Portuguese GP 1993
SEPTEMBER 26, 1993
Portuguese GP, 1993
In the fortnight after the Italian GP Michael Andretti quit McLaren to return to the United States and Indy Car racing. The team's test driver Mika Hakkinen took over the second car. The team also carried out secret testing with Lamborghini V12 engines at Silverstone. At the same time Peugeot had announced its plans to enter F1 in 1994 as an engine supplier and a deal with McLaren made a lot of sense. Elsewhere in the paddock Harvey Postlethwaite left Ferrari to return to Tyrrell.
There was no change at the front in Estoril with the two Williams-Renaults dominant as they had been all year. The only difference was that this time Damon Hill was ahead of Alain Prost. Alain had a 25 point advantage in the World Championship and he knew already that he was not staying at Williams in 1994, as Williams was expected to hire sworn rival Ayrton Senna. Mika Hakkinen was an impressive third on the grid ahead of team mate Senna with Jean Alesi (Ferrari) back in fifth ahead of the Benettons of Michael Schumacher and Riccardo Patrese. The top 10 was rounded off by the Ferrari of Gerhard Berger and Derek Warwick's Footwork.
There was drama before the start as Hill's Williams refused to fire up and he had to start at the back of the grid. At the start Hakkinen bid for the lead against Prost. At the same time Alesi and Senna were going around the outside. As things turned out Alesi emerged ahead of Hakkinen and Senna, although the Brazilian passed the Finn in the course of the first lap. Prost was fourth with Schumacher fifth ahead of Berger, Mark Blundell (Ligier-Renault), Patrese and Martin Brundle in the second Ligier. At the back Hill began a charge which took him to 10th place by lap 8.
On lap 20 Senna's engine blew. Almost immediately Alesi and Hakkinen pitted, the Finn getting away ahead. Schumacher also stopped and so Prost was suddenly leading Hill with Blundell third. The Williams-Renaults were on a one-stop strategy. The two men pitted on laps 29 and 30 and so Schumacher was in the lead. Soon afterwards Hakkinen went wide exiting the final corner and hit a bump which launched the car three feet into the air. It spun across the track and thumped the inside wall.
Schumacher led Prost with Alesi third and Hill fourth. Prost was waiting for Schumacher to stop again but gradually he realized that the German was going to try to go the whole way. He closed right up to Schumacher. Hill also closed up. When they mixed with the backmarkers Schumacher used traffic to his advantage and managed to stay ahead all the way to the flag. Prost wanted to win but he also knew that second was good enough to secure the World Championship. Hill was a close third with Alesi fourth, Wendlinger fifth and Brundle sixth.
|12||4||Andrea de Cesaris||Tyrrell-Yamaha||68||17|
|15r||9||Derek Warwick||Footwork-Mugen Honda||63||Accident||9|
|r||10||Aguri Suzuki||Footwork-Mugen Honda||27||Gearbox||16|