1991 Spanish Grand Prix
|1991 Spanish Grand Prix|
|Race 14 of 16 in the 1991 Formula One World Championship|
|Date||29 September 1991|
|Official name||XXXIII Gran Premio Tío Pepe de España|
Circuit de Catalunya|
|Course||Permanent racing facility|
|Course length||4.747 km (2.950 mi)|
|Distance||65 laps, 308.555 km (191.727 mi)|
|Weather||Warm and overcast, drying|
|Time||1:22.837 on lap 63|
The 1991 Spanish Grand Prix (formally the XXXIII Gran Premio Tío Pepe de España) was a Formula One motor race held on 29 September 1991 at the Circuit de Catalunya. It was the fourteenth race of the 1991 FIA Formula One World Championship, and the first Spanish Grand Prix to be held at Catalunya.
The 65-lap race was won by Nigel Mansell, driving a Williams-Renault, after he started from second position. Alain Prost finished second in a Ferrari, with Mansell's teammate Riccardo Patrese third. Mansell's Drivers' Championship rival, Ayrton Senna, finished fifth in his McLaren-Honda, meaning that he led Mansell by 16 points with two races remaining.
There was a lot of action in the backrooms in the week separating the Portuguese and Spanish Grands Prix with the big news being that Max Mosley was elected president of the FISA, replacing Jean-Marie Balestre. There were also changes in the driver line-ups as Michael Bartels returned to Lotus replacing Johnny Herbert who had obligations in the Japanese Formula 3000. Jordan had replaced Roberto Moreno with young Italian rookie Alessandro Zanardi, and Fondmetal had sacked Olivier Grouillard and replaced him with Gabriele Tarquini of AGS, Grouillard promptly taking Tarquini's old seat. The cash-strapped Coloni team was in dire straits with their driver Pedro Chaves having decided to jump off the ship before it sunk and, as no-one else wanted to attempt to pre-qualify the car (something that Chaves had been unable to do all season), the team were forced to stay in the garage. Championship challenger Nigel Mansell was limping all weekend, the Williams driver having injured his ankle in a football match. Qualifying saw Gerhard Berger do a favour to teammate Ayrton Senna by taking pole position from Mansell, Senna, Riccardo Patrese, Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost, Jean Alesi, Ivan Capelli, Emanuele Pirro and Nelson Piquet.
On race morning it was raining, but by start time it had stopped, although the track was still wet. At the start Senna got away well and challenged Berger, while Mansell was right on his tail. Toward the end of lap 1 Schumacher surprised Mansell to take third place. At the back Éric Bernard and Érik Comas collided, both men being out on the spot. The track was incredibly slippery and there was a lot of action at the front with Senna, Schumacher, Mansell, and Alesi all fighting over third place, while Berger started to scamper away in the lead. Mansell tried to chase the leader and forced his way past Schumacher before setting off after Senna. Eventually he pounced on the main straight, the two great rivals going wheel to wheel, just millimetres apart, with Mansell taking the position and setting off after Berger. Prost was the first front-runner to stop for dry tyres, followed shortly by leader Berger, who had a very bad stop. Mansell and Senna both stopped on the same lap and it was the McLaren team who won the confrontation, getting Senna out ahead and into the lead from Berger, Mansell, and Schumacher.
On the following lap Senna let Berger through as Mansell was closing in. The rain returned and Senna had a dramatic spin at the last corner, dropping from second to fifth while Schumacher passed Prost for third. Mansell closed on Berger, and on lap 20 he made his way up the inside to take the lead and proceeded to pull away, while Berger came under pressure from the charging Schumacher. A close battle ended when Schumacher spun while trying to pass, he would stay in the race, but down in sixth place, which would become fifth when Berger retired with yet another electronic failure. The action continued for the major placings as Patrese passed Senna for third then Alesi blew past Senna for fourth after Schumacher pitted. Mansell duly took victory from Prost, Patrese, Alesi, Senna, and Schumacher, while the Minardi drivers ended the race red faced due to a last lap collision between Gianni Morbidelli and Pierluigi Martini. Mansell's win with Senna fifth meant that the title race was back on, but Senna still led by sixteen points as the teams headed on to Japan.
Following the race, AGS withdrew from Formula One.
|8||16||Ivan Capelli||Leyton House-Ilmor||1:21.682||1:20.584||+1.833|
|13||15||Maurício Gugelmin||Leyton House-Ilmor||1:21.319||1:20.743||+1.992|
|17||33||Andrea de Cesaris||Jordan-Ford||1:21.865||1:22.992||+3.114|
|30||35||Eric van de Poele||Lambo-Lamborghini||1:27.501||1:27.566||+8.750|
Championship standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
1991 Portuguese Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
1991 Japanese Grand Prix
1990 Spanish Grand Prix
|Spanish Grand Prix||Next race:|
1992 Spanish Grand Prix