1981 Canadian Grand Prix
|1981 Canadian Grand Prix|
|Race 14 of 15 in the 1981 Formula One World Championship|
|Date||27 September 1981|
|Official name||XX Grand Prix du Canada|
Circuit Île Notre-Dame|
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
|Course||Temporary street circuit|
|Course length||4.410 km (2.740 mi)|
|Distance||63 laps, 277.830 km (172.636 mi)|
|Scheduled distance||70 laps, 308.700 km (191.817 mi)|
|Weather||Wet and cold with temperatures up to 20 °C (68 °F); wind speeds up to 15 kilometres per hour (9.3 mph)|
|Time||1:49.475 on lap 43|
The race was run in wet conditions, and ended after 63 of the scheduled 70 laps due to the two-hour time limit. Frenchman Jacques Laffite won in a Ligier-Matra, with Northern Ireland's John Watson second in a McLaren-Ford and local hero Gilles Villeneuve third in a Ferrari. Brazilian Nelson Piquet finished fifth in his Brabham-Ford, having started from pole position, while Drivers' Championship rival, Argentine Carlos Reutemann, could only manage tenth in his Williams-Ford. Piquet thus moved within one point of Reutemann with one race to go, while the win gave Laffite an outside chance of the title. Despite both Reutemann and Australian teammate Alan Jones failing to score, Williams clinched the Constructors' Championship.
This would turn out to be Laffite's final F1 victory, as well as the last for the Ligier team for fifteen years, until the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix. It was also the last time the Canadian Grand Prix was held in the fall, as the race would move to June the following year.
Prior to the race, Alan Jones announced that he was retiring from the sport after clinching the title the previous year. Rumors were also spreading around in paddock that Niki Lauda had tested for McLaren at Donington Park and that he was planning a comeback.
Nelson Piquet clinched pole with a time of 1:29.221, with rival Carlos Reutemann alongside him on the front row. The top ten were completed by: Jones, Prost, Mansell, Rebaque, de Angelis, Arnoux, Watson and Laffite respectively.
The race start was marred with bad weather. Immediately after the start, Jones took the lead after a minor collision with Reutemann which left Reutemann behind. Toward the middle of the pack, Arnoux and Pironi had a collision with resulted in Arnoux spinning out of the race. On lap 7, Jones spun and Piquet had to take evasive action, resulting in both drivers dropping down the pecking order. Prost took the lead with Laffite, who had climbed from tenth, second. Prost's lead did not last long, as Laffite overtook him on lap 13, and kept the lead to the end of the race.
Villeneuve had a minor accident that damaged his front wing. The wing flew up only to be stuck up in the air, blocking Villeneuve's race-line vision. With his forward vision impaired, he used his peripheral vision to navigate using the yellow track markers as reference. After racing this way for minutes he used vibration on the ribbed curbing, to the point it flew off the car. This way he managed to keep control until the end of the race, without a front wing and under the rain.
Prost was eventually overtaken by Villeneuve and Watson, before retiring with an accident on lap 48. Watson was able to catch and pass Villeneuve a few laps later and the two finished second and third respectively, with Villeneuve clinching his third and last podium of the year on home soil. Bruno Giacomelli of Alfa Romeo, who had started fifteenth, came home fourth, with pole-man Piquet coming in behind him.
|7||11||Elio de Angelis||Lotus-Ford||1:30.231||+1.020|
|13||8||Andrea de Cesaris||McLaren-Ford||1:31.507||+2.296|
|15||23||Bruno Giacomelli||Alfa Romeo||1:31.600||+2.389|
|16||22||Mario Andretti||Alfa Romeo||1:31.740||+2.529|
Championship standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
- "Weather information for the "1981 Canadian Grand Prix"". The Old Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
- Jenkinson, Denis (November 1981). "The Canadian Grand Prix: Heroes all". Motor Sport. p. 72. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
- "1981 Canadian Grand Prix". formula1.com. Archived from the original on 12 June 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
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1982 Canadian Grand Prix