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.
|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)|
|Time||1:02.74 on lap 105|
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. 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, 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. 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, 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, 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.
|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||30||Tim Schenken||De Tomaso-Ford||61||Suspension||20|
|Ret||27||Jo Bonnier||McLaren-Ford||50||Water Pipe||24|
|Ret||31||Gus Hutchison||Brabham-Ford||21||Fuel Leak||22|
|DNQ||10||Andrea de Adamich||McLaren-Alfa Romeo|
- 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.
- "Weather information for the 1970 United States Grand Prix". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
- Lang, Mike (1982). Grand Prix! Vol 2. Haynes Publishing Group. p. 137. ISBN 0-85429-321-3.
- "1970 United States Grand Prix". formula1.com. Archived from the original on 31 October 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
- 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.
1970 Canadian Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
1970 Mexican Grand Prix
1969 United States Grand Prix
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1971 United States Grand Prix