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1970 United States Grand Prix

The 1970 United States Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on October 4, 1970, at the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Race Course in Watkins Glen, New York. It was race 12 of 13 in both the 1970 World Championship of Drivers and the 1970 International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers. The 108-lap race was won by Lotus driver Emerson Fittipaldi after he started from third position. Pedro Rodríguez finished second for the BRM team and Fittipaldi's teammate Reine Wisell came in third.

United States  1970 United States Grand Prix
Race details
Watkins Glen International Track Map-1960-1970.svg
Date October 4, 1970
Official name XIII United States Grand Prix
Location Watkins Glen Grand Prix Race Course
Watkins Glen, New York
Course Permanent road course
Course length 3.78 km (2.35 mi)
Distance 108 laps, 408.2 km (253.8 mi)
Weather Cloudy and dry with temperatures reaching up to 50 °F (10 °C); winds gusting up to 15.9 miles per hour (25.6 km/h)[1]
Pole position
Driver Ferrari
Time 1:03.07
Fastest lap
Driver Belgium Jacky Ickx Ferrari
Time 1:02.74 on lap 105
Podium
First Lotus-Ford
Second BRM
Third Lotus-Ford

Contents

SummaryEdit

23 year old Lotus rookie Emerson Fittipaldi captured his first Grand Prix win in only the fourth start of his Formula One career. Jackie Stewart's brand new Tyrrell had dominated until his engine failed, and the Brazilian inherited the lead with eight laps to go when Mexican Pedro Rodríguez had to stop for fuel. Fittipaldi came home 36 seconds ahead of Rodríguez, while his Lotus teammate Reine Wisell finished third in his Formula One debut.

The Ferrari of Jacky Ickx was fastest in the initial practice session on Friday with a time of 1:03.07, but expectations were high for the Tyrrell 001 of Jackie Stewart, which had nearly won in its first outing in the previous race in Canada.[citation needed] The final session on Saturday was marred by a downpour that left only fifteen minutes of dry track time, and it was not enough for Stewart to knock Ickx off the pole. Fittipaldi, who spent the first half of the season in European Formula Two, was just five hundredths behind Stewart in third.

On Sunday, with a crowd exceeding 100,000 for the second straight year,[citation needed] black clouds and a shower 20 minutes prior to the race caused a lot of excitement among the crews on the grid, as many teams changed to rain tires and back again.[citation needed] By the start, however, all but Clay Regazzoni and Derek Bell had reverted to slicks. Stewart took the lead off the grid, ahead of Rodríguez, as Fittipaldi dropped to eighth behind Ickx, Regazzoni, Chris Amon, John Surtees and Jackie Oliver.

By lap 17, the Ferraris of Ickx and Regazzoni had passed Rodríguez, but by that time, Stewart's lead was nearly twenty seconds. Graham Hill, in a privately entered Lotus 72, came into the pits on lap 30 with fuel leaking into the cockpit,[citation needed] as a fitting had come loose under the seat. The team took 10 minutes to fix the leak, threw some water on Hill, whose overalls were soaked in fuel, and sent him back out. Several laps later, Hill returned to request they find him some dry overalls, as the gasoline was burning his skin. When he stopped again to change clothes, the team said they had not been able to locate any new ones. Hill, however, saw John Surtees, who had retired on the seventh lap, sitting on the wall, and borrowed his overalls and undergarments. The two former World Champions were naked in the pits as Hill was doused with water before donning Surtees' clean clothes and returning to the track,[citation needed] only to retire on lap 72 with a broken clutch.

At half-distance, Stewart was nearly half a lap ahead of Ickx, with Rodríguez in third and Fittipaldi about to be lapped in fourth. Ickx suddenly pitted on lap 57 to repair a broken fuel line, and he rejoined in twelfth place. He fought his way back up to fourth, setting the race's fastest lap three laps from the finish. Ickx had needed to win to have a chance of overtaking Jochen Rindt in the Championship; his fourth place finish meant that Rindt became the first posthumous Formula One World Champion.

On lap 76, with a one-minute cushion, Stewart's Tyrrell began trailing smoke from its left-hand exhaust pipe. The smoke slowly grew worse, and Rodríguez tore into Stewart's lead, taking off five seconds a lap, while the Lotus teammates unlapped themselves. On lap 83, with its oil gone, the Cosworth engine in the Tyrrell seized, leaving Rodríguez with an 18.8 second lead over Fittipaldi, who led Wisell by another 46 seconds.

At the end of the 100th lap, Rodríguez coasted into the pit lane having run out of fuel. BRM refueled the car, but Rodríguez had lost 38 seconds to Fittipaldi, who took the lead. Rodríguez rejoined ahead of the second Lotus of Wisell.

Fittipaldi recalled later, "I took the lead and, going over the finish line, I saw for the first time Colin [Chapman] jumping and throwing his hat, something I'd seen him do for Jim Clark and Graham Hill and Jochen, and I kept saying to myself, 'He's doing that for me. I won the race. I won the US Grand Prix!' It was unbelievable."

His victory was the seventh American win for Lotus, and it clinched the Drivers' Championship for the team's dead leader, Jochen Rindt, and the Constructors' Championship for Lotus and Colin Chapman.[citation needed]

ClassificationEdit

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/retired Grid Points
1 24   Emerson Fittipaldi Lotus-Ford 108 1:57:32.79 3 9
2 19   Pedro Rodríguez BRM 108 + 36.39 4 6
3 23   Reine Wisell Lotus-Ford 108 + 45.17 9 4
4 3   Jacky Ickx Ferrari 107 + 1 Lap 1 3
5 12   Chris Amon March-Ford 107 + 1 Lap 5 2
6 18   Derek Bell Surtees-Ford 107 + 1 Lap 13 1
7 8   Denny Hulme McLaren-Ford 106 + 2 Laps 11  
8 7   Henri Pescarolo Matra 105 + 3 Laps 12  
9 11   Jo Siffert March-Ford 105 + 3 Laps 23  
10 15   Jack Brabham Brabham-Ford 105 + 3 Laps 16  
11 29   Ronnie Peterson March-Ford 104 + 4 Laps 15  
12 16   Rolf Stommelen Brabham-Ford 104 + 4 Laps 19  
13 4   Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 101 + 7 Laps 6  
14 9   Peter Gethin McLaren-Ford 100 + 8 Laps 21  
Ret 1   Jackie Stewart Tyrrell-Ford 82 Oil Leak 2  
Ret 14   Graham Hill Lotus-Ford 72 Clutch 10  
Ret 2   François Cevert March-Ford 62 Wheel 17[2]  
Ret 30   Tim Schenken De Tomaso-Ford 61 Suspension 20  
Ret 27   Jo Bonnier McLaren-Ford 50 Water Pipe 24  
Ret 6   Jean-Pierre Beltoise Matra 27 Handling 18  
Ret 31   Gus Hutchison Brabham-Ford 21 Fuel Leak 22  
Ret 20   Jackie Oliver BRM 14 Engine 7  
Ret 21   George Eaton BRM 10 Engine 14  
Ret 17   John Surtees Surtees-Ford 6 Engine 8  
DNQ 32   Peter Westbury BRM        
DNQ 28   Pete Lovely Lotus-Ford        
DNQ 10   Andrea de Adamich McLaren-Alfa Romeo        
Source:[3]

NotesEdit

  • The following winter, for the second time, the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Corporation was honored by the Grand Prix Drivers Association with the "Best Organized Race Award", shared this time with the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.
  • This was the final year in which the Grand Prix was held on the 2.35 mile layout of the track. Watkins Glen International underwent extensive revisions over the course of 1971, and by that year's race, the track had been lengthened to 3.377 miles. An interim layout was adopted for the Six Hours, as the new section on the exit of the Loop-Chute had not been completed.

Championship standings after the raceEdit

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Weather information for the 1970 United States Grand Prix". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2013-11-17. 
  2. ^ Lang, Mike (1982). Grand Prix! Vol 2. Haynes Publishing Group. p. 137. ISBN 0-85429-321-3. 
  3. ^ "1970 United States Grand Prix". formula1.com. Archived from the original on 31 October 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2015. 

Further readingEdit

  • Doug Nye (1978). The United States Grand Prix and Grand Prize Races, 1908-1977. B. T. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-1263-1
  • Rob Walker (January, 1971). "U.S. Grand Prix". Road & Track, 84-88.
  • Gordon Kirby (October, 1995). "Emerson Who?". RACER, 70-72.


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