Grand Prix Gold: Britain 1977

Grand Prix Gold: Britain 1977

AUTOSPORT looks back at the race at which Gilles Villeneuve made his F1 debut, driving a third works McLaren at Silverstone at the 1977 British Grand Prix

James wins John's race

"What are you going to call this week's report?" asked John Watson ruefully, after losing his second apparently secure Grand Prix victory in two weeks. On the spur of the moment, it was difficult to think of a reply. In the Brabham-Alfa, Watson had looked very comfortable in the lead, which he took at the start and lost, 28 laps from the end, only when the Martini sponsored car was afflicted with fuel pressure problems.

John's misery was James Hunt's delight, however, the world champion giving the McLaren M26 its first victory. For James personally, it was the end of a mighty lean spell, his first win since Watkins Glen last October. Hunt qualified on the pole, but lost all the advantage at the start with a troublesome clutch. Fourth at the end of the first lap, he worked his way past Jody Scheckter and Niki Lauda, moving on to Watson's tail and beginning a spell of psychological warfare with the Ulsterman which lasted for 25 laps. After Watson's retirement, James was left with a huge lead and finally cruised in 18 comfortable seconds ahead.

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