|1977 Japanese Grand Prix - Complete Race
|The final round of the 1977 World Championship, and James Hunt's last win of his career. The field was thin as the
championship had already been decided (Niki Lauda wrapped up the title two races earlier), and general interest in the
Japanese Grand Prix was waning. Fittipaldi, Penske, and Renault decided not make the trip at all. There was still a 23-car grid
though, as the promoters saw the opportunity to add three local Japanese drivers to the field.
Qualifying had Mario Andretti on pole, followed by James Hunt and John Watson. On the race start, Hunt took the lead,
while Andretti bogged down and fell from his pole position to eighth. He began to recover, but on the second lap he collided
with Jacques Laffitte, ending Andretti's day. To make matters worse, a flying wheel from the Andretti Lotus caused both
Hans Binder (Surtees) and Takahara (Kojima) to spin off, ending their days as well.
On lap six, Gilles Villeneuve missed his braking point at the end of the main straight and hit the back of Ronnie Peterson's
Tyrrell P34. It was a violent crash that sent Villeneuve's Ferrari cartwheeling off the track (this accident was NOT caught
on tape). Although Villeneuve escaped unhurt, a marshal and a photographer were killed, with 8 others injured. The race was
not stopped, and Villeneuve walked back to his pits, fortunate to be alive.
The race had some great overtaking, but the earlier tragedy was casting a dark shadow over the whole event. James Hunt
dominated the race, so it was a battle for second place all day. Jody Scheckter, running second, would be overtaken by Clay
Regazzoni, and then Regazzoni's engine failed. Carlos Reutemann then passed Scheckter for second place, but he was
overtaken by Jacques Laffite. On lap 72 of 73, Laffite ran out of fuel, handing second place to Carlos Reutemann. Patrick
Depailler would take third in the remaining Tyrrell P34 six-wheeler.
With the tragedy of a track marshal and a photographer being killed, the podium ceremony was cut short. James Hunt just
wanted to leave as quickly as possible, along with second place finisher Carlos Reutemann. The podium would only have third
place Patrick DePailler celebrating.
Because of the deaths, Formula 1 would not return to Japan for another 10 years, and when it did, it was at a new circuit;
Suzuka. This marked James Hunt's final win of his career, and also the last appearance for the Tyrrell P34 six-wheeler.
While this has Japanese commentary, it is very watchable, and the footage is quite clear.
|1-DVD : 100 min. Quality : Excellent
|The complete 1977 Japanese Grand Prix with Japanese commentary.
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