Spanish GP 1986

Spanish GP, 1986

There had not been a Spanish GP for five years but the local authorities in Jerez had built a new circuit and so the F1 trucks rolled down to southern Spain for the event. There were no changes to the entry and in qualifying it was a familiar story with Ayrton Senna (Lotus-Renault) ahead of the two Williams-Hondas of Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell. The McLarens of Alain Prost and Keke Rosberg were next ahead of the Ligier-Renault of Rene Arnoux, Gerhard Berger's Benetton-BMW, Jacques Laffite in the second Ligier, Teo Fabi in the second Benetton and Johnny Dumfries in the second Lotus. Ferrari was struggling with Stefan Johansson 11th and Michele Alboreto 13th.

At the start Senna took the lead and with Piquet second and Rosberg and Prost quickly getting ahead of Mansell. The Englishman then began to charge and he moved gradually back up to second place and on the 39th lap he overtook Senna to take the lead. Mansell then pulled out a four second lead by Senna gradually reeled him in again, while Prost sat on his tail in his McLaren-TAG, Piquet having gone out with engine trouble.

With 10 laps to go Senna challenged for the lead but Mansell held him off. Senna was not going to be beaten and tried again at the hairpin at the back of the track. This time he made it through and Mansell had to lift off, which allowed the canny Prost to sneak into second place.

Mansell decided to go for a desperate gamble. He pitted for fresh tires, emerging 20secs behind Senna with nine laps to go. Those were mighty laps as Mansell carved into Senna's lead at a rate of four seconds a lap. But ahead of him on the road was Prost - and he was not going to give up without a fight.

Nigel was able to pass Prost but he was 0.7s slower on that lap than Senna. Mansell took up the chase again and as they set off on the last lap the pair were separated by only a second and a half. At the hairpin Mansell was right with Senna but there was nothing he could do through the next few corners. It was all going to be down to the acceleration out of the last corner.

The Williams-Honda was quicker but Senna got to the line first, the two cars side by side, separated by 0.014secs. It was the second closest finish in F1 history.

Prost was third with Rosberg fourth, Fabi fifth and Berger sixth.

12 Ayrton Senna Lotus-Renault  72 1h48m47.735s  
Nigel Mansell Williams-Honda  72 1h48m47.749s  
Alain Prost McLaren-TAG Porsche  72 1h49m09.287s  
Keke Rosberg McLaren-TAG Porsche  71  
19 Teo Fabi Benetton-BMW  71  
20 Gerhard Berger Benetton-BMW  71  
18 Thierry Boutsen Arrows-BMW  68  19 
16 Patrick Tambay Lola-Hart  66  18 
11 Johnny Dumfries Lotus-Renault  52 Gearbox 10 
Martin Brundle Tyrrell-Renault  41 Oil Loss 12 
26 Jacques Laffite Ligier-Renault  40 Drive Shaft 
Nelson Piquet Williams-Honda  39 Engine Overheating 
17 Marc Surer Arrows-BMW  39 Fuel Leak 22 
Elio de Angelis Brabham-BMW  29 Gearbox 15 
25 Rene Arnoux Ligier-Renault  29 Drive Shaft 
27 Michele Alboreto Ferrari  22 Wheel Bearing 13 
Philippe Streiff Tyrrell-Renault  22 Oil Loss 20 
22 Christian Danner Osella-Alfa Romeo  14 Engine 23 
28 Stefan Johansson Ferrari  11 Brakes/accident 11 
21 Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Alfa Romeo  10 Engine 21 
Riccardo Patrese Brabham-BMW  Gearbox 14 
23 Andrea de Cesaris Minardi-Motori Moderni  Differential 24 
14 Jonathan Palmer Zakspeed  Accident 16 
15 Alan Jones Lola-Hart  Accident 17 
24 Alessandro Nannini Minardi-Motori Moderni  -1 Differential 25