team mate Peterson or by Lauda, who, after yesterday's race, said he would be happy with third in the world championship.