Reutemann all the way
Osterreichring, Knittelfeld, August 18th: Practice and race day were blessed with superb weather which the 150,000 spectators appreciated, but it caused havoc among engines and tyres. Reutemann (Brabham) set the pace in practice, ably supported by Carlos Pace, but Lauda (Ferrari) just managed to snatch pole position at the last moment, putting Pace on the second row with Fittipaldi (McLaren) followed by Scheckter (Tyrrell) and Peterson (Lotus).
From the start of the race Reutemann out-accelerated Lauda and led for the whole of the 54 laps to a resounding victory while chaos and destruction took place behind him. For twelve laps Lauda chased hard, closing up on braking but losing on acceleration and he was followed by Regazzoni (Ferrari), Pace (Brabham), Fittipaldi (McLaren) and Peterson (Lotus), but then the Ferrari engine began to fail and Lauda was out by 17 laps. Hunt (Hesketh) and Watson (Brabham) had been forced out of the leading bunch by tyre troubles and after pit stops they both drove brilliantly to regain ground, profiting by failures among the cars ahead of them. Regazzoni lost a certain second place, which he had taken from Lauda, when the left rear tyre deflated and he had to make a pit stop, while Pace fell from the second place he had inherited when his Cosworth engine died with a fuel leak. Fittipaldi had fallen out with a blown-up engine and Peterson was left in second place for a few laps, but then a rear driveshaft universal joint broke. Very early in the race Scheckter’s engine had failed him and at 43 laps Depailler spun the second Tyrrell and was rammed by Ickx in a Lotus 76 putting them both out. All this carnage left Hulme (McLaren) in second place and Hunt and Watson charged through the tail-enders into third and fourth places. Regazzoni recovered from his pit stop to snatch fifth place from Brambilla, who had driven a good hard race in the works March. Following the first six home were Hobbs (McLaren), Jarier (Shadow), Quester (Surtees), Schenken (Trojan), Hill (Lola), Ashley (Token) and Laffite (Williams). Full report next month.—D.S.J.
Results (top five): Osterreichring, 5.911 k./lap, 54 laps.
Ist: C.Reutemmann (Brabham BT44/1) — 1 hr. 28 min. 44.72 sec. — 215.81 k.p.h
2nd: D.Hulme (McLaren M23/6) — 1 hr. 29 min. 27.64 sec.
3rd: J.Hunt (Hesketh 308/3) — 1 hr. 29 min. 46.26 sec.
4th: J. Watson (Brabham BT44/4) — 1 hr. 29 min. 54.11 sec.
5th: G.Regazzoni (Ferrari 312B3/014) — 1hr. 29 min. 57.80 sec.