After that string of triumphs with Ferrari between 1977 and 1978, which allowed him to climb the top step of the podium five times with the Scuderia, Carlos Reutemann had failed to win a Grand Prix of F1.
En Lotus, the team that the Santa Fe arrived in 1979 after his departure from the Maranello team, could only achieve two second places as the best result in the GP's of Argentina y Spain. The final seventh place in the championship was the faithful reflection that he had arrived at the structure of Colin chapman at a bad time despite the great title record of the previous year with the American Mario Andretti.
Reutemann chose to swerve the swerve and faced the 1980 season with Williams, the only team that had managed to overshadow Ferrari, who in '79 doubled with the South African Jody scheckter and the Canadian Gilles Villenenuve.
The tournament did not start well for the Argentine. Abandoned in Argentina due to engine and Brazil, due to cash problems. The one who did well was his partner, the Australian Alan Jones. He won in Buenos Aires and finished third at Interlagos. Those 13 points allowed him to leave South America with the first place of the tournament.
The thing seemed to straighten out for the Lole in South Africa with a fifth place, but a new dropout due to a mechanical problem in the Western United States GP it made him realize that it would be difficult to fight for the title. With four dates disputed he was 13th in the contest with only two points against the 18 of the French René Arnoux (Renault) and the Brazilian Nelson Piquet (Brabham), who were now at the top of the positions.
En Zolder, Belgium, Reutemann redeemed himself. He achieved his first podium at Williams and the 30th in his sporting campaign by finishing third in the race that the Frenchman won. Didier pironi (Ligier), who had scored his first success in the category.
And so it came to May 18, scene of the mythical Monaco Grand Prix. A race in which he had two third places as best results, those achieved in 1977 with Ferrari and in 1979 on top of a Lotus.
The second position achieved in the classification showed Reutemann that he had a good mechanical means to aspire to victory. He was 69/100 behind poleman Pironi and had thrown 320/100 off Jones, who was leading the second row of the grid.
At the start the leaders maintained their position after a quiet game, although this did not happen in the middle of the peloton in which a chain accident left the Irishman out of the race. Derek Daly (Tyrrell), into Italian Bruno Giacomelli (Alfa Romeo) and the French Jean-Pierre Jarier (Tyrrell) and Alain Prost (McLaren).
Before the first lap was completed, Jones overtook Reutemann and became Pironi's new guard. The trio stayed that way until lap 25 when the Australian pitched and defected due to transmission problems. The Argentine took advantage of the incident to ascend to second place and there he began to pressure the Frenchman.
In the last part of the competition the rain added tension to the fight for victory. However, there were no tire changes and everyone continued on the slicks. At that point, Pironi was making a tremendous effort to overcome gearbox problems. While the track was dry the Ligier driver held the lever firmly with one hand to prevent the gear from jumping; while with the other he controlled the car. With the track slippery due to the water that became impossible to do and ended up against the guard-rail ...
Thus, at the 54 ° turn, Reutemann became the leader of the GP. But staying ahead was not easy. He also began to suffer with the gearbox and to that was added difficult visibility due to the rain and the visor of his helmet stained by oil. In fact, on several occasions it was raised to be able to see better.
“I clenched my teeth. I was first, but I couldn't afford the slightest mistake. My visor had oil on it. I didn't know who had thrown it at me. Jones or Pironi? I started to feel hard in the third gear, the second… I raised the visor to better see the places where there was more water… On Thursday I had had problems with the third gear; they had opened it and found nothing. Saturday again. And now ... I saw that my left rear tire was not wearing as I wanted, but ... it was getting less and less. When it rained the most, I see that they raise the checkered flag ”, remembered Lole in the book The days of Reutemann de Alfredo Parga.
The Argentines followed the feat by ATC (today, Public TV) and they were moved by the triumph and the story of the remembered Hector Acosta, that as soon as the final flag was lowered to the Santa Fe, he burst into tears that prevented him from continuing to speak.
Although Reutemann did not win again for the remainder of the season, he entered the points zone in the following GP's and on six other occasions he was on the podium. That allowed him to finish third in the championship that Jones won. A result that, in short, was the harbinger of the great year it would have in 1981 ...
MONACO GRAND PRIZE OF 1980
|POS||PILOT||TEAM||VTAS.||TIME / DIF|
|4||Jochen Mass||Arrows||75||1 round|
|5||Gilles Villeneuve||Ferrari||75||1 round|
|6||Emerson Fittipaldi||Fittipaldi||74||2 rounds.|
|7||Mario Andretti||Lotus||73||3 rounds.|
|8||Riccardo Patrese||Arrows||73||3 rounds.|
|9||Elio De Angelis||Lotus||68||Accident|
AVERAGE: 130,677 km / h. LAP RECORD: Reutemann, in the 40th, 1m27s418 at 136,393 km / h.