Qualified: 3rd Result: DSQ
“A true chassis/driver track, and I think our water ballast gave us that last little edge to allow us to mix it with the turbos in the race.”
And mix it he did. He was in the hunt from the start, and while in the midst a scrap with the superior Brabham of Piquet, the DFV pair got ahead of the Renaults. Race leader Gilles Villeneuve proved a tougher nut to crack, though.
“That Ferrari had no road-holding whatsoever just raw power. I have a clear picture in my mind to this day of sitting behind Gilles as we went through the hairpin onto the long back straight, and his car being all over the place.”
Eventually, with shot tyres and under pressure from Piquet, Villeneuve spun out, and Nelson eased away to win.
Then Renault protested Williams and Brabham: “What annoyed me most was that Patrick [Head] and Gordon Murray had just interpreted the water ballast miles in a certain way, and there was no hushhush about it; everyone knew.
“I had been there and done my job; this was a political issue and there was nothing morel could do. But still, losing six points was a shame.”
1 Prost 18;
2 Watson; 7
3 Routemann; 6
4 Amoux, Mansell; 4
6 Lauda, Alberto; 3