|1990 German Grand Prix|
|Race 9 of 16 in the 1990 Formula One World Championship|
|Date||29 July 1990|
|Official name||Grosser Mobil 1 Preis von Deutschland|
near Heidelberg, West Germany
|Course||Permanent racing facility|
|Course length||6.802 km (4.227 miles)|
|Distance||45 laps, 306.090 km (190.195 miles)|
|Weather||Hot, dry, sunny|
|Time||1:45.602 on lap 31|
The 1990 German Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at the Hockenheimring on 29 July 1990. It was the ninth race of the 1990 Formula One World Championship. The race was the 52nd German Grand Prix and the 14th to be held at the Hockenheimring. It was the 39th and last Formula One Grand Prix to be held in West Germany prior to its re-unification with East Germany. The race was held over 45 laps of the seven kilometre circuit for a race distance of 306 kilometres.
The race was won by 1988 World Champion, Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna driving a McLaren MP4/5B. He took a six-second victory over Italian driver Alessandro Nannini driving a Benetton B190 who was just two seconds in front of Senna's Austrian teammate Gerhard Berger.
Senna's win put him back into the championship points lead, four ahead of Ferrari driver Alain Prost.
The Hockenheim circuit had been given all-new pits facilities with a wider pit lane, and a wider start-finish straight.
The participants in the Friday morning pre-qualifying sessions were slightly reshuffled prior to this event, the season having reached its mid-point. Larrousse had scored enough points during the previous two half-seasons to be relieved of the requirement to pre-qualify, and could automatically join the rest of the field in the main qualifying sessions from here on. A failure to score any points so far this season meant that Ligier were forced to join the pre-qualifying pool. Osella, AGS, EuroBrun, Coloni and Life were all still required to pre-qualify.
Here at Hockenheim, Ligier were comfortably first and second in the one-hour session, with Philippe Alliot outpacing team-mate Nicola Larini in their Ford-powered JS33Bs. Third fastest was Olivier Grouillard in the Osella, and Yannick Dalmas was fourth in his AGS. It was Grouillard's eighth pre-qualification from nine events, and Dalmas' third.
Those missing out on pre-qualification included fifth-placed Gabriele Tarquini in the other AGS, a second slower than his team-mate, and Roberto Moreno, sixth in the EuroBrun. Coloni, having parted ways with Subaru and their uncompetitive flat 12 engine, appeared with the modified but untested C3C, powered by a customer Cosworth DFR V8 engine. Bertrand Gachot spun the car during the session and damaged it, failing to pre-qualify for the ninth consecutive time this season. Also ending his involvement at this early stage for the ninth Grand Prix in a row was Claudio Langes in the other EuroBrun, ahead only of Bruno Giacomelli, who was again a far distant last in the Life.
After three straight wins by Ferraris Alain Prost, McLaren-Honda showed that they were back on top in qualifying. Honda promised McLaren a more powerful V10 engine at Hockenheim and McLaren had done some modifications to the MP4/5B chassis. Both parties delivered with pole man Senna and second placed Berger (only 0.2 seconds slower) the only drivers to lap in the 1:40's and they did this during the first qualifying session- an indication of the McLaren-Honda car's superior pace at one of the fastest Grand Prix circuits of the year, with both cars lapping at over 150 mph (240 km/h). The Ferraris of Prost and Nigel Mansell were over 1.5 seconds slower (with the Englishman complaining of a down on power engine compared to his team mate), and the Williams-Renaults of Riccardo Patrese and Thierry Boutsen occupying the 3rd row. So confident were McLaren that their times would not be beaten that both Senna and Berger did over 20 laps each and spent the entire second qualifying session working on their race set up without actually setting anything like a qualifying time, their fastest times over 6 seconds slower than the previous day. McLaren also introduced a new aerodynamic cowling cover for the MP4/5B at Hockenheim designed to lessen the buffeting effect on the drivers heads by diverting air to the sides of the car. This would remain on the car for the rest of the season.
Rounding out the top 10 were Nelson Piquet (Benetton-Ford), Jean Alesi (Tyrrell-Ford), Alessandro Nannini (Benetton-Ford) who had a fiery crash during Friday qualifying at the Bremsschikane 2 after riding a curb and hitting the barrier hard enough to throw the car into the air and back onto the track causing the session to be stopped. Nannini survived the crash with little more than bruised pride. The 10th fastest qualifier was Ivan Capelli in the Leyton House-Judd. Such was the spread in times that Capelli was some 4.151 seconds slower than Senna.
|10||16||Ivan Capelli||Leyton House-Judd||1:45.025||1:44.349||+4.151|
|14||15||Maurício Gugelmin||Leyton House-Judd||no time||1:45.193||+4.995|
|30||22||Andrea de Cesaris||Dallara-Ford||1:48.118||1:48.032||+7.834|
The circuit's fast nature resulted in several engine failures, although the four big teams of the era took all six points-paying positions. The first driver to retire with an engine failure was Michele Alboreto on lap 11, he was then followed out by Mauricio Gugelmin and David Brabham 2 laps later along with Pierluigi Martini in the only Minardi by lap 21. Also involved with the engine failures were Nelson Piquet in the Benetton on lap 24 and Satoru Nakajima in the Tyrrell one lap later.
Berger got a stronger start off the line than Senna did but the Brazilian was able to hold on to the lead through the first corner. Senna lead the first lap ahead of Berger, Prost, Mansell, Patrese and Piquet. The order of the top 6 remained the same until the 11th lap when Piquet made an attempt to pass Patrese in the Williams, but had to take an escape road and was overtaken for 6th by teammate Nannini as a result. Meanwhile Mansell in the second Ferrari missed his braking point at the Ostkurve chicane on lap 14 and broke his front wing which also damaged his car, his fourth position was not lost but he was forced to retire in the pits 2 laps later due to the damage being too great. Back upfront Nannini overtook Patrese for the lead as the Williams and Benetton teams had planned to go the race distance with no pit-stops. However, the gamble for Williams had failed since Patrese's tires were badly damaged in the closing stages and was forced to eventually pit. While Boutsen in the other Williams was eventually overtaken by Prost for fourth position and by teammate Patrese for 5th, but managed to hold on to 6th for the closing laps. Senna eventually passed Nannini on lap 34 whilst overlapping JJ Lehto and eventually took the victory. Ayrton Senna won the race by 6 seconds ahead of Alessandro Nannini in the remaining Benetton, Gerhard Berger in the second McLaren, Alain Prost in the remaining Ferrari, Riccardo Patrese and Thierry Boutsen in the Williams.
Both Onyx Grand Prix teammates JJ Lehto and Gregor Foitek both got their renamed Monteverdi ORE-1Bs into the race, the last time either car would qualify for a race prior to the team's dissolution in August.
Philippe Alliot was disqualified because marshals helped his Ligier JS33B rejoin the race after being blocked by the spinning Dallara 190 of Emanuele Pirro. Fastest lap of the race was set by Thierry Boutsen in his Williams, his first such achievement.
Championship standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
- Walker, Murray (1990). Murray Walker's Grand Prix Year. Hazleton Publishing. p. 79–86. ISBN 0 905138 82 1.
- 1990 German Grand Prix 1st Qualifying Session
- 1990 German Grand Prix 2nd Qualifying Session
- "1990 German Grand Prix". formula1.com. Archived from the original on 21 December 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
- "Germany 1990 - Championship • STATS F1". www.statsf1.com. Retrieved 18 March 2019.