The 1976–1978 McLaren season:
now a McLaren driver, James Hunt dispelled many doubters at the first race in Brazil, where, in a hastily rebuilt McLaren M23, he landed pole position in the last minutes of qualifying. Over the course of the year he would drive the McLaren M23 to six Grands Prix wins, but with superior reliability, reigning world champion and main rival Niki Lauda pulled out a substantial points lead in the first few races of the season. Hunt's first race win of 1976, at the fourth race of the season, the Spanish Grand Prix, resulted in disqualification for driving a car adjudged to be 1.8 cm too wide. The win was later reinstated upon appeal, but it set the tone for an extraordinarily volatile season.