The crowds for the Austrian GP were full of Niki Lauda fans; but however for them Lauda qualified only 12th as the Lotus cars again took the front row, with Ronnie Peterson on pole. The surprise in qualifying was Jean-Pierre Jabouille who qualified his turbocharged Renault third. The start saw Peterson lead into the first corner, with Carlos Reutemann snatching second from Mario Andretti. Andretti tried to get the place back later in the lap, but the two collided and Andretti retired after his car spun into the barriers while Reutemann lost a couple of places to Patrick Depailler and Jody Scheckter. On the fourth lap, a heavy rainshower hit the track and Reutemann spun off and was beached but the marshals push-started his car as it was in a dangerous position, while Scheckter crashed out, and the race was stopped.
The race restarted after the rain relented, and once again Peterson led followed by Depailler and Lauda. As the track began to dry, Peterson started to pull away, and behind, Reutemann was on a charge and passed Lauda for third but he was black-flagged for receiving outside assistance, and Lauda crashed out soon after, leaving Gilles Villeneuve third. The drivers changed to slicks but the top 3 remained the same and stayed so till the end; Peterson winning ahead of Depailler, with Villeneuve taking his first ever podium.
- Lap Leaders: Ronnie Peterson 44 laps (1-18, 29-54); Carlos Reutemann 4 laps (19-22); Gilles Villeneuve 6 laps (23-28).
- This race was the tenth and last F1 victory for Ronnie Peterson
- Gilles Villeneuve finished on the podium for the first time in F1
- Lotus won the Constructor's Championship with four races left.
- Of the 26 starters, 8 drivers had been, or would go on to be world champion. Also, of the 26 starters, 21 drivers had won, or would win a Grand Prix.
Standings after the raceEdit
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
1978 German Grand Prix
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1978 Dutch Grand Prix
1977 Austrian Grand Prix
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1979 Austrian Grand Prix
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