1988 German Grand Prix

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West Germany  1988 German Grand Prix
Race details
Race 9 of 16 in the 1988 Formula One season
Circuit Hockenheimring-1982.svg
Date July 24, 1988
Official name Grosser Mobil 1 Preis von Deutschland
Location Hockenheimring, Hockenheim, West Germany
Course Permanent racing facility
6.797 km (4.223 mi)
Distance 44 laps, 299.068 km (185.832 mi)
Weather Wet and cool
Pole position
Driver Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda
Time 1:44.596
Fastest lap
Driver Italy Alessandro Nannini Benetton-Ford
Time 2:03.032 on lap 40
Podium
First Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda
Second France Alain Prost McLaren-Honda
Third Austria Gerhard Berger Ferrari

The 1988 German Grand Prix was a Formula One race held on July 24, 1988 at the Hockenheimring, Hockenheim. It was the ninth race of the 1988 Formula One season.

Pre-race[edit]

At the midpoint of the season, pre-qualifiers were re-evaluated. After a 4th place finish in the Detroit Grand Prix, Andrea de Cesaris (Rial) was promoted to the top 26 cars automatically allowed for qualifying sessions. Relegated to pre-qualifying was Nicola Larini (Osella).

Before the German Grand Prix, Williams announced that Thierry Boutsen would be joining the team in 1989 replacing Nigel Mansell who would be joining Ferrari.

Qualifying summary[edit]

The grid was composed again of a front row of two McLaren-Honda's of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, the two Ferrari's of Gerhard Berger and Michele Alboreto on the second row, with by the Lotus-Honda of Nelson Piquet, and the first atmo car, the Benetton-Ford of Alessandro Nannini on the third row.

Qualifying had been severely hindered by violent thunderstorms which struck the area throughout the weekend. When the track was dry, the Ferraris went through the speed trap at 328 km/h (204 mph) on Hockenheim's long straights, though BBC television commentator Murray Walker stated during the race coverage that the McLarens actually topped 209 mph (336 km/h) in final qualifying, which made them faster than the Ferrari's, although they were some 7 km/h (4 mph) slower than the speeds recorded during qualifying for the 1987 race when the turbo cars had approximately 300 bhp (224 kW; 304 PS) more than they did in 1988. The straight line speed difference was the major reason Senna's pole time in the McLaren was 1.98 seconds slower than Mansell's the previous year in a Williams-Honda (Mansell himself qualified his Williams-Judd 7.2 seconds slower in 1988 despite Williams trying a very low rear wing and lower rear bodywork on the cars in practice in an effort to maximise straight line speed). The fastest of the 'atmo' cars on the long straights was Ivan Capelli's March-Judd V8 which was recorded at 312 km/h (194 mph). Nannini, the fastest atmo qualifier, was 3.6 seconds slower than Senna.

As had become standard practice in 1988, the Lotus-Hondas of Piquet and Satoru Nakajima weren't able to match the similarly engined McLarens, with Piquet qualifying 3, and Nakajima 4 seconds slower than Ayrton Senna's pole time. The turbocharged Arrows-Megatrons of Derek Warwick and Eddie Cheever also failed to impress in qualifying, with Warwick 5.8 and Cheever 6.5 seconds slower than Senna. Arrows' engine guru Heini Mader still had not solved the pop-off valve problem which was often leaving Warwick and Cheever with only between 2.1 to 2.3 bar of turbo boost compared to the full 2.5 bar available to Honda and Ferrari engines. This saw the Megatron engines running approximately 40-80 bhp less than their rated 640 bhp (477 kW; 649 PS).

The only German teams in Formula One in 1988, Zakspeed and Rial, both qualified their cars for the race. Andrea de Cesaris qualified his Rial-Ford in 14th (6.4 seconds behind Senna), while Bernd Schneider (the only German driver in the field) and his team mate Piercarlo Ghinzani qualified their Zakspeed 881 turbos in 22nd and 23rd places respectively. Both Zakspeed's were over 8 seconds slower than Senna's McLaren-Honda. The only other turbo car in the field, the Osella of Nicola Larini which used an ancient Alfa Romeo V8 turbo engine (renamed the Osella 890T in 1988), qualified in 19th, 7.5 seconds off the pole.

Race summary[edit]

The rain continued until Sunday morning, when it finally stopped, but there was concern on which type of tyre would have been the most suitable for the race; in the end, everyone started on wet tyres, with the exception of Nelson Piquet who gambled on the track drying out (after qualifying when asked about his prediction for the race, Piquet replied "The McLarens to take each other out and leave the race for me"). Ayrton Senna led off the start line from Berger and Alessandro Nannini. Piquet suffered a first-lap retirement, aquaplaning off the track at the Ostkurve due to his slick tyres. Alain Prost fought back from a bad start where he dropped to 4th to recover to 2nd behind Senna, but failed to catch him: traffic problems and a late spin coming out of the Ostkurve due to overheating tyres on a drying track saw him 13 seconds behind at the end of the race.

On lap 9, Philippe Alliot went off at the Ostkurve chicane after going offline to allow Senna to lap him. Alliot had changed to slicks to exploit the developing dry line and would have been in a promising position had the track continued to dry. In an almost identical spin and consequence to Piquet's lap one incident, Alliot's Lola-Ford was out on the spot with his right rear tyre almost broken off in the accident.

Senna and Prost maintained their 1-2 until the chequered flag, despite a rare late spin by the Frenchman coming out of the Ostkurve chicane. It was the sixth 1-2 of the year for McLaren.

Nannini had been in 3rd and then 4th place consistently until he had to pit on lap 38 to repair the broken throttle bracket of his Benetton. An angry Nannini rejoined 4 laps down and despite finishing only 18th, he set the fastest lap of the race. It was the second, and last, 'atmo' fastest lap of the season after Mansell's fastest lap at Silverstone. Ironically the two fastest laps set by the atmo cars had been set at two of the three fastest circuits on the 1988 calendar which suited the turbos much more than the atmos.

Ferrari finished in 3rd and 4th place with concerns for fuel consumption, though improvements saw fuel as less of a problem then in previous races, whilst Ivan Capelli, with no clutch for the last 30 laps, took 5th place. Thierry Boutsen gained a point for 6th place, in a car set up for the dry.

Nigel Mansell retired from 7th with a spin after a broken bolt had jammed his gearbox. Bernd Schneider earned his first Grand Prix finish in 12th in his home race which turned out to be the highest finish of the season for the Zakspeed team.

Classification[edit]

Qualifying[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Q1 Q2 Gap
1 12 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda 1:44.596 1:50.002
2 11 France Alain Prost McLaren-Honda 1:44.873 1:45.868 +0.277
3 28 Austria Gerhard Berger Ferrari 1:46.115 1:46.431 +1.519
4 27 Italy Michele Alboreto Ferrari 1:47.154 1:47.418 +2.558
5 1 Brazil Nelson Piquet Lotus-Honda 1:47.702 1:47.681 +3.085
6 19 Italy Alessandro Nannini Benetton-Ford 1:48.223 1:48.208 +3.612
7 16 Italy Ivan Capelli March-Judd 1:48.703 1:49.750 +4.107
8 2 Japan Satoru Nakajima Lotus-Honda 1:49.359 1:48.781 +4.185
9 20 Belgium Thierry Boutsen Benetton-Ford 1:48.837 1:49.966 +4.241
10 15 Brazil Mauricio Gugelmin March-Judd 1:49.511 1:49.645 +4.915
11 5 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Williams-Judd 1:49.850 1:50.673 +5.254
12 17 United Kingdom Derek Warwick Arrows-Megatron 1:50.459 1:50.770 +5.863
13 6 Italy Riccardo Patrese Williams-Judd 1:51.105 1:50.719 +6.213
14 22 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Rial-Ford 1:51.004 1:51.859 +6.408
15 18 United States Eddie Cheever Arrows-Megatron 1:51.385 1:51.171 +6.575
16 14 France Philippe Streiff AGS-Ford 1:52.348 1:51.642 +7.046
17 25 France René Arnoux Ligier-Judd 1:54.139 1:52.080 +7.484
18 21 Italy Nicola Larini Osella 1:52.203 1:52.168 +7.572
19 36 Italy Alex Caffi Dallara-Ford 1:52.469 1:52.277 +7.681
20 30 France Philippe Alliot Lola-Ford 1:52.293 1:52.629 +7.697
21 29 France Yannick Dalmas Lola-Ford 1:52.795 1:52.436 +7.840
22 10 West Germany Bernd Schneider Zakspeed 1:52.696 1:52.664 +8.068
23 9 Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani Zakspeed 1:52.674 1:57.241 +8.078
24 3 United Kingdom Jonathan Palmer Tyrrell-Ford 1:53.238 1:52.908 +8.312
25 33 Italy Stefano Modena EuroBrun-Ford 1:52.998 1:53.904 +8.402
26 32 Argentina Oscar Larrauri EuroBrun-Ford 1:53.832 1:53.043 +8.447
DNQ 24 Spain Luis Pérez-Sala Minardi-Ford 1:53.356 1:53.673 +8.760
DNQ 26 Sweden Stefan Johansson Ligier-Judd 1:54.717 1:53.507 +8.911
DNQ 4 United Kingdom Julian Bailey Tyrrell-Ford 1:53.674 1:53.576 +8.980
DNQ 23 Italy Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Ford 1:53.720 1:53.673 +9.077
DNPQ 31 Italy Gabriele Tarquini Coloni-Ford

Race[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 12 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda 44 1:32:54.188 1 9
2 11 France Alain Prost McLaren-Honda 44 + 13.609 2 6
3 28 Austria Gerhard Berger Ferrari 44 + 52.095 3 4
4 27 Italy Michele Alboreto Ferrari 44 + 1:40.912 4 3
5 16 Italy Ivan Capelli March-Judd 44 + 1:49.606 7 2
6 20 Belgium Thierry Boutsen Benetton-Ford 43 + 1 Lap 9 1
7 17 United Kingdom Derek Warwick Arrows-Megatron 43 + 1 Lap 12  
8 15 Brazil Maurício Gugelmin March-Judd 43 + 1 Lap 10  
9 2 Japan Satoru Nakajima Lotus-Honda 43 + 1 Lap 8  
10 18 United States Eddie Cheever Arrows-Megatron 43 + 1 Lap 15  
11 3 United Kingdom Jonathan Palmer Tyrrell-Ford 43 + 1 Lap 24  
12 10 West Germany Bernd Schneider Zakspeed 43 + 1 Lap 22  
13 22 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Rial-Ford 42 + 2 Laps 14  
14 9 Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani Zakspeed 42 + 2 Laps 23  
15 36 Italy Alex Caffi Dallara-Ford 42 + 2 Laps 19  
16 32 Argentina Oscar Larrauri Euro Brun-Ford 42 + 2 Laps 26  
17 25 France René Arnoux Ligier-Judd 41 + 3 Laps 17  
18 19 Italy Alessandro Nannini Benetton-Ford 40 + 4 Laps 6  
19 29 France Yannick Dalmas Lola-Ford 39 Clutch 21  
Ret 14 France Philippe Streiff AGS-Ford 38 Throttle 16  
Ret 6 Italy Riccardo Patrese Williams-Judd 34 Spun Off 13  
Ret 21 Italy Nicola Larini Osella 27 Engine 18  
Ret 5 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Williams-Judd 16 Spun Off 11  
Ret 33 Italy Stefano Modena Euro Brun-Ford 15 Engine 25  
Ret 30 France Philippe Alliot Lola-Ford 8 Spun Off 20  
Ret 1 Brazil Nelson Piquet Lotus-Honda 1 Spun Off 5  
DNQ 24 Spain Luis Pérez-Sala Minardi-Ford    
DNQ 26 Sweden Stefan Johansson Ligier-Judd    
DNQ 4 United Kingdom Julian Bailey Tyrrell-Ford    
DNQ 23 Italy Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Ford    
DNPQ 31 Italy Gabriele Tarquini Coloni-Ford      

Standings after the race[edit]

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.

References[edit]


Previous race:
1988 British Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1988 season
Next race:
1988 Hungarian Grand Prix
Previous race:
1987 German Grand Prix
German Grand Prix Next race:
1989 German Grand Prix