1990 United States Grand Prix

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United States  1990 United States Grand Prix
Race details
Race 1 of 16 in the 1990 Formula One season
Phoenix Grand Prix Route - 1989, 1990.svg
Date March 11, 1990
Official name XXVII Iceberg United States Grand Prix
Location Phoenix street circuit
Phoenix, Arizona
Course Temporary street course
3.800 km (2.361 mi)
Distance 72 laps, 273.60 km (169.992 mi)
Weather Cloudy and cool with temperatures reaching up to 18 °C (64 °F)[1]
Pole position
Driver Austria Gerhard Berger McLaren-Honda
Time 1:28.664
Fastest lap
Driver Austria Gerhard Berger McLaren-Honda
Time 1:31.050 on lap 34
Podium
First Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda
Second France Jean Alesi Tyrrell-Ford
Third Belgium Thierry Boutsen Williams-Renault

The 1990 United States Grand Prix was a Formula One race held on March 11, 1990 in Phoenix, Arizona. It was the opening round of the 1990 Formula One season. It was the 32nd United States Grand Prix since the American Grand Prize was first held in 1908, and the 25th since the first United States Grand Prix was held at Riverside in 1958. It was the second to be held on the streets of Phoenix in Arizona. It was held over 72 laps of the four-kilometer circuit for a race distance of 273 kilometers.

The race was won by the 1988 Formula One world champion, Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna, driving a McLaren MP4/5B. Senna had to come from behind after the young French driver Jean Alesi almost stole the race away in what would have been a major upset win for Alesi and his comparatively under-funded Tyrrell 018. Senna took an eight-second win over Alesi, who scored his first podium finish, with Belgian driver Thierry Boutsen finishing third in his Williams FW13B.


Summary[edit]

Background[edit]

Swiss driver Gregor Foitek made his Formula One race debut for the Brabham team. He had attempted to qualify for races during the 1989 season, failing to make the grid in eleven qualifying attempts for Euro Brun and one for Rial.

Qualifying[edit]

Unexpected rain on Saturday threw qualifying for a loop, so the grid was something of a lottery, composed entirely of times from Friday's session. Pirelli's soft qualifying tires caught Goodyear off guard, and the Italian manufacturer put five of its teams in the top ten positions, including Jean Alesi, who was fourth in a Tyrrell. Team manager Ken Tyrrell had surprised the paddock by signing with Pirelli two days before the race, after 18 years with Goodyear. Gerhard Berger's pole-winning McLaren was the only car in the first two rows sporting Goodyears. Pierluigi Martini put Minardi on the front row for the only time in the team's history, less than seven-hundredths off Berger's pole time. In addition, Andrea de Cesaris (Scuderia Italia), Olivier Grouillard (Osella) and Roberto Moreno (EuroBrun) all scored what proved to be their team's best grid position of the year. Philippe Alliot was excluded when a mechanic worked on the car outside of the pit area during Friday's practice.

Race[edit]

Martin Donnelly did not take the dummy grid due to gearbox failure. (Some sources consider this a DNS.)

Race day was cool with a chance of rain (that never materialized). The start was even more important than usual, because of the haphazardness of the grid positions. Berger quickly pulled ahead of Martini and moved over in front of him, but Alesi, whose F1 career had begun in his home country of France the previous summer, made an even quicker start, passed them both and outbraked Berger into the first corner. He immediately began pulling away, and led by 2.4 seconds after one lap.

Senna got by de Cesaris for third, and closed on Berger, who was giving up a half second a lap to Alesi. The Brazilian got by his teammate when, on lap 9, Berger hit a bump under braking, backed into the tire wall and damaged his rear wing. He pitted for a new wing, and recorded the fastest lap of the race, but eventually retired with a clutch problem.

When Berger spun, Senna was 8.2 seconds behind Alesi. Not knowing whether the Tyrrell's Pirelli tires would last, Senna was reluctant to push too hard early on. The Italian rubber had proven its durability when, after 30 laps, Alesi remained in the lead.

Patiently waiting for an opportunity, Senna slipped inside Alesi on lap 34, but he was shocked when the Tyrrell held the outside line on the exit and took the inside on the next turn! At the same point, one lap later, Senna pounced again, this time making sure he had the proper line through the short straight to the next turn to hold his new position.

After several attempts to regain the lead, Alesi decided to conserve his tires, and let Senna go. Meanwhile, Nelson Piquet had progressed from sixth on the grid to third by lap 17. Brake trouble caused him to flatspot his tires, however, and on lap 28 he pitted for new ones. This allowed Thierry Boutsen's Williams through, and though he battled a problem with his engine intermittently cutting out, he maintained third place to the flag. Piquet had to settle for fourth in his first drive for Benetton.

Prost had fallen back to ninth at the start when he couldn't select third gear, and, while he advanced to fourth place by lap 17, his gearbox troubles proved terminal on lap 21. In the other Ferrari, Nigel Mansell's departure on lap 49, while running fifth, was more spectacular. On the straight at 160 mph, his clutch disintegrated and pierced the oil tank. The engine seized and erupted in a huge fireball, sliding all over the track. Mansell somehow controlled the spin and was able to stop safely.

Senna built his lead over Alesi to 28.5 seconds, but backed off slightly when his engine began sounding less than healthy. Stefano Modena and Satoru Nakajima, in a Brabham and the second Tyrrell, respectively, finished the scoring in fifth and sixth places. It was the 21st win of Ayrton Senna's career and the first of six for the season. The Brazilian would go on to win his second World Championship. Alesi scored the first podium finish of his career.

The first two finishers were full of praise for one another after the race. Senna said he knew Alesi had the ingredients to be World Champion, and Alesi gushed, "He is my hero and has been for many years." Other winners in the race were Ken Tyrrell, with two cars in the points; and Pirelli, with three points finishers. About the only down note was the tiny crowd of 15,000 that witnessed such a great show.

Classification[edit]

Pre Qualifying[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Time Gap
1 33 Brazil Roberto Moreno EuroBrun-Judd 1:32.292
2 29 France Éric Bernard Lola-Lamborghini 1:32.711 +0.419
3 14 France Olivier Grouillard Osella-Ford 1:33.181 +0.889
4 30 Japan Aguri Suzuki Lola-Lamborghini 1:33.331 +1.039
5 17 Italy Gabriele Tarquini AGS-Ford 1:35.420 +3.128
6 18 France Yannick Dalmas AGS-Ford 1:35.481 +3.189
7 34 Italy Claudio Langes EuroBrun-Judd 1:37.399 +5.107
8 39 Australia Gary Brabham Life 2:07.147 +35.855
9 31 Belgium Bertrand Gachot Coloni-Subaru 5:15.010 +2:43.718

Qualifying[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Q1 Q2 Gap
1 28 Austria Gerhard Berger McLaren-Honda 1:28.664 1:53.486
2 23 Italy Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Ford 1:28.731 2:33.083 +0.067
3 22 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Dallara-Ford 1:29.019 1:57.435 +0.355
4 4 France Jean Alesi Tyrrell-Ford 1:29.408 1:54.738 +0.744
5 27 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda 1:29.431 1:52.015 +0.767
6 20 Brazil Nelson Piquet Benetton-Ford 1:29.862 1:55.449 +1.198
7 1 France Alain Prost Ferrari 1:29.910 1:56.661 +1.246
8 14 France Olivier Grouillard Osella-Ford 1:29.947 +1.283
9 5 Belgium Thierry Boutsen Williams-Renault 1:30.059 1:52.771 +1.395
10 8 Italy Stefano Modena Brabham-Judd 1:30.127 +1.463
11 3 Japan Satoru Nakajima Tyrrell-Ford 1:30.130 +1.466
12 6 Italy Riccardo Patrese Williams-Renault 1:30.213 1:53.530 +1.549
13 25 Italy Nicola Larini Ligier-Ford 1:30.424 +1.760
14 24 Italy Paolo Barilla Minardi-Ford 1:31.194 +2.530
15 29 France Éric Bernard Lola-Lamborghini 1:31.226 +2.562
16 33 Brazil Roberto Moreno EuroBrun-Judd 1:31.247 1:51.538 +2.583
17 2 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Ferrari 1:31.363 1:52.405 +2.699
18 30 Japan Aguri Suzuki Lola-Lamborghini 1:31.414 +2.750
19 12 United Kingdom Martin Donnelly Lotus-Lamborghini 1:31.650 1:49.942 +2.986
20 10 Germany Bernd Schneider Arrows-Ford 1:31.892 +3.228
21 9 Italy Michele Alboreto Arrows-Ford 1:31.948 1:54.499 +3.284
22 19 Italy Alessandro Nannini Benetton-Ford 1:31.984 +3.320
23 7 Switzerland Gregor Foitek Brabham-Judd 1:32.398 +3.734
24 11 United Kingdom Derek Warwick Lotus-Lamborghini 1:32.400 2:05.974 +3.736
25 15 Brazil Maurício Gugelmin Leyton House-Judd 1:32.904 +4.240
26 16 Italy Ivan Capelli Leyton House-Judd 1:33.044 +4.380
27 35 Sweden Stefan Johansson Onyx-Ford 1:33.468 +4.804
28 21 Italy Gianni Morbidelli Dallara-Ford 1:34.292 +5.628
29 36 Finland JJ Lehto Onyx-Ford
DSQ 26 France Philippe Alliot Ligier-Ford 1:31.664 +3.000

Race[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 27 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda 72 1:52:32.829 5 9
2 4 France Jean Alesi Tyrrell-Ford 72 +8.685 4 6
3 5 Belgium Thierry Boutsen Williams-Renault 72 +54.080 9 4
4 20 Brazil Nelson Piquet Benetton-Ford 72 +1:08.358 6 3
5 8 Italy Stefano Modena Brabham-Judd 72 +1:09.503 10 2
6 3 Japan Satoru Nakajima Tyrrell-Ford 71 +1 Lap 11 1
7 23 Italy Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Ford 71 +1 Lap 2
8 29 France Éric Bernard Lola-Lamborghini 71 +1 Lap 15
9 6 Italy Riccardo Patrese Williams-Renault 71 +1 Lap 12
10 9 Italy Michele Alboreto Arrows-Ford 70 +2 Laps 21
11 19 Italy Alessandro Nannini Benetton-Ford 70 +2 Laps 22
12 10 Germany Bernd Schneider Arrows-Ford 70 +2 Laps 20
13 33 Brazil Roberto Moreno EuroBrun-Judd 67 +5 Laps 16
14 15 Brazil Maurício Gugelmin Leyton House-Judd 66 +6 Laps 25
Ret 24 Italy Paolo Barilla Minardi-Ford 54 Physical 14
Ret 30 Japan Aguri Suzuki Lola-Lamborghini 53 Brakes 18
Ret 2 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Ferrari 49 Clutch 17
Ret 28 Austria Gerhard Berger McLaren-Honda 44 Clutch 1
Ret 7 Switzerland Gregor Foitek Brabham-Judd 39 Accident 23
Ret 14 France Olivier Grouillard Osella-Ford 39 Collision 8
Ret 22 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Dallara-Ford 25 Engine 3
Ret 1 France Alain Prost Ferrari 21 Oil Leak 7
Ret 16 Italy Ivan Capelli Leyton House-Judd 20 Electrical 26
Ret 11 United Kingdom Derek Warwick Lotus-Lamborghini 6 Gearbox 24
Ret 25 Italy Nicola Larini Ligier-Ford 4 Throttle 13
Ret 12 United Kingdom Martin Donnelly Lotus-Lamborghini 0 Gearbox 19
DSQ 26 France Philippe Alliot Ligier-Ford
DNQ 35 Sweden Stefan Johansson Onyx-Ford
DNQ 21 Italy Gianni Morbidelli Dallara-Ford
DNQ 36 Finland JJ Lehto Onyx-Ford
DNPQ 17 Italy Gabriele Tarquini AGS-Ford
DNPQ 18 France Yannick Dalmas AGS-Ford
DNPQ 34 Italy Claudio Langes EuroBrun-Judd
DNPQ 39 Australia Gary Brabham Life
DNPQ 31 Belgium Bertrand Gachot Coloni-Subaru

Notes[edit]

Standings after the race[edit]

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

References[edit]

  • Rob Walker (June, 1990). "2nd United States Grand Prix at Phoenix: Senna's Surprise". Road & Track, 92–96.

External links[edit]


Previous race:
1989 Australian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1990 season
Next race:
1990 Brazilian Grand Prix
Previous race:
1989 United States Grand Prix
United States Grand Prix Next race:
1991 United States Grand Prix

Coordinates: 33°26′52.5″N 112°4′28.5″W / 33.447917°N 112.074583°W / 33.447917; -112.074583