Autosport (UK) - - INSIGHT -


Peter­son’s team-mate Mario An­dretti dom­i­nated the event, tak­ing pole by 0.79s and lead­ing ev­ery lap, on the first ap­pear­ance of the iconic Lo­tus 79. But Peter­son also starred. Peter­son, in the older 78, qual­i­fied sev­enth, 1.72s slower than An­dretti. He avoided some start­line may­hem to run fourth, then en­gaged in a duel with Jody Scheck­ter’s Wolf. He moved into third on lap 10 of the 70-lap­per, be­hind An­dretti and the Fer­rari of Gilles Vil­leneuve. When Vil­leneuve suf­fered a tyre blowout and had to pit, Peter­son moved into sec­ond, only to have to stop for a new front tyre with 14 laps to go.

Peter­son re­joined fourth and be­gan a charge. “In a mat­ter of five laps, he had caught and passed third man Jac­ques Laf­fite, and was now 7s be­hind Car­los Reute­mann,” wrote Nigel Roe­buck in Au­tosport’s re­port. “This was lap 63. On lap 67, he came round half a sec­ond in front of the Fer­rari!

“This was Peter­son at his best, and it brought him a new lap record.”

The Lo­tus 78 thus beat ev­ery­thing but its suc­ces­sor, with An­dretti fin­ish­ing 9.9s ahead in the first of four Lo­tus one-twos that sea­son.

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