Mario Andretti won the Spanish Grand Prix with team-mate Ronnie Peterson second as Lotus triumphed at Jarama, their second 1-2 in succession.
The pair had dominated all weekend, setting the fastest time in practice. James Hunt, however, struggling for any kind of form, again took the pre-race headlines when he wrote off his McLaren when he collided with a spinning Emilio de Villota in practice.
Despite that, Hunt made the best start in the spare car and led away with Andretti taking second place as they braked for the first right-hander. "Everyone was asleep," Hunt said. "It was the start I had dreamt of all season."
Andretti tried to stay with Hunt but the closer he got, the more the Lotus overheated so the American was forced to sit back from the leader; but as the cars headed across the line to complete lap one, Andretti tried a move from a long way back. It worked, Hunt afforded him room, and Andretti was gone. For the rest of the race he was in splendid form.
From that point on, Andretti was unstoppable and it seemed as though Hunt was safe in second place but as the race entered its final third he started to lose pace; his tyres were overworked and he needed a fresh set which dropped him to sixth place. At the finish he was so exhausted he had to be lifted from his car.
Hunt's pit stop allowed Ronnie Peterson, who had wriggled through a multi-car fight for third having made a terrible start to drop to ninth, to inherit second place with the Matra-engined Ligier of Jacques Laffite in third.
Andretti's win lifted him ten points clear of Peterson in the championship standings.