1977 Dutch GP: One of the fiercest McLaren battles ever, featuring F1 Champion James Hunt
*Andretti and Hunt gave the audience an epic show in The Netherlands.
The 1977 Formula One season was not the best for the reigning 1976 World Champion James Hunt. After retiring in his first race, he achieved a second place in Brazil, but he couldn't get regular podium spots. In fact, he didn't win until the 10th race in Silverstone, and despite all the problems that the McLaren M23 and M26 gave him, he was fast, and he gave the people what they wanted to see.
The season was full of retirements for Hunt, he abandoned in Argentina, Spain, Monaco, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Italia and Canada. He had a lot of problems with the new McLaren M26, but in the final part of the season, he was the fastest driver there was, only challenged by Mario Andretti and it was precisely him, who gave him hell.
One of the season's highlights came in the Dutch Grand Prix, where Hunt managed to qualify on the third spot, directly behind Andretti, who got the Pole Position. When the race started, the Brit got past the first row and took the first place, driving aggressively to force the Italian-American to fall back into third place as he tried to keep up with the Englishman's pace, leaving Laffite in second.
On lap 6, Andretti overtook Laffite with his powerful Lotus and charged against Hunt's McLaren again, taking the outside line of the corner. The British man defended aggressively, again, only this time Mario Andretti didn't give up, and they touched. The McLaren jumped in the air for a few inches and had to abandon right after, whereas the American driver spun, but could continue in the fourth place behind the Ligier and the Ferraris.