Belgian GP 1990
AUGUST 26, 1990
Belgian GP, 1990
The Monteverdi Onyx team had announced that it was withdrawing from the World Championship and so the two Ligiers escaped from pre-qualifying which meant that there were only seven cars fighting for four places in pre-qualifying.
The system of pre-qualifying was developed in response to the increasing number of teams competing in Formula 1. It was decided that 30 cars were the maximum safe limit to compete for 26 grid places. The cars which had to pre-qualify were decided at the beginning and the midpoint of each season. The 26 cars which had achieved the best results in the previous two-half seasons automatically entered official qualifying for the race. All the other cars had to pre-qualify for the four other slots available for official qualifying. Those that failed to pre-qualify just went home.
At the other end of the grid there was a lively battle for pole position between Ayrton Senna and Gerhard Berger, again dominant in the McLaren-Hondas. Alain Prost was third in his Ferrari with Thierry Boutsen (Williams) fourth. He was followed by Nigel Mansell (Ferrari), Sandro Nannini (Benetton), Riccardo Patrese's Williams and Nelson Piquet's Benetton. The top 10 was rounded off by the two Tyrrells: Jean Alesi ahead of Satoru Nakajima.
At the start Senna got the drop on Berger while behind them Aguri Suzuki's Lola Larrousse slid into Piquet's Benetton, which slid into Mansell's Ferrari, which turned and went nose-first into the barrier, blocking the track. As everyone dived for the outside line the two Lotuses collided. Further around the lap Nakajima hit Stefano Modena's Brabham and parked himself on a kerb. Emanuele Pirro's Dallara, starting from the pitlane, came to a stop as he accelerated onto the track. Nicola Larini's Ligier was parked close by. There were red flags and the race brought to a stop.
Martin Donnelly (Lotus) and Suzuki failed to take the restart. Senna took the lead again and this time Boutsen grabbed second but then there were red flags again: Paolo Barilla had had a big crash at Eau Rouge and bits of his Minardi were all over the road.
On lap 14 Prost overtook Berger for second and soon afterwards Gerhard was under threat from Boutsen. He pitted for new rubber. At the same time Patrese disappeared with a gearbox failure. On lap 21 Boutsen's race ended with transmission failure. Senna and Prost both pitted for new tyres and as Ayrton rejoined Nannini was on his tail. Prost however was soon up to and ahead of the Benetton. Berger also moved up to Nannini, but Sandro would not give way and on lap 36 the two cars collided though both managed to keep going.
As Senna reeled off the final laps ahead of Prost, Berger put the pressure on Nannini again. Pushing through Eau Rouge on lap 41 of 44 Sandro made a mistake and slid badly. Sandro lifted, lost momentum and on the drag up the hill from there Berger sailed past. Piquet was fifth with Mauricio Gugelmin sixth.
Senna's lead in the World Championship increased to 13 points.