1978 BELGIAN GP
ZOLDER LOTUS 78 (2ND)
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.