Has anyone analyzed qualifying performance ?
I looked at the races where you could compare them...
Argentina: they both had 78s. Mario led every lap. Peterson spent most of the race in 6th and was never in 2nd.
Brazil: they both had 78s. Mario was 2nd by lap 8. Overtook Peterson to get there. Peerson was running 4th when he retired a few laps later.
South Africa: they both had 78s. Mario led from lap 1 to lap 20. At which time Peterson was 11th. Mario had problems and dropped back, but got back up to 2nd when he retired. Peterson was only following Mario on lap 52.
Long Beach: they both had 78s. Mario ran 5th early on, got to 2nd by lap 62. Ronnie was 7th when Mario was 5th, 6th when he was 4th.
Monaco: they both had 78s. Mario was 4th for two-thirds when a stop put him a lap down. Ronnie was 6th and 7th throughout that time.
Spain: they both had 79s. Mario led nearly ever lap. Ronnie didn't get to 2nd until 54 out of 75+.
Sweden: they both had 79s. Mario led until lap 37, then ran 2nd until retirement. Ronnie only got to 3rd after Mario retired.
France: they both had 79s. Mario led every lap bar 1. Ronnie got up to 2nd on lap 9.
Andretti led 451 laps that year, the next highest was Reutemann on 183, Ronnie led 49; and 44 of those led laps came when Andretti retired at the start. And Andretti led twice as many laps as those in which Ronnie ran second.
In fact there were only 2 races in which Ronnie followed Mario for the majority of the race. Zandvoort (where Mario had a problem) and Paul Ricard. In both of those Mario out-qualified him (in fact, Ronnie's 3 poles were the only times when he out-qualified Mario, who had 8 poles) - plus in France Mario had cars between him and Peterson before Peterson made it up to second.
But isn't this logical? Peterson's slidey style was surely anathema to the precision required by skirts.