British GP 1989
JULY 16, 1989
British GP, 1989
While the battle for the World Championship was not very exciting with Alain Prost well ahead, the fight to get out of pre-qualifying was frantic as the mid-year changeover point approached. On the top 13 teams qualified automatically. Before Silverstone it seemed that Brabham, Scuderia Italia, Rial and Onyx would get out of the predicament but AGS, Osella, Coloni, Zakspeed and EuroBrun looked to be stuck while Larrousse and Minardi were in trouble and Ligier and perhaps even Lotus looked threatened if there was a surprise result from one of the smaller teams. For the occasion AGS decided that it would replace Joachim Winkelhock with Yannick Dalmas.
There were a couple of changes in the field with Derek Warwick returning to Arrows having missed the French GP because of a bank injury. Eric Bernard stayed with Larrousse for a second race but it was announced that Michele Alboreto would be joining the team in Germany.
Qualifying was the usual story with Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost ahead in their McLaren-Hondas. the two Ferraris of Nigel Mansell and Gerhard Berger shared the second row while Riccardo Patrese's Williams was alongside Mauricio Gugelmin's March on row three. Then came Thierry Boutsen (Williams), Ivan Capelli (March), Sandro Nannini (Benetton) and Nelson Piquet (Lotus). Pierluigi Martini's Minardi was 11th.
Before the start Gugelmin hit trouble and had to start from the spare car in pitlane. Prost took the lead but Senna was not to be denied and forced his way ahead at the first corner (in another move which did not impress Prost). There was an element of humor at the back of the field where Nicola Larini (Osella) had started from the pits and was running way behind everyone else. He arrived at Woodcote Corner to find FISA President Jean-Marie Balestre (a loud campaigner for safety issues) in the process of walking across the track (which is not allowed). Fortunately Larini managed to avoid the errant official although the Frenchman's credibility suffered somewhat.
Berger disappeared quickly into the pits with a gearbox problem and so Boutsen and Patrese moved to fifth and sixth. On the 12th lap Senna spun from the lead, leaving his rival Prost in charge with Mansell second and Boutsen third. Thierry would drop down through the field because of a rear puncture and so Piquet moved to third until the closing laps when Nannini overtook him to take the final place on the podium. Piquet was fourth while the Minardi team stormed to an unlikely fifth and sixth places with great drives from both Martini and Luis Sala. The three points gained lifted the team from pre-qualifying and condemned Onyx to another six months of pre-qualifying hell.