• Spanish Grand Prix

Stewart takes championship lead in Spain

ESPNF1 Staff
April 18, 1971
Jackie Stewart on his way to victory at Montjuich © Sutton Images

Scotsman Jackie Stewart took the lead of the 1971 world championship with a fine victory in the Spanish Grand Prix on the twisting hill top Montjuich circuit, in Spain.

Having treated the 50,000-strong crowd to a demonstration of superb cornering on the testing circuit overlooking Barcelona, Stewart waved an arm in jubilation as he drove his dark blue Tyrell-Ford over the finishing line ahead of Jackie Ickx of Belgium in a Ferrari. Stewart overtook Ickx during the seventh lap, and dominated the remainder of the event.

The race also marked the first in Formula One where slick tyres were used - they were introduced by Firestone based on its experience in American open-wheel racing series.

Jacky Ickx and Clay Regazzoni put their Ferraris on the front row at Montjuich Park along with Chris Amon's Matra with Stewart on row two with the BRM of Pedro Rodriguez.

Stewart blasted into the second place as the cars left the line and spent the early laps chasing Ickx but on lap six he found a gap and moved ahead. Behind him, Amon moved his Matra up to third place at the expense of Regazzoni but the Swiss driver retired on lap 13 with a fuel pump failure.

That promoted Rodriguez, Mario Andretti and Denny Hulme's McLaren to fourth, fifth and sixth but Andretti retired with an engine failure which allowed Hulme to finish fifth and Jean-Pierre Beltoise inherited sixth in his BRM.

Despite the pace of the Cosworth engines, just two cars ion the top six were powered by the Ford-badged unit with Matra, Ferrari and BRM power motivating the other four cars.

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