1989 British Grand Prix
|Race 8 of 16 in the 1989 Formula One season|
|Date||16 July 1989|
|Official name||XLII Shell British Grand Prix|
|Course||Permanent racing facility|
|Course length||4.778 km (2.969 mi)|
|Distance||64 laps, 305.904 km (190.080 mi)|
|Weather||Warm, dry, sunny|
|Time||1:12.017 on lap 57|
The 1989 British Grand Prix (formally the XLII Shell British Grand Prix) was a Formula One motor race held at Silverstone on 16 July 1989. It was the eighth race of the 1989 Formula One season. The 64-lap race was won by McLaren driver Alain Prost after he started from second position. Nigel Mansell finished second for the Ferrari team and Benetton driver Alessandro Nannini came in third.
McLaren went into the race with a new oil system and transverse gearbox which was feared to be unreliable. Nevertheless, the Woking team took control of qualifying with Ayrton Senna ahead of Alain Prost. After announcing before the previous race in France that he would be leaving McLaren at the end of the season, Prost subsequently announced that he would be joining Ferrari in 1990.
Mauricio Gugelmin's March-Judd developed a water related problem moments before the race and therefore had to start the race from the pitlane. Derek Warwick started the race with a special seat in his Arrows despite a karting accident which resulted in back pain, while triple World Champion Nelson Piquet showed spark and was looking good having qualified well in his Lotus and been 7th fastest in the warm-up. Team Lotus had encountered an unusual problem during Friday morning's free practice session when the pit crew were descended upon by flies which had apparently been attracted by the teams bright yellow clothing.
Prost managed to gain the better start at the green light but Senna was later on the brakes and re-took the lead going into Copse Corner. For the first few laps it was very close between Senna, Prost, Mansell and his team mate Gerhard Berger. But then Berger pulled into the pits at the end of lap 4 with electrical problems, rejoining the race some laps later. On lap 5 the race order was Senna, Prost, Mansell, the Williams pair of Thierry Boutsen and Riccardo Patrese, and Nannini in the Benetton with its new Ford HB V8 engine. The leading trio were breaking clear of the rest with Mansell encouraging the British crowd by making the fastest lap on lap 6, 1.6 behind the leader and on lap 7 and 10 also.
Piquet and Ivan Capelli both forced their way past Pierluigi Martini into 7th and 8th respectively and began to close on Nannini. Ayrton Senna spun out of the lead on lap 12 going into Becketts due to gear selection problems, allowing his team mate Prost to take the lead ahead of the Ferrari of Nigel Mansell which was handling well on the fast sweeps of the Silverstone circuit. Patrese being hounded by Nannini and Piquet out-braked Boutsen going under the bridge before Woodcote to take third position. However, on lap 19 Patrese had a huge accident at Club Corner due to a burst radiator which sprayed water on the rear wheels causing the car to lose grip. The Williams swapped ends and skidded over the gravel into the tyre barrier on the outside. As the leading duo began lapping the midfielders, Prost began to extend his lead, helped by the superior power of the Honda V10 engine. On lap 22, the race order was Prost, 2.5 seconds ahead of Mansell, Boutsen a further 32 seconds behind and only half a second ahead of Piquet (Nannini had pitted for new tyres). They were some 25 seconds ahead of the Lola-Lamborghini of Philippe Alliot who was just one second of the Tyrrell of Jean Alesi in just his second Grand Prix start. Piquet having his best race of the year, then out braked Boutsen under the bridge just as Patrese had to claim third position on lap 23. On lap 29 Prost lead Mansell by 3.2 seconds, Piquet was 42 seconds behind the leader, Nannini 62 seconds behind Prost, Gugelmin who started at the back 64 seconds behind and in 6th position was Alliot one lap down.
Alesi retired having spun at the exit of Club Corner. Prost had built up a cushion of between 7–9 seconds before, on lap 42, Mansell's Ferrari developed a puncture on the front right tyre, causing the car to drag on the surface with smoke and sparks. Mansell crawled back to the pits from Hangar Straight and made a pitstop which took 11 seconds, 54 seconds behind Prost and still in second position. Prost then made what seemed a precautionary pitstop for tyres but a problem with fitting the right rear meant it was 25 seconds before he was released off the jacks. His lead over Mansell has been reduced to 12 seconds. On lap 56 Nannini passed Piquet to claim the final podium position.
Minardi needed to score at least 3 points to avoid "relegation" to the pre-qualifying sessions (or a 5th with the other car better than the best Onyx and at least 12th, without Nicola Larini in the Osella or the Larrousse Team scoring more points), and they actually achieved that with the two drivers, Pierluigi Martini and Luis Pérez-Sala finishing 5th and 6th with Larini and both Larrousses retiring, although Sala finished less than a second ahead of the Ligier of Frenchman Olivier Grouillard. For Spaniard Sala it was his first and only point scoring finish in Formula One and the first time a Spanish driver had scored World Championship points since Alfonso de Portago had finished 5th in the 1957 Argentine Grand Prix. This meant that Onyx was not able to "promote" themselves out of pre-qualifying, despite scoring a 5th place with Stefan Johansson at Paul Ricard.
|25||22||Andrea de Cesaris||Dallara-Ford||1:13.335||1:12.904||+3.805|
Championship standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
1989 French Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
1989 German Grand Prix
1988 British Grand Prix
|British Grand Prix||Next race:
1990 British Grand Prix