Belgian GP 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.

With Life and EuroBrun really struggling a Coloni pre-qualified for the first time in the year - although Bertrand Gachot did not make the race in official qualifying.

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.

Start number three was clean with Senna ahead of Berger, Prost, Boutsen, Patrese, Nannini, Piquet and Mansell. Nigel's race was soon over. He dropped down the field and retired on lap 11.

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.

27 Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda  44 1h26m31.997s  
Alain Prost Ferrari  44 1h26m35.547s  
28 Gerhard Berger McLaren-Honda  44 1h27m00.459s  
19 Alessando Nannini Benetton-Cosworth  44 1h27m21.334s  
20 Nelson Piquet Benetton-Cosworth  44 1h28m01.647s  
15 Mauricio Gugelmin Leyton House-Judd  44 1h28m20.848s  14 
16 Ivan Capelli Leyton House-Judd  43  12 
Jean Alesi Tyrrell-Cosworth  43  
29 Eric Bernard Lola-Lamborghini  43  15 
10 10 Alex Caffi Arrows-Cosworth  43  19 
11 11 Derek Warwick Lotus-Lamborghini  43  18 
12 12 Martin Donnelly Lotus-Lamborghini  43  22 
13 Michele Alboreto Arrows-Cosworth  43  26 
14 25 Nicola Larini Ligier-Cosworth  42  21 
15 23 Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Cosworth  42  16 
16 14 Olivier Grouillard Osella-Cosworth  42  23 
17r Stefano Modena Brabham-Judd  39 Engine 13 
David Brabham Brabham-Judd  36 Electrics 24 
22 Andrea de Cesaris Dallara-Cosworth  27 Oil Leak/engine 20 
Thierry Boutsen Williams-Renault  21 Cv Joint 
Nigel Mansell Ferrari  19 Handling 
Riccardo Patrese Williams-Renault  18 Gearbox 
21 Emanuele Pirro Dallara-Cosworth  Water Pipe 17 
Satoru Nakajima Tyrrell-Cosworth  Engine  10 
24 Paolo Barilla Minardi-Cosworth  Accident 25 
30 Aguri Suzuki Lola-Lamborghini  Acident 11 
nq 26 Philippe Alliot Ligier-Cosworth    27 
nq 17 Gabriele Tarquini AGS-Cosworth    28 
nq 18 Yannick Dalmas AGS-Cosworth    29 
nq 31 Bertrand Gachot Coloni-Subaru    30 
npq 33 Roberto Moreno EuroBrun-Judd    31 
npq 34 Claudio Langes EuroBrun-Judd    32 
npq 39 Bruno Giacomelli Life    33