1972 South African Grand Prix

The 1972 South African Grand Prix, formally the Sixth AA Grand Prix of South Africa (Afrikaans: Sesde AA Suid-Afrikaanse Grand Prix[1]), was a Formula One motor race held at Kyalami on 4 March 1972. It was race 2 of 12 in both the 1972 World Championship of Drivers and the 1972 International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers. The 79-lap race was won by McLaren driver Denny Hulme after he started from fifth position. Emerson Fittipaldi finished second for the Lotus team and McLaren driver Peter Revson came in third.

1972 South African Grand Prix
The Kyalami Circuit (1967–1985)
The Kyalami Circuit (1967–1985)
Race details
Date 4 March 1972
Official name Sixth AA Grand Prix of South Africa
Location Kyalami, Midrand, Transvaal Province, South Africa
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 4.104 km (2.550 mi)
Distance 79 laps, 324.216 km (201.458 mi)
Weather Sunny, Hot, Dry
Pole position
Driver Tyrrell-Ford
Time 1:17.0
Fastest lap
Driver United Kingdom Mike Hailwood Surtees-Ford
Time 1:18.9
First McLaren-Ford
Second Lotus-Ford
Third McLaren-Ford
Lap leaders



A total of 27 cars were entered for this race. Although there was more than a month between the Argentine Grand Prix and South Africa, most cars were transported direct to Kyalami from Buenos Aires. There were few changes in the entry.[2]

Having missed the trip to Argentina due to a clashing Formula 5000 race, Mike Hailwood returned to Team Surtees. Jean-Pierre Beltoise also missed Buenos Aires, due to legal problems following an accident that had claimed the life of Ignazio Giunti in January 1971. Team Williams ran a second March-Cosworth for rising star Carlos Pace alongside their regular driver, Henri Pescarolo. A new team arrived in South Africa, the Team Eifelland Caravans outfit making its first appearance with Rolf Stommelen down to drive. As usual for Kyalami, the field was bolstered by local entries: Dave Charlton in a Lucky Strike-sponsored Lotus 72D, and pair of cars from Team Gunston for John Love (Surtees TS9) and Willie Ferguson (Brabham BT33).[2]


The reigning World Champion, and winner of the opening round, Jackie Stewart secured pole position, for Elf Team Tyrrell, averaging a speed of 119.221 mph. Stewart beat Clay Regazzoni (Ferrari) and Emerson Fittipaldi (Lotus) by a few tenth of a second. Mike Hailwood was next up on the second row, joined by Denny Hulme in his McLaren M19A. A pair of Ferrari 312B2 were on row three, with Mario Andretti ahead of Jacky Ickx. They were joined by François Cevert in the second Tyrrell.[2][3]


The race was held over 79 laps of the Kyalami circuit. At the start, Denny Hulme briefly held the lead before Jackie Stewart moved ahead, meanwhile Clay Regazzoni had a bad get away and was back in the midfield. The Tyrrell 003 of Stewart quickly built a lead while the battle for second between Hulme, Emerson Fittipaldi and Mike Hailwood detached itself from the rest of the field. The Yardley Team McLaren of Hulme began to overheat and this saw him dropped behind his rivals. Hailwood, a few laps later, was able to pass Fittipaldi to move up to second and began to challenge Stewart for the lead. On lap 28, the rear suspension of Hailwood's Surtees TS9B failed and he retired from the race. Although this left Fittipaldi to attack Stewart, the Tyrrell driver stayed ahead, only to suffer a gearbox failure on lap 45. Fittipaldi inherited the lead, with Hulme right on his tail. The Brazilian now ran into handling problems and this enable Hulme to regain the lead on lap 57, from which he would go to win. Fittipaldi was still in a strong second place as the gap between him and the third place, Chris Amon was large. The gap became even bigger where Amon's Matra MS120C developed a serious vibration. This saw him drop down the order and finish 3 laps adrift in 15th. Third place thus went to the second McLaren, of Peter Revson.[2][3]

Hulme won in a time of 1hr 45.49.1mins., averaging a speed of 114.898 mph, and was over 14 seconds ahead of Fititpaldi. Revson was a further 12.7 seconds behind. Only other drivers to complete the full race distance were Mario Andretti (Ferrari) and Ronnie Peterson (March). This victory gave Hulme a six-point the lead in the World Championship.[2][4][5]


Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 12   Denny Hulme McLaren-Ford 79 1:45:49.1 5 9
2 8   Emerson Fittipaldi Lotus-Ford 79 + 14.1 3 6
3 14   Peter Revson McLaren-Ford 79 + 25.8 12 4
4 7   Mario Andretti Ferrari 79 + 38.5 6 3
5 3   Ronnie Peterson March-Ford 79 + 49.0 9 2
6 19   Graham Hill Brabham-Ford 78 + 1 Lap 14 1
7 4   Niki Lauda March-Ford 78 + 1 Lap 21  
8 5   Jacky Ickx Ferrari 78 + 1 Lap 7  
9 2   François Cevert Tyrrell-Ford 78 + 1 Lap 8  
10 9   Dave Walker Lotus-Ford 78 + 1 Lap 19  
11 21   Henri Pescarolo March-Ford 78 + 1 Lap 22  
12 6   Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 77 + 2 Laps 2  
13 25   Rolf Stommelen Eifelland-Ford 77 + 2 Laps 25  
14 24   Helmut Marko BRM 76 + 3 Laps 23  
15 15   Chris Amon Matra 76 + 3 Laps 13  
16 27   John Love Surtees-Ford 73 Puncture / Accident 26  
17 22   Carlos Pace March-Ford 73 + 6 Laps 24  
NC 23   Howden Ganley BRM 70 + 9 Laps 16  
NC 18   Andrea de Adamich Surtees-Ford 69 + 10 Laps 20  
NC 11   Peter Gethin BRM 65 + 14 Laps 18  
Ret 10   Jean-Pierre Beltoise BRM 61 Engine 11  
Ret 1   Jackie Stewart Tyrrell-Ford 45 Gearbox 1  
Ret 17   Mike Hailwood Surtees-Ford 28 Suspension 4  
Ret 20   Carlos Reutemann Brabham-Ford 27 Fuel System 15  
Ret 16   Tim Schenken Surtees-Ford 9 Engine 10  
Ret 26   Dave Charlton Lotus-Ford 2 Fuel Pump 17  
DNS 28   William Ferguson Brabham-Ford Engine

Championship standings after the raceEdit

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


  1. ^ "Motor Racing Programme Covers: 1972". The Programme Covers Project. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Grand Prix Results: South African GP, 1972". Grandprix.com. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "1972 South African Grand Prix". Racing-Reference.info. 4 March 1972. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  4. ^ a b "1972 South African Grand Prix". formula1.com. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Formula One, South African 1972 Race Results". crash.net. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  6. ^ "1972 Grand Prix of South Africa". Silhouet.com. 4 March 1972. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  7. ^ a b "South Africa 1972 - Championship • STATS F1". www.statsf1.com. Retrieved 20 March 2019.

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1972 Argentine Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1972 season
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1972 Spanish Grand Prix
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1971 South African Grand Prix
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1973 South African Grand Prix