• Spanish Grand Prix

Fittipaldi is season's third different winner

ESPNF1 Staff
May 1, 1972
Emerson Fittipaldi on his way to victory in Spain © Sutton Images

Emerson Fittipaldi won the Spanish Grand Prix to add spice to the championship race by becoming the third different winner of the season. The Times described his drive as "the finest performance of his career".

Jacky Ickx took pole for Ferrari with Denny Hulme's McLaren next to him, and it was Hulme who got the better start, closely followed by Jackie Stewart and Clay Regazzoni. Hulme soon dropped back with falling oil pressure while Ickx, after a poor start, then clipped a curb to allow Fittipaldi through.

Fittipaldi then passed Stewart, who had led for five laps, despite a fuel leak setting off the onboard fire extinguisher in his Lotus. Stewart, who was having handling issues as a result of chassis changes, fell back behind Ickx. A short shower after 30 laps spiced things up a little, allowing Ickx and Stewart to close on Fittipaldi, but as the track dried the Tyrrell was unable to keep pace. Ickx kept chasing but his Ferrari was no match for the Lotus.

After Hulme retired, Stewart's problems continued and he eventually spun out on lap 70 and hit crash barriers.

"He won in true Jim Clark style," Stewart said afterwards. "He drove a race that was clean, calculated and very cool."

Carlos Pace was an encouraging sixth driving a March run by Frank Williams in only his second grand prix. And Wilson Fittipaldi, starting his first grand prix, was a place further back in seventh.

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