Keke Rosberg breathes a little easier this week. On Sunday he won the Swiss Grand Prix, his first, and he moves into a conclusive lead in the world championship. Having taken the race in brilliant style, he can now feel more comfortable with his thoughts of the title. This was a magnificent performance.
He cut it fine. For most of the afternoon, Alain Prost's Renault looked supremely in control, under possible threat only from Rene Arnoux's sister car. As has so often happened to the Renault team, however, victory slipped away in the dying laps. Arnoux, apparently on the verge of taking the lead, retired with a fault in the electronic fuel injection, and Prost, with half a skirt missing for the last quarter of the race, began to lose pace. When Rosberg, driving at the limit, attacked with a couple of laps to go, Prost was unable to respond. At the finish the Williams was four seconds ahead, and Frank had his first victory in nearly a year.
For the close finish the crowd had Andrea de Cesaris to thank. As Rosberg, with Niki Lauda's McLaren close behind, came up to lap the Italian's Alfa Romeo soon after half distance, de Cesaris decided that he wished to keep him back. In five laps Rosberg and Lauda lost 10s to the Renaults, and it took a necessarily forceful manoeuvre to put the young man in his place. Without his absurd baulking tactics, Rosberg would have passed Prost with time to spare.