1982 Caesars Palace Grand Prix
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|Race 16 of 16 in the 1982 Formula One season|
|Date||September 25, 1982|
|Official name||2nd Caesars Palace Grand Prix|
|Location||Las Vegas Strip|
|Course||Temporary street course
3.650 km (2.268 mi)
|Distance||75 laps, 273.75 km (170.10 mi)|
|Weather||Sunny with temperatures reaching up to 98.8 °F (37.1 °C); wind speeds approaching speeds up to 18.1 miles per hour (29.1 km/h)|
|Time||1:19.639 on lap 59|
For the first time since the World Championship began in 1950, a country hosted three rounds in the same season in 1982. The final race of the year, and the third in the US, would once again decide the Championship.
It had been a tragic season with the deaths of Gilles Villeneuve and Riccardo Paletti, and the career-ending injuries of Didier Pironi. Though two separate appeals remained pending and clouded the title picture, Keke Rosberg of Williams had 42 points, to 33 for McLaren's John Watson when the teams arrived in Las Vegas. All Rosberg could do was forget about the legal possibilities and try to settle things outright with a sixth place finish, or even better, a win.
The course's tight turns and short straights allowed the non-turbo cars to be more competitive than usual, with Michele Alboreto's Tyrrell and Eddie Cheever's Talbot Ligier fastest among them. It wasn't until final qualifying on Friday afternoon that the turbocharged Renaults of Alain Prost and René Arnoux were able to really separate themselves from the rest, as they occupied the front row positions, more than eight-tenths clear of Alboreto. The two Championship contenders, Rosberg and Watson, meanwhile, were left in sixth and ninth places respectively, separated by the Ferraris of Mario Andretti and Patrick Tambay.
1981 had been the last full Grand Prix season for Andretti. So, after a non-finish for Williams at Long Beach and a stunning pole position and third-place finish at Monza for Ferrari, this would be the last Formula One race for America's greatest Grand Prix driver. In his fourteen-year F1 career with six teams, Andretti collected 12 wins, 18 pole positions, 10 fastest laps and one World Driver's Championship. Some still consider him the greatest all-around American driver in motor racing history.
At the green light for the race on Saturday, Prost led from the pole, followed by teammate Arnoux. Cheever, from the fourth spot on the grid, was determined to get around the outside of Alboreto on the first left-hander. They touched wheels, but both continued with Alboreto still in front, Cheever's Ligier sporting a vibrating front wheel and the Tyrrell of Alboreto bearing a tire mark on the right sidepod.
For the first ten laps, the Renaults steadily pulled away from Alboreto, with Arnoux now leading Prost. The Tyrrell began to match Arnoux's times, however, and then to close on him, as Prost took back the lead on lap 15. Speculation of a problem with Arnoux's car proved true, as the Renault was faltering, and he retired on lap 21.
Watson was now on fire, after dropping to twelfth in the opening laps, and was bringing the Championship battle to life. He passed Piquet on lap 12, then Rosberg, Andretti and Cheever on successive laps, and now stood in third place as he set about reducing the thirty-second gap to the two leaders. However, when Andretti, hoping to help clinch the Constructor's title for Ferrari, slid off directly in front of Rosberg on lap 27 with a broken rear suspension link, Rosberg took over the fifth place he sought.
Among the leaders, Alboreto began inching closer to Prost again, and Watson continued to close on both of them. Niki Lauda's McLaren retired on lap 54, while Alboreto had eliminated the gap to Prost, and gotten by him to take his first lead in a Grand Prix. Prost's tires were picking up rubber and had developed a vibration. In four more laps, Watson had also caught and passed him, but he was having the same problem as Prost, and so could make no progress on Alboreto.
What had promised to be a scintillating finish, therefore, never materialized, and Alboreto cruised to a comfortable victory, his first ever and the first for Tyrrell in four years. Alboreto was the 11th different victor that year. Cheever was also able to overtake the ailing Prost for third, nine laps from the end. Less than three seconds behind Prost, and the last car on the lead lap, was Rosberg, who therefore won the final title, in fifth place.
|2||7||John Watson||McLaren-Ford||75||+ 27.292 secs||9||6|
|3||25||Eddie Cheever||Ligier-Matra||75||+ 56.450 secs||4||4|
|4||15||Alain Prost||Renault||75||+ 1:08.648||1||3|
|5||6||Keke Rosberg||Williams-Ford||75||+ 1:11.375||6||2|
|6||5||Derek Daly||Williams-Ford||74||+ 1 Lap||14||1|
|7||29||Marc Surer||Arrows-Ford||74||+ 1 Lap||17|
|8||4||Brian Henton||Tyrrell-Ford||74||+ 1 Lap||19|
|9||22||Andrea de Cesaris||Alfa Romeo||73||+ 2 Laps||18|
|10||23||Bruno Giacomelli||Alfa Romeo||73||+ 2 Laps||16|
|11||30||Mauro Baldi||Arrows-Ford||73||+ 2 Laps||23|
|12||17||Rupert Keegan||March-Ford||73||+ 2 Laps||25|
|13||18||Raul Boesel||March-Ford||69||+ 6 Laps||24|
|NC||9||Manfred Winkelhock||ATS-Ford||62||Not Classified||22|
|Ret||33||Tommy Byrne||Theodore-Ford||39||Spun Off||26|
|Ret||35||Derek Warwick||Toleman-Hart||32||Spark Plugs||10|
|Ret||11||Elio de Angelis||Lotus-Ford||28||Engine||20|
|Ret||28||Mario Andretti||Ferrari||26||Rear Suspension||7|
|Ret||1||Nelson Piquet||Brabham-BMW||26||Spark Plugs||12|
|DNS||27||Patrick Tambay||Ferrari||0||Driver Unfit||8|
- Rosberg and Watson both entered this race with a chance of winning the Driver's Championship.
- Rosberg (42pts) needed either
- 6th or higher
- Watson 2nd or lower
- Watson (33pts) needed 1st, with Rosberg 7th or lower.
- Although Watson would have equaled Rosberg's points total if he had won the race and Rosberg finished out of the points, Watson would have won the Driver's championship because he had won one more race than Rosberg during the season.
- Rosberg (42pts) needed either
- For the first time in 18 years, three teams entered the final race with a chance of the Constructor's Championship.
- Ferrari (74pts) needed either
- 2nd (or 4th and 5th) or better
- 4th (or 5th and 6th) or better, with the McLarens 1st and 3rd or lower
- 5th or better, with the McLarens 1st and 4th or lower
- 6th or better, with the McLarens 1st and 5th or lower
- the McLarens scoring fewer than 11pts, with the Renaults 1st and 3rd or lower
- McLaren-Ford (63pts) needed either
- 1st and 2nd, with the Ferraris scoring fewer than 5pts
- 1st and 3rd, with the Ferraris scoring fewer than 3pts
- 1st and 4th, with the Ferraris 6th or lower
- 1st and 5th, with the Ferraris 7th or lower
- Renault (59pts) needed 1st and 2nd, with the Ferraris 7th or lower.
- Ferrari (74pts) needed either
Standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
- "Weather information for the "1982 Caesars Palace Grand Prix"". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
- Rob Walker (January, 1983). "2nd Las Vegas Grand Prix: King Keke". Road & Track, 96-99.
- Mike S. Lang (1992). Grand Prix!: Race-by-race account of Formula 1 World Championship motor racing. Volume 4: 1981 to 1984. Haynes Publishing Group. ISBN 0-85429-733-2
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|FIA Formula One World Championship
1983 Brazilian Grand Prix
1981 Caesars Palace Grand Prix
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1983 Caesars Palace Grand Prix