1973 SPAN­ISH GP

Autosport (UK) - - INSIGHT -

MONTJUICH PARK LO­TUS 72E (RE­TIRED)

Jackie Ste­wart and Tyrrell was the best com­bi­na­tion of 1973, but the fastest was Peter­son and Lo­tus, as shown by his nine poles from the 15 rounds. Re­li­a­bil­ity was a prob­lem though and nowhere was this bet­ter demon­strated than in April’s Span­ish GP at Montjuich Park.

Peter­son was still look­ing for his first win and took pole on the pun­ish­ing street cir­cuit by 0.7s from Denny Hulme’s Mclaren M23. The Jps-liv­er­ied 72 held the lead at the start and then drove a con­trolled race that sounds very much like the ‘man­aged GPS’ of the mod­ern day.

“Colin Chap­man had in­structed Ron­nie to reach and hold a 4s ad­van­tage; he was fit­ted with a hard com­pound on the right-front only and tyre life was to be achieved by sub­dued driv­ing and re­liance on the JPS’S demon­strated su­pe­ri­or­ity,” wrote Au­tosport reporter Pete Lyons.

Even run­ning a con­ser­va­tive pace, Peter­son edged away, with trou­bles be­falling many of the cars be­hind.

“Ron­nie showed com­plete mas­tery of the race,” added Lyons. “What­ever the even­tual out­come he had proven him­self the moral win­ner.”

But that is all he would be. Peter­son started los­ing gears and re­tired shortly af­ter two-thirds dis­tance. It was thus team-mate Emer­son Fit­ti­paldi who scored Lo­tus’s 50th vic­tory, putting it ahead of Fer­rari to top the all-time con­struc­tors’ wins list at the time.

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