It happened today

Niki Lauda tops World points table

3 Apr 1977

On 3rd April 1977, the USA West Grand Prix was held at Long Beach. Niki Lauda took pole in the 312 T3, Ferrari’s 84th, the Austrian lapping two tenths faster than Mario Andretti in the Lotus.

Championship leader Jody Scheckter got away best in the Wolf, leading the pack into the first corner, followed by Lauda and Andretti. The Italo-American driver managed to pass the Austrian on lap 2, with Lauda fighting back but he flat spotted a tyre and had to give up. Scheckter had a comfortable lead from Andretti and Lauda, while an accident between Watson and Hunt held up the rest of the field, which effectively meant there were two races that day.

In the closing stages, Scheckter’s Wolf developed a slow puncture and the South African started to struggle. Andretti closed on him and then passed him, as did Lauda, so that was the order at the flag, so that the two Ferrari men caught up with Scheckter at the top of the points table.