Grand Prix Gold: Spain 1981

Grand Prix Gold: Spain 1981

AUTOSPORT relives the great races of the past. Gilles Villeneuve didn't have the quickest car but he capitalised on Alan Jones's mistake to take a calculated victory under pressure from Jacques Laffite and John Watson

This one was against the run of play. In theory, at least, a race at Jarama is won on handling. This two-mile ribbon through Spanish scrub favours deftness rather than horsepower, handling rather than straightline speed. As at Monaco, you looked to Williams, Brabham or Ligier to provide your winner. As at Monaco, you were slightly incredulous to watch Gilles Villeneuve take it for Ferrari.

Distinguished drive though it was, Villeneuve's Monte Carlo victory came at the hands of another's misfortune. Alan Jones had that race locked up before his fuel vaporisation problems, and he looked similarly fixed in Spain utterly dominating the opening laps - before untypically making a mistake and going off.

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