1971 United States Grand Prix


1971 United States Grand Prix

Infobox Grand Prix race report
Type = F1
Country = United States
Grand Prix = United States
Official name = XIV United States Grand Prix
Date = October 3
Year = 1971
Race_No = 11
Season_No = 11
Location = Watkins Glen Grand Prix Race Course Watkins Glen, New York
Course = Permanent road course
Course_mi = 3.377
Course_km = 5.435
Distance_laps = 59
Distance_mi = 199.24
Distance_km = 320.67
Weather = Dry
Pole_Driver = flagicon|UK Jackie Stewart
Pole_Team = Tyrrell-Ford
Pole_Time = 1:42.642
Fast_Driver = flagicon|Belgium Jacky Ickx
Fast_Team = Ferrari
Fast_Time = 1:43.474
Fast_L

First_Driver = flagicon|France François Cevert
First_Team = Tyrrell-Ford
Second_Driver = flagicon|Switzerland Jo Siffert
Second_Team = BRM
Third_Driver = flagicon|Sweden Ronnie Peterson
Third_Team = March-Ford

The 1971 United States Grand Prix was a Formula One race held on October 3, 1971 at the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Race Course in Watkins Glen, New York.

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ummary

Jackie Stewart's domination in 1971 clinched his second Driver's Championship with three races remaining, but the final round belonged to his Tyrrell teammate, François Cevert. The Frenchman took the lead from Stewart on lap 14 and never looked back, as he claimed his only career win, the first GP victory for a French driver since Maurice Trintignant in 1958.

"As usual, the American race attracted a large field of entrants, despite it being the last race of the year and both Championships having long been wrapped up. It seemed nearly every spare works F1 car and quite a few independents, as well, were present to try for a share of the $267,000 in prize money, easily the richest purse in F1. Unfortunately, the two most popular American drivers, Mario Andretti and Mark Donohue, who was fresh from a stunning third place finish in Canada in his Formula One debut, were committed to drive on Sunday in a USAC race which had incomprehensibly been rescheduled to the GP weekend after a previous rainout. The two drivers qualified, Andretti in a Ferrari and Donohue in a McLaren shared with David Hobbs, hoping for more rain in New Jersey and the chance to return for the race on Sunday."

"Since the previous year's race, the course had been resurfaced, widened and, most significantly, lengthened by a mile to 3.377 miles with an entirely new section at the southwest corner called the "Boot" or "Anvil". The pits were also moved from the north end straight back before the right angle turn known as "The 90," which now became Turn One."

Friday was sunny and hot (105°!), and Stewart jumped immediately to the top of the charts with a time of 1:42.844, as the times were recorded to a thousandth of a second for the first time. On Saturday, with the temperature now 110° and both Goodyear's and Firestone's qualifying tires breaking down after a few laps, Emerson Fittipaldi pipped Stewart's time from the day before, but the Scot returned to the track and grabbed the pole by .017 of a second. Dennis Hulme joined them on the front row in his McLaren, followed by Clay Regazzoni's Ferrari, Cevert and the soon-to-be-absent Andretti. American Peter Revson qualified nineteenth in the third Tyrrell. It was his only race for Tyrrell and his first Grand Prix since 1964.

Sunday was dry in both upstate New York and Trenton, and word came that the USAC race would go on, dismaying both the crowd and the organizers, who were robbed of seeing the country's two best road racers. At the start, Hulme jumped into the lead, ahead of Cevert and Stewart, but by the end of the first lap, Stewart led Hulme, Cevert, Regazzoni, Jo Siffert, Jacky Ickx, Chris Amon and Fittipaldi.

At first, Stewart was able to open a gap back to the following group, now headed by his teammate, but after ten laps, his tires began to go off and the gap closed. The Scot realized that Cevert's Goodyears were holding up much better in the heat, and when Cevert closed up right behind him, he waved him by on lap 14. Hulme was now struggling with a terrible vibration in his tires and was passed, first by Ickx, then Regazzoni and Siffert. On lap 15, American Sam Posey, in his first Grand Prix, retired from a fine run with a blown piston in his Surtees. By the time Ickx could get around Stewart on lap 17, Cevert's lead was 5.7 seconds.

"At about half-distance, Cevert finally began to struggle with the same understeer that had plagued Stewart much earlier. Ickx was closing, and his Firestones were getting better as the race went on. On lap 43, the Belgian set the fastest lap of the race, and the gap was down to 2.2 seconds. Then, on lap 49, the Ferrari's alternator fell off, punching a hole in the gearbox and spilling oil all over the track! Hulme hit the oil and spun into the barrier, bending his front suspension. He was standing beside the track when Cevert came by and also hit the barrier, but kept going, now 29 seconds in the lead!"

Jo Siffert was now in second place and 33 seconds clear of Ronnie Peterson. With four laps to go, however, Siffert began to run low on fuel. The Swede took huge chunks off the gap as Siffert jerked the BRM from side to side, trying to use every remaining drop of fuel. Cevert coasted home, taking both hands off the wheel to wave as he crossed the line, and Siffert weaved his way around to hold second place by four seconds over Peterson's March.

After taking the checkered flag, Cevert gave a nod to his teammate. "I feel pretty good with a $50,000 win. I followed Stewart in the beginning and was flagged on ahead. Jackie Stewart is a very sensible driver and a very good teacher. He let me go through." While it was the first race on the expanded Watkins Glen track, it was the third year in a row that The Glen had rewarded a driver with his first career victory.

Classification

F1 race report
Name_of_race = United States Grand Prix
Year_of_race = 1971
Previous_race_in_season = 1971 Canadian Grand Prix
Next_race_in_season = 1972 Argentine Grand Prix
Previous_year's_race = 1970 United States Grand Prix
Next_year's_race = 1972 United States Grand Prix

Notes

* The win, naturally, was the high point of Cevert's career, which would end tragically at The Glen two years later, just as he was set to take over the Number One drive at Tyrrell from the retiring Stewart.

References

* 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, 1972). "13th U.S. Grand Prix: A First For Number Two". "Road & Track", 39-43.

External links

* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VejmX1bhxHQ Review of the 1971 United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen]


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