• Argentine Grand Prix

Stewart opens title defence in style

ESPNF1 Staff
January 23, 1972
Jackie Stewart on his way to victory in Argentina © Sutton Images

Reigning world champion Jackie Stewart opened his 1972 account in style by winning the opening race of the season at Buenos Aires, taking victory from Denny Hulme's McLaren.

Stewart, who took the lead from the start, said afterwards "It was a good, tough race. No trouble."

Local racer Carlos Reutemann, whose promotion to Formula One sparked enough interest for his countrymen to hold a grand prix, grabbed pole position to the delight of the local fans and race organisers.

But it was Stewart who made the better start and led Reutemann with Emerson Fittipaldi up to third in his Lotus 72. Denny Hulme dropped to fourth in his McLaren and Ferrari's fast starting Clay Regazzoni.

Fittipaldi displaced Reutemann on lap eight and four laps later Hulme took third away from the Argentine driver. The order at the front remained the same until lap 34 when Stewart's Tyrrell team-mate, Francois Cevert, moved past Regazzoni for fifth place and Fittipaldi began to fade with gear selection woes.

Hulme moved up to second place on lap 35 and Jacky Ickx's kept third for the final podium place. Reutemann's challenge effectively ended when he needed to pit for new tyres and fell to seventh out of the points.

The only accident, and a minor one at that, came when Peter Gethin's BRM was rear-ended and spun off, while David Walker was disqualified after stopping his Lotus in an unauthorised area.

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