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1972 United States Grand Prix

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Title: 1972 United States Grand Prix  
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1972 United States Grand Prix

  1972 United States Grand Prix
Race details
Race 12 of 12 in the 1972 Formula One season

Date October 8 1972
Official name XV United States Grand Prix
Location Watkins Glen Grand Prix Race Course
Watkins Glen, New York
Course Permanent road course
5.435 km (3.377 mi)
Distance 59 laps, 320.67 km (199.24 mi)
Weather Sunny at start, brief showers late

Pole position
Driver Jackie Stewart Tyrrell-Ford
Time 1:40.481
Fastest lap
Driver Jackie Stewart Tyrrell-Ford
Time 1:41.644 on lap 33
First Jackie Stewart Tyrrell-Ford
Second François Cevert Tyrrell-Ford
Third Denny Hulme McLaren-Ford

The 1972 United States Grand Prix was a Formula One race held on October 8, 1972 at the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Race Course in Watkins Glen, New York.


Jackie Stewart, having just lost his World Champion's crown to Emerson Fittipaldi, asserted his intentions to get it back, as he dominated the entire weekend with pole, win and fastest lap and completed a sweep of the North American races. It was the twenty-second victory of the Scot's career, and his fourth in 1972. Teammate François Cevert completed the one-two finish for Tyrrell, five seconds ahead of Denny Hulme's McLaren.

The then-staggering amount of $275,000 in prize money attracted 31 entries for the last race of the year. Rain and cold winds harried the drivers in qualifying, and Friday's times determined the grid. Stewart took the pole with a time of 1:40.481, ahead of the McLarens of American Peter Revson and Hulme. A third McLaren, driven by South African Jody Scheckter in his F1 debut, was eighth.

The Goodyear teams seemed to be enjoying quite an advantage, some saying as much as one and a half to two seconds per lap in qualifying. Firestone had intended to close its European Racing Division, and their teams were using up old stock that had been produced some time before. Rob Walker said that his team's tires had been manufactured for the Austrian Grand Prix, one of the hottest races of the year, and he was not surprised that they would not work in the 40-degree temperatures at The Glen! After practice, however, a telegram was received from Firestone HQ in Akron saying that, because of all the letters they had received begging them to continue, they would be racing in the following season.

Sunday began bright and sunny, but by the time the cars assembled on the grid, the skies were threatening rain. Stewart jumped quickly off the grid and immediately began to pull away from the rest of the field. Mario Andretti charged from his tenth place grid position up the inside of the first corner in his Ferrari, and banged wheels with Carlos Reutemann's Brabham and Revson's McLaren. Andretti continued, to the delight of the crowd, now in seventh behind the Ferraris of Jacky Ickx and Clay Regazzoni. Reutemann followed in eighth with a broken nose, while Revson pitted at the end of the lap to have his front wing straightened.

Stewart was three seconds clear of Hulme after one lap, and five seconds up after two. Fittipaldi, up to third after the first lap, immediately knew that his car was not right. His right rear tire began deflating on lap five, and when two replacements quickly did the same thing, the team realized that a misaligned suspension was the problem, and he retired. On lap 20, Stewart's lead was 20 seconds, and it was clear that any battle on this day would be for second place.

With Fittipaldi out and Reutemann forced to stop for a new nose cone, the second Tyrrell of François Cevert was now in third and closing on Hulme. Scheckter was comfortably ahead of Ickx, but the Belgian was quickly being caught by Ronnie Peterson. On Saturday, in the rain, Peterson had crashed his March heavily, and the mechanics initially said that it was unrepairable. They decided to attempt to rebuild it in time for the race, and after starting in 26th position, Peterson was now the most impressive driver on the track, apart from race-leader Stewart.

At about half-distance, Cevert got by Hulme for second place, and Peterson passed Ickx for fifth. On lap 40, a brief shower suddenly soaked Turn one. Scheckter, running marvellously in fourth place, was caught out by the slippery surface in the downhill, 90-degree right-hander and spun his McLaren up onto the bank. Ickx, in the meantime, repassed Peterson to take the position vacated by Scheckter. Andretti had been struggling with the performance of his tires, but now found them better on the wet track and increased his pace.

On the last lap, with Stewart coasting home 40 seconds ahead of Cevert, Ickx's Ferrari began trailing smoke. Peterson pulled alongside him and signalled frantically at the back of the car. The Swede's gamesmanship worked, as Peterson beat the Ferrari to the line by just over half a second to take fourth place!

Revson had passed both Andretti and Mike Hailwood on consecutive laps for sixth place, but with five laps remaining, an ignition wire parted and his brilliant drive ended. When Hailwood was unable to avoid the spinning Marches of Mike Beuttler and Niki Lauda just three laps from the flag, Andretti inherited sixth place and the final point.

After the finish, the two leading Tyrrells, plus Patrick Depailler's seventh place sister car, entered the pit lane together in a show of strength, having earned team owner Ken Tyrrell a then-record reward of $97,500.


Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 1 Jackie Stewart Tyrrell-Ford 59 1:41:45.354 1 9
2 2 François Cevert Tyrrell-Ford 59 + 32.268 s 4 6
3 19 Denny Hulme McLaren-Ford 59 + 37.528 s 3 4
4 4 Ronnie Peterson March-Ford 59 + 1:22.516 26 3
5 7 Jacky Ickx Ferrari 59 + 1:23.119 12 2
6 9 Mario Andretti Ferrari 58 + 1 Lap 10 1
7 3 Patrick Depailler Tyrrell-Ford 58 + 1 Lap 11  
8 8 Clay Regazzoni Ferrari 58 + 1 Lap 6  
9 21 Jody Scheckter McLaren-Ford 58 + 1 Lap 8  
10 12 Reine Wisell Lotus-Ford 57 + 2 Laps 16  
11 28 Graham Hill Brabham-Ford 57 + 2 Laps 27  
12 34 Sam Posey Surtees-Ford 57 + 2 Laps 22  
13 6 Mike Beuttler March-Ford 57 + 2 Laps 20  
14 26 Henri Pescarolo March-Ford 57 + 2 Laps 21  
15 18 Chris Amon Matra 57 + 2 Laps 7  
16 33 Skip Barber March-Ford 57 + 2 Laps 20  
17 23 Mike Hailwood Surtees-Ford 56 Collision 14  
18 20 Peter Revson McLaren-Ford 54 Electrical 2  
NC 5 Niki Lauda March-Ford 49 Not Classified 25  
Ret 27 Carlos Pace March-Ford 48 Fuel System 15  
Ret 14 Peter Gethin BRM 47 Engine 28  
Ret 16 Howden Ganley BRM 44 Engine 17  
Ret 11 Dave Walker Lotus-Ford 44 Engine 30  
Ret 30 Wilson Fittipaldi Brabham-Ford 43 Engine 13  
Ret 17 Jean-Pierre Beltoise BRM 40 Ignition 18  
Ret 15 Brian Redman BRM 34 Engine 24  
Ret 29 Carlos Reutemann Brabham-Ford 31 Engine 5  
Ret 25 Andrea de Adamich Surtees-Ford 25 Collision 19  
Ret 24 Tim Schenken Surtees-Ford 22 Suspension 31  
Ret 10 Emerson Fittipaldi Lotus-Ford 17 Suspension 9  
Ret 31 Derek Bell Tecno 8 Engine 29  


  • Following the season, for the third time, The Glen won the Grand Prix Drivers Association's "Best Organized Race of the Season" award.

Championship standings after the race

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings. Only the best 5 results from the first 6 rounds and the best 5 results from the last 6 rounds counted towards the Championship. Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; numbers in parentheses are total points scored.


  • Doug Nye (1978). The United States Grand Prix and Grand Prize Races, 1908-1977. B. T. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-1263-1
  • Rob Walker (February, 1973). "14th U.S. Grand Prix: Stewart Again". Road & Track, 94-98.
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1972 Canadian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1972 season
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1973 Argentine Grand Prix
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