Grand Prix Gold: Long Beach 1983

Grand Prix Gold: Long Beach 1983

AUTOSPORT relives the great races of the past: Long Beach '83 - Zero to hero again. Watson's first of the year as McLarens dominate from rear of the grid

Despite John Watson's reputation for scything through a grand prix field, chances are you would have got attractive odds on him last Saturday evening. Yes, we knew about Detroit, about Vegas, about Rio just a fortnight before. But how was he going to come through from 22nd on the grid at Long Beach in a car that, in practice, he described as "impossible?". Why, he and team-mate Niki Lauda barely made the race.

And yet, those McLarens came through, often running at a speed they had not managed for a single lap during practice. It was a Michelin race in the sense that those with the French radials found no serious problem in going the distance on a single set. It was not like that for the Goodyear and Pirelli runners.

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