1991 German Grand Prix
|Race 9 of 16 in the 1991 Formula One season|
|Date||July 28, 1991|
|Official name||Grosser Mobil 1 Preis von Deutschland|
|Location||Hockenheimring, Hockenheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany|
|Course||Permanent racing facility|
|Course length||6.802 km (4.226 mi)|
|Distance||45 laps, 306.090 km (190.195 mi)|
|Weather||Hot and sunny|
|Time||1:43.569 on lap 35|
The 1991 German Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Hockenheimring on 28 July 1991. It was the ninth round of the 1991 Formula One season. The 45-lap race was won by Williams driver Nigel Mansell after he started from pole position. His teammate Riccardo Patrese finished second with Ferrari driver Jean Alesi third.
Ayrton Senna spent a night in a hospital in Mannheim after crashing during pre-race testing a week earlier. The accident was caused by a tyre failure.
There were two changes to the entry list, the first was at Lotus where Johnny Herbert was replaced by young German Michael Bartels because of the former's Japanese Formula 3000 commitments, and the second was at Footwork where Alex Caffi was back in action after his road accident. Elsewhere Satoru Nakajima announced he would retire at the end of the year. The pre-qualifying draw was also redrawn, with Dallara, Modena, and Jordan escaping the Friday morning dungeon, and condemning Brabham, AGS, and Footwork to join Fondmetal and Coloni in the jittery Friday morning session.
In Saturday Practice Érik Comas had a massive accident in his Ligier, the French driver was unhurt, but it raised questions about the safety of the second chicane. Qualifying saw Nigel Mansell take pole from title rival Ayrton Senna. Gerhard Berger was third, followed by Riccardo Patrese, Alain Prost, Jean Alesi, Andrea de Cesaris, Nelson Piquet, Roberto Moreno, and Pierluigi Martini in the Minardi, taking full advantage of his Ferrari engine around the high speed circuit.
On Sunday, a couple of hours before the race, there was a FIA driver's meeting and Senna requested to race director Roland Bruynseraede that the tire walls at the chicanes be replaced with traffic cones because of the possibly of hitting the tires and rolling; that happened to him during qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix, and this heated up when FIA president Jean-Marie Balestre, Senna and a few other drivers had a brief argument over the regulations involving safety. Balestre then instigated a democratic vote, and the vote went towards removing the tire walls and replacing them with traffic cones.
At the start of the race, Mansell made a great start while Berger slotted into second ahead of team-mate Senna, with Prost, Patrese, and Alesi rounding out the top six. At the back Mark Blundell collided with Nicola Larini, Blundell continued, but Larini's day was over. Berger made a bad pit-stop and fell back to tenth, while Prost started to reel in Senna. Mansell was running away at the front and when he pitted for tyres he dropped just behind Alesi, but did not waste time in changing the situation and passed Alesi two laps later to re-take the lead. While Mansell was surging away, a tremendous battle developed for third place between Senna, Prost, and Patrese, with Riccardo beating both men before setting off after Alesi. Senna and Prost continued to squabble over fourth and the major talking point came on lap 37 when Prost attempted to pass Senna going into the first chicane. Prost was faster and tried to go around the outside, Senna would not give way and Prost went off and proceeded to stall the engine. Prost blamed Senna and said he would not be so forgiving the next time while Senna accused Prost of complaining for the sake of complaining. Meanwhile, Mansell cruised to his third straight win, leading home Patrese, Alesi, Berger, de Cesaris, and Gachot, Senna having run out of fuel on the last lap for the second straight race, allowing Mansell to close to within eight points of Senna in the drivers championship.
|7||33||Andrea de Cesaris||Jordan-Ford||1:40.387||1:40.239||+3.152|
|12||16||Ivan Capelli||Leyton House-Ilmor||1:42.025||1:41.330||+4.243|
|16||15||Maurício Gugelmin||Leyton House-Ilmor||no time||1:41.735||+4.648|
|30||35||Eric van de Poele||Lambo-Lamborghini||1:44.489||1:44.207||+7.120|
- Pre-qualifying was reshaped following the mid season point. Jordan, Dallara and Modena were all removed from pre-qualifying as they had performed better than teams allowed in qualifying proper. AGS, Footwork and Brabham all slipped into pre-qualifying.
- Satoru Nakajima announced his decision to retire from F1 at the end of the season.
- German driver Michael Bartels stood in for Johnny Herbert but failed to qualify
- Alex Caffi returned to the Footwork team replacing Stefan Johansson. Caffi had threatened legal action should his wish not be granted.
- Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost were again embroiled in controversy, attempting to overtake Senna, Prost felt the Brazilian baulked him and left him with no choice but to go up the escape road where Prost stalled. Prost controversially claimed after the race "If I catch him in that position again I will push him out, that is for sure!"
- Senna ran out of fuel when 4th and stopped with one lap left coincidentally in the same spot where Prost stalled.
- The 1991 German Grand Prix was the first Grand Prix under a unified Germany. German Reunification had occurred on October 3, 1990, 3 months and 3 days after the previous Grand Prix.
Championship standings after the race
- Bold text indicates who still has a theoretical chance of becoming World Champion.
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
1991 British Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
1991 Hungarian Grand Prix
1990 German Grand Prix
|German Grand Prix||Next race:
1992 German Grand Prix