• Argentine Grand Prix

Hulme wins as Reutemann fails to go the distance

Laurence Edmondson January 13, 1974
Carlos Reutemann still received a hero's welcome from Juan Peron, despite retiring on the last lap of the race © Sutton Images

The season started after months of driver changes, some enforced, as was the case at Tyrrell, other because of the lure of a better car or more money. With the champion, Jackie Stewart, retired, McLaren's signing of 1972 champion Emerson Fittipaldi from Lotus was the headline story, but it was his team-mate, the veteran champion from seven years earlier Denny Hulme, who won the opening grand prix in Buenos Aires.

Hulme's win was far from popular with a massive crowd who had packed the Autódromo Oscar Alfredo Gálvez in anticipation of a win for local hero Carlos Reutemann who had qualified second. The roars as he took the lead on the third lap could be heard above the noise of the cars , and he remained on course until his Brabham slowed and then spluttered to a halt on the final lap, out of fuel. He could only sit in disbelief as Hulme shot past to take the chequered flag.

The result ultimately boiled down to a mistake in the pits before the race, when panic over a seized wheel bearing meant the team had to quickly fuel the car. In their haste, the Brabham mechanics failed to fill the car sufficiently and Reutemann went to the grid destined to fall short of the finish line.

Designer Gordon Murray explained: "I worked out the consumption afterwards and, even taking into account the consumption if the engine's mixture control had slipped onto full-rich, the only realistic mathematical assumption pointed to one churn of fuel being left out."

It was a wretched result for Reutemann, who never came so close to winning his home race again. It was also the last victory of Hulme's long career.

Laurence Edmondson is an assistant editor on ESPNF1

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Laurence Edmondson is deputy editor of ESPNF1 Laurence Edmondson grew up on a Sunday afternoon diet of Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell and first stepped in the paddock as a Bridgestone competition finalist in 2005. He worked for ITV-F1 after graduating from university and has been ESPNF1's deputy editor since 2010