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Watson’s Brilliant Drive, Long Beach — 27 March 1983
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a425couple
2019-06-23 23:59:16 UTC
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Watson’s Brilliant Drive
Long Beach — 27 March 1983
After giving McLaren the team’s first victory in more than three seasons
at the 1981 British Grand Prix (and also securing the first F1 win for a
carbon fiber monocoque), John Watson — nicknamed “Wattie” — established
a well-deserved reputation for stunning drives from the back of the
field. At Detroit in 1982, he overtook three cars in one lap deep into
the race on a tight, temporary street circuit that was supposedly
impossible to pass on; working his way from 17th starting position on
the grid, he charged through the field to score an astounding victory.
But it was a year later, at the U.S. Grand Prix West in Long Beach
harbor, another street circuit, that Watson cemented himself in Formula
One legend. Watson was always renowned for being a great racer, and the
Northern Irishman’s overtaking skills were never seen to better effect
than in this race.
Patrick Tambay captured pole position in the Ferrari, alongside René
Arnoux, but the normally-aspirated McLarens of Watson and teammate Niki
Lauda suffered from lack of heat in their Michelin tires, were never
able to arrive at a balanced setup and could manage only 22nd and 23rd
positions in Watson—Long Beach 1983qualifying. While Tambay, Keke
Rosberg and Jacques Laffite battled up front in the gorgeous California
sunshine, Watson and Lauda moved steadily through the field. By lap 28,
the McLarens were lying 3rd and 4th, having passed Marc Surer, Danny
Sullivan and Johnny Cecotto. Lauda had led the duo off the line but had
also been clearing the way all afternoon while Watson was looking after
his tires. On lap 33 Watson made his move and dived past his teammate.
“Niki didn’t exactly invite me to pass,” Watson observed after the race.
“But we are both elderly and I had the tire advantage.” When Watson got
by Lauda at the end of Shoreline Drive, he was 20 seconds behind the two
leaders. With Watson closing the gap to the front and Laffite’s tires
going off quickly, Ricardo Patrese challenged Laffite for the lead. He
slid wide, and Watson and Lauda both passed before he rejoined the
track. Soon after, the McLarens passed Laffite as well and were now P1
and P2, respectively. Yet suffering from a cramp in his right leg, Lauda
could not challenge Watson in the later stages, and the Ulsterman took
the checkered flag nearly a half minute ahead for his 5th career
victory. Watson had required just 70 minutes to make up 22 places. It
was, and remains, the farthest back from which a modern Grand Prix
driver had ever come to win a Formula One race. It was also the last
Formula One GP held in Long Beach, as in a sign of things to come,
rising licensing fees for the promoters caused a switch to IndyCars for
the 1984 race.
~misfit~
2019-06-24 02:09:31 UTC
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Post by a425couple
Watson’s Brilliant Drive
Long Beach — 27 March 1983
After giving McLaren the team’s first victory in more than three seasons at the 1981 British Grand
Prix (and also securing the first F1 win for a carbon fiber monocoque), John Watson — nicknamed
“Wattie” — established a well-deserved reputation for stunning drives from the back of the field.
At Detroit in 1982, he overtook three cars in one lap deep into the race on a tight, temporary
street circuit that was supposedly impossible to pass on; working his way from 17th starting
position on the grid, he charged through the field to score an astounding victory. But it was a
year later, at the U.S. Grand Prix West in Long Beach harbor, another street circuit, that Watson
cemented himself in Formula One legend. Watson was always renowned for being a great racer, and the
Northern Irishman’s overtaking skills were never seen to better effect than in this race.
Patrick Tambay captured pole position in the Ferrari, alongside René Arnoux, but the
normally-aspirated McLarens of Watson and teammate Niki Lauda suffered from lack of heat in their
Michelin tires, were never able to arrive at a balanced setup and could manage only 22nd and 23rd
positions in Watson—Long Beach 1983qualifying. While Tambay, Keke Rosberg and Jacques Laffite
battled up front in the gorgeous California sunshine, Watson and Lauda moved steadily through the
field. By lap 28, the McLarens were lying 3rd and 4th, having passed Marc Surer, Danny Sullivan and
Johnny Cecotto. Lauda had led the duo off the line but had also been clearing the way all afternoon
while Watson was looking after his tires. On lap 33 Watson made his move and dived past his
teammate. “Niki didn’t exactly invite me to pass,” Watson observed after the race. “But we are both
elderly and I had the tire advantage.” When Watson got by Lauda at the end of Shoreline Drive, he
was 20 seconds behind the two leaders. With Watson closing the gap to the front and Laffite’s tires
going off quickly, Ricardo Patrese challenged Laffite for the lead. He slid wide, and Watson and
Lauda both passed before he rejoined the track. Soon after, the McLarens passed Laffite as well and
were now P1 and P2, respectively. Yet suffering from a cramp in his right leg, Lauda could not
challenge Watson in the later stages, and the Ulsterman took the checkered flag nearly a half
minute ahead for his 5th career victory. Watson had required just 70 minutes to make up 22 places.
It was, and remains, the farthest back from which a modern Grand Prix driver had ever come to win a
Formula One race. It was also the last Formula One GP held in Long Beach, as in a sign of things to
come, rising licensing fees for the promoters caused a switch to IndyCars for the 1984 race.
There ya go! You've found your niche.
--
Shaun.

"Humans will have advanced a long, long way when religious belief has a cozy little classification
in the DSM"
David Melville

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