It almost ended with a podium – five years, five months and 21 days after it had begun. Ronnie Peterson was hounding the brake-hampered McLaren of Jochen Mass for third place when over-ambition on flat-spotted tyres saw him run wide on the final lap of the 1975 Grand Prix of the United States; and James Hunt’s Hesketh darted through the gap. Thus the remarkable Lotus 72, in its fifth iteration (of six), scored ‘just’ two points on the occasion of its 74th and last world championship start.
It was in truth long past its best-by date. Its teeth had grown long. Brackets adorned brackets. Yet this old dog, which had taught Formula 1 so many new tricks, could on occasion run with the pack still.