It happened today

Photofinish win for Jody Scheckter

27 May 1979

The 1979 Monaco Grand Prix was held in the Principality on 27th May. On the difficult track running through the streets of Monte Carlo, Ferrari had the upper hand, with car developments seeing it move ahead of early season pacesetter Ligier in terms of outright pace. On pole was South Africa’s Jody Scheckter, who was just 7 hundredths ahead of team-mate, Gilles Villeneuve. The others were a long way back, starting with Patrick Depailler (Ligier) and Niki Lauda (Brabham) at 66 and 76 hundredths respectively.

Scheckter got away best at the start, being first through Ste. Devote in his 312 T4. Villeneuve did less well and was passed by Lauda. However, the Canadian put a lie to the idea you can’t overtake in Monaco, by retaking the position on lap 3 before setting off in pursuit of his team-mate.

The race ran on with no particular dramas until lap 54, when Villeneuve’s race ended after his transmission failed. At this point, it looked as though Scheckter was heading for victory and so it turned out. But in the closing stages, Clay Regazzoni in the Williams made up nearly all the ground that separated him from the Ferrari so that Jody beat Clay by just 44 hundredths. Third was another former Maranello driver, Carlos Reutemann in the Lotus.