• United States Grand Prix West

Reutemann capitalises on Villeneuve error

ESPNF1 Staff
April 2, 1978
Alan Jones dives up the inside of Mario Andretti as the pair battle over second place © Sutton Images

Carlos Reutemann moved joint top of the drivers' championship with his second win of the season at the USA Grand Prix West at Long Beach, leading home his closest rival Mario Andretti by a little over 11 seconds.

While a win for Ferrari had appeared on the cards for the early part of the afternoon, it had been expected it would be Gilles Villeneuve taking the chequered flag. But he spun off on the 39th of 80 laps as he tried to lap Clay Regazzoni and after that Reutemann was not challenged.

The drive of the afternoon came from Alan Jones in his Saudia Williams. Starting in eighth, he worked his way up to second, helped by John Watson and Niki Lauda being forced to retire, and for a time it seemed he might get close enough to challenge for the lead. But in the closing stages his car started developing a stammer as he accelerated and he dropped back to seventh.

McLaren's misfortunes continued. James Hunt hit a wall on the sixth lap, ripping off a wheel, and then Patrick Tambay crashed five laps from the end under pressure from Jacques Laffite.

Patrick Depailler completed the podium having started the race back in 12th place, with Ronnie Peterson a distant fourth in the second Lotus.

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