1972 United States Grand Prix

The 1972 United States Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on October 8, 1972, at the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Race Course in Watkins Glen, New York. It was race 12 of 12 in both the 1972 World Championship of Drivers and the 1972 International Cup for Formula One Manufacturers. The 59-lap race was won by Tyrrell driver Jackie Stewart after he started from pole position. His teammate François Cevert finished second and McLaren driver Denny Hulme came in third. This was the debut race of the future world champion Jody Scheckter.

1972 United States Grand Prix
Watkins Glen International Track Map-1970-1980.svg
Race details
Date October 8, 1972
Official name XV United States Grand Prix
Location Watkins Glen Grand Prix Race Course
Watkins Glen, New York
Course Permanent road course
Course length 5.435 km (3.377 miles)
Distance 59 laps, 320.67 km (199.24 miles)
Weather Sunny at start, brief showers late
Pole position
Driver Tyrrell-Ford
Time 1:40.481
Fastest lap
Driver United Kingdom Jackie Stewart Tyrrell-Ford
Time 1:41.644 on lap 33
First Tyrrell-Ford
Second Tyrrell-Ford
Third McLaren-Ford
Lap leaders


Jackie Stewart, having just lost his World Champion's crown to Emerson Fittipaldi, asserted his intentions to get it back, as he dominated the entire weekend with pole, win and fastest lap and completed a sweep of the North American races. It was the twenty-second victory of the Scot's career, and his fourth in 1972. Teammate François Cevert completed the one-two finish for Tyrrell, five seconds ahead of Denny Hulme's McLaren.

The then-staggering amount of $275,000 in prize money attracted 31 entries for the last race of the year. Rain and cold winds harried the drivers in qualifying, and Friday's times determined the grid. Stewart took the pole with a time of 1:40.481, ahead of the McLarens of American Peter Revson and Hulme. A third McLaren, driven by South African Jody Scheckter in his F1 debut, was eighth.

The Goodyear teams seemed to be enjoying quite an advantage, some saying as much as one and a half to two seconds per lap in qualifying. Firestone had intended to close its European Racing Division, and their teams were using up old stock that had been produced some time before. Rob Walker said that his team's tires had been manufactured for the Austrian Grand Prix, one of the hottest races of the year, and he was not surprised that they would not work in the 40-degree temperatures at The Glen! After practice, however, a telegram was received from Firestone HQ in Akron saying that, because of all the letters they had received begging them to continue, they would be racing in the following season.

Sunday began bright and sunny, but by the time the cars assembled on the grid, the skies were threatening rain. Stewart jumped quickly off the grid and immediately began to pull away from the rest of the field. Mario Andretti charged from his tenth place grid position up the inside of the first corner in his Ferrari, and banged wheels with Carlos Reutemann's Brabham and Revson's McLaren. Andretti continued, to the delight of the crowd, now in seventh behind the Ferraris of Jacky Ickx and Clay Regazzoni. Reutemann followed in eighth with a broken nose, while Revson pitted at the end of the lap to have his front wing straightened.

Stewart was three seconds clear of Hulme after one lap, and five seconds up after two. Fittipaldi, up to third after the first lap, immediately knew that his car was not right. His right rear tire began deflating on lap five, and when two replacements quickly did the same thing, the team realized that a misaligned suspension was the problem, and he retired. On lap 20, Stewart's lead was 20 seconds, and it was clear that any battle on this day would be for second place.

With Fittipaldi out and Reutemann forced to stop for a new nose cone, the second Tyrrell of François Cevert was now in third and closing on Hulme. Scheckter was comfortably ahead of Ickx, but the Belgian was quickly being caught by Ronnie Peterson. On Saturday, in the rain, Peterson had crashed his March heavily, and the mechanics initially said that it was unrepairable. They decided to attempt to rebuild it in time for the race, and after starting in 26th position, Peterson was now the most impressive driver on the track, apart from race-leader Stewart.

At about half-distance, Cevert got by Hulme for second place, and Peterson passed Ickx for fifth. On lap 40, a brief shower suddenly soaked Turn one. Scheckter, running marvellously in fourth place, was caught out by the slippery surface in the downhill, 90-degree right-hander and spun his McLaren up onto the bank. Ickx, in the meantime, repassed Peterson to take the position vacated by Scheckter. Andretti had been struggling with the performance of his tires, but now found them better on the wet track and increased his pace.

On the last lap, with Stewart coasting home 40 seconds ahead of Cevert, Ickx's Ferrari began trailing smoke. Peterson pulled alongside him and signalled frantically at the back of the car. The Swede's gamesmanship worked, as Peterson beat the Ferrari to the line by just over half a second to take fourth place!

Revson had passed both Andretti and Mike Hailwood on consecutive laps for sixth place, but with five laps remaining, an ignition wire parted and his brilliant drive ended. When Hailwood was unable to avoid the spinning Marches of Mike Beuttler and Niki Lauda just three laps from the flag, Andretti inherited sixth place and the final point.

After the finish, the two leading Tyrrells, plus Patrick Depailler's seventh place sister car, entered the pit lane together in a show of strength, having earned team owner Ken Tyrrell a then-record reward of $97,500.



Pos. Driver Constructor Time/Gap
1   Jackie Stewart TyrrellFord 1:40.481
2   Peter Revson McLarenFord +0.046
3   Denny Hulme McLarenFord +0.603
4   François Cevert TyrrellFord +0.964
5   Carlos Reutemann BrabhamFord +1.211
6   Clay Regazzoni Ferrari +1.470
7   Chris Amon Matra +1.498
8   Jody Scheckter McLarenFord +1.577
9   Emerson Fittipaldi LotusFord +1.919
10   Mario Andretti Ferrari +2.001
11   Patrick Depailler TyrrellFord +2.040
12   Jacky Ickx Ferrari +2.116
13   Wilson Fittipaldi BrabhamFord +2.285
14   Mike Hailwood SurteesFord +2.723
15   Carlos Pace MarchFord +2.838
16   Reine Wisell LotusFord +3.062
17   Howden Ganley BRM +3.594
18   Jean-Pierre Beltoise BRM +3.759
19   Andrea de Adamich SurteesFord +3.798
20   Skip Barber MarchFord +3.799
21   Mike Beuttler MarchFord +3.888
22   Henri Pescarolo MarchFord +3.952
23   Sam Posey SurteesFord +4.044
24   Brian Redman BRM +4.444
25   John Surtees1 SurteesFord +4.751
26   Niki Lauda MarchFord +4.809
27   Ronnie Peterson MarchFord +5.661
28   Graham Hill BrabhamFord +5.832
29   Peter Gethin BRM +6.118
30   Derek Bell Tecno +6.542
31   David Walker LotusFord +10.119
32   Tim Schenken SurteesFord +17.193
  • ^1 – Surtees vacated his seat for Tim Schenken prior to the race.


Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 1   Jackie Stewart Tyrrell-Ford 59 1:41:45.354 1 9
2 2   François Cevert Tyrrell-Ford 59 + 32.268 s 4 6
3 19   Denny Hulme McLaren-Ford 59 + 37.528 s 3 4
4 4   Ronnie Peterson March-Ford 59 + 1:22.516 26 3
5 7   Jacky Ickx Ferrari 59 + 1:23.119 12 2
6 9   Mario Andretti Ferrari 58 + 1 Lap 10 1
7 3   Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Ford 58 + 1 Lap 11  
8 8   Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 58 + 1 Lap 6  
9 21   Jody Scheckter McLaren-Ford 58 + 1 Lap 8  
10 12   Reine Wisell Lotus-Ford 57 + 2 Laps 16  
11 28   Graham Hill Brabham-Ford 57 + 2 Laps 27  
12 34   Sam Posey Surtees-Ford 57 + 2 Laps 23  
13 6   Mike Beuttler March-Ford 57 + 2 Laps 21  
14 26   Henri Pescarolo March-Ford 57 + 2 Laps 22  
15 18   Chris Amon Matra 57 + 2 Laps 7  
16 33   Skip Barber March-Ford 57 + 2 Laps 20  
17 23   Mike Hailwood Surtees-Ford 56 Collision 14  
18 20   Peter Revson McLaren-Ford 54 Electrical 2  
NC 5   Niki Lauda March-Ford 49 Not Classified 25  
Ret 27   Carlos Pace March-Ford 48 Fuel System 15  
Ret 14   Peter Gethin BRM 47 Engine 28  
Ret 16   Howden Ganley BRM 44 Engine 17  
Ret 11   Dave Walker Lotus-Ford 44 Engine 30  
Ret 30   Wilson Fittipaldi Brabham-Ford 43 Engine 13  
Ret 17   Jean-Pierre Beltoise BRM 40 Ignition 18  
Ret 15   Brian Redman BRM 34 Engine 24  
Ret 29   Carlos Reutemann Brabham-Ford 31 Engine 5  
Ret 25   Andrea de Adamich Surtees-Ford 25 Collision 19  
Ret 24   Tim Schenken Surtees-Ford 22 Suspension 31  
Ret 10   Emerson Fittipaldi Lotus-Ford 17 Suspension 9  
Ret 31   Derek Bell Tecno 8 Engine 29  
DNS 24   John Surtees Surtees-Ford   Driven by Schenken    

Championship standings after the raceEdit

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings. Only the best 5 results from the first 6 rounds and the best 5 results from the last 6 rounds counted towards the Championship. Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.


  1. ^ "Formula One 1972 United States Grand Prix Classification | Motorsport Stats".
  2. ^ "1972 United States Grand Prix". formula1.com. Archived from the original on 7 November 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  3. ^ a b "United States 1972 - Championship • STATS F1". www.statsf1.com. Retrieved 21 March 2019.

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 (February, 1973). "14th U.S. Grand Prix: Stewart Again". Road & Track, 94-98.

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