Andretti’s famed oval-honed sensitivity served him well in his FI debut at Watkins Glen. Slicks had yet to appear, but he was one of the first to twig a characteristic of his treaded Firestones that would have a profound effect on tyre development
“I knew I had a shot at pole. Stewart was the one who kept shaving a bit off my time.Then I’d go out and shave a bit off his. Finally I went out and just really hung it out. I knew from Monza that I needed to wear the tyres down first before really nailing them.They were quicker when halfway worn.You got more grip because there wasn’t as much movement on the tread:’ Ergo.
He got his pole,and ran second in the race until the Lotus’ nose fell apart (below). He eventually retired with clutch failure.