San Marino GP 1991

San Marino GP, 1991

There were a variety of new cars ready for the European season with Benetton, Footwork and Brabham all planning to debut cars at Imola. Footwork suffered a major setback in pre-race testing when Michele Alboreto, driving the Footwork-Porsche FA12, crashed heavily in Tamburello Corner after a suspected suspension failure. The car was demolished and Alboreto was limping badly. A new FA12 was built for Alex Caffi but both drivers failed to qualify. AGS had also undergone a major change with the team being bought by Patrizio Cantu and Gabriele Rafanelli. Many of the old staff left and Stefan Johansson was replaced by Fabrizio Barbazza.

Qualifying resulted in the familiar story of Ayrton Senna's McLaren-Honda on pole ahead of Riccardo Patrese's Williams, Alain Prost's Ferrari, Nigel Mansell's Williams and Gerhard Berger's McLaren. The top 10 was completed by Stefano Modena's Tyrrell, Jean Alesi's Ferrari, the two Minardi-Ferraris of Gianni Morbidelli and Pierluigi Martini and Satoru Nakajima's Tyrrell.

As the race start approached, it began to rain. On the final parade lap Prost spun off on the run down the hill towards Rivazza. He was out. Berger's McLaren was also spinning but he managed to keep going.

Patrese took the lead at the start and was pulling away from Senna. The track then began to dry. Mansell was out already having made a bad start and having then collided with Martin Brundle's Brabham. Nelson Piquet was also out early when he slid off into a gravel trap. Alesi followed him off.

On lap 4 Bertrand Gachot (Jordan) spun in Tamburello and knocked the nose off his car. This was then hit by the Leyton House of Mauricio Gugelmin.

Patrese continued to lead from Senna, Berger, Modena, Nakajima, Martini and Roberto Moreno (Benetton). On lap 10 Patrese pitted with a misfire and rejoined several laps down. He was no longer a threat and he retired several laps later.

After the pit stops only four cars were on the lead lap: Senna, Berger, Modena and Moreno. Nakajima had gone with transmission failure. Modena's race ended a few laps later with a similar problem. This left Moreno third with JJ Lehto fourth in his Dallara. Then came Martini and Eric van de Poele (Modena Team). Moreno was in trouble with gears and on lap 52 Lehto overtook him for third place. Martini duly inherited the position when Moreno stopped. F1 debutant van de Poele was running fifth but his dreams of glory ended in sight of the flag with a fuel pump problem. He dropped to ninth in the classification. The two Lotuses thus managed to finish fifth and sixth with Mika Hakkinen ahead of Julian Bailey.

Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda  61 1h35m14.750s  
Gerhard Berger McLaren-Honda  61 1h35m16.425s  
22 JJ Lehto Dallara-Judd  60  16 
23 Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Ferrari  59  
11 Mika Hakkinen Lotus-Judd  58  25 
12 Julian Bailey Lotus-Judd  58  26 
25 Thierry Boutsen Ligier-Lamborghini  58  24 
Mark Blundell Brabham-Yamaha  58  23 
9r 35 Eric van de Poele Lamborghini  57 Fuel Pump  21 
10 26 Erik Comas Ligier-Lamborghini  57  19 
11 Martin Brundle Brabham-Yamaha  57  18 
12r 15 Mauricio Gugelmin Leyton House-Ilmor  55 Engine 15 
13r 19 Roberto Moreno Benetton-Cosworth  54 Gearbox/engine 13 
Stefano Modena Tyrrell-Honda  41 Transmission 
33 Andrea de Cesaris Jordan-Cosworth  37 Gear Linkage 11 
32 Bertrand Gachot Jordan-Cosworth  37 Spin/suspension 12 
16 Ivan Capelli Leyton House-Ilmor  24 Puncture/spin 22 
29 Eric Bernard Lola-Cosworth  17 Camshaft Sensor/engine 17 
Riccardo Patrese Williams-Renault  17 Electrics/engine 
Satoru Nakajima Tyrrell-Honda  15 Transmission 10 
24 Gianni Morbidelli Minardi-Ferrari  10 Gearbox 
28 Jean Alesi Ferrari  Spin 
30 Aguri Suzuki Lola-Cosworth  Spin 20 
20 Nelson Piquet Benetton-Cosworth  Spin 14 
Nigel Mansell Williams-Renault  Gearbox/accident 
27 Alain Prost Ferrari  -1 Spin 
nq 17 Gabriele Tarquini AGS-Cosworth    27 
nq 18 Fabrizio Barbazza AGS-Cosworth    28 
nq 10 Alex Caffi Footwork-Porsche    29 
nq Michele Alboreto Footwork-Porsche    30 
npq 21 Emanuele Pirro Dallara-Judd    31 
npq 14 Olivier Grouillard Fomet-Cosworth    32 
npq 34 Nicola Larini Lamborghini    33 
npq 31 Pedro Chaves Coloni-Cosworth    34