Spanish GP 1991

Spanish GP, 1991

A week after the Portuguese GP the Formula 1 circus arrived at the new Circuit de Catalunya for the first time, Jerez having fallen from favour after Martin Donnelly's accident in 1990. The big news was that Max Mosley had been elected President of the FIA, taking over from Jean-Marie Balestre, and everyone waited to see what changes would result from the election. There were changes in the entry as Johnny Herbert was back in Japan for a Formula 3000 race and so Michael Bartels tried to qualify the second Lotus for the fourth time (and was unsuccessful for the fourth time).There had been a switcharound in the small teams with Olivier Grouillard having been dropped by Fondmetal and replaced by Gabriele Tarquini from AGS. Grouillard had moved to AGS. Pedro Chaves had decided that he was wasting his time with the Coloni team and withdrew and as no-one else wanted to drive the car it stayed in the garage. Roberto Moreno had been dropped by Jordan in favour of rising star Alex Zanardi.

Qualifying resulted in pole position for Gerhard Berger in his McLaren while Nigel Mansell, who still had a slim chance of the World Championship, was second in his Williams-Renault. Ayrton Senna was third in his McLaren after an engine failure in qualifying while Riccardo Patrese was fourth in the second Williams. Michael Schumacher was fifth in his Benetton with Alain Prost sixth for Ferrari, ahead of his team mate Jean Alesi, Ivan Capelli of Leyton House, Emanuele Pirro's Dallara-Judd and Nelson Piquet in the second Benetton. Nigel Mansell had twisted his ankle playing football but, while he made a big thing of the injury, it did not seem to affect his performance much. The track was wet at the start but it was drying and Alain Prost wanted to use slicks. Ferrari refused to let him and he went out on wets.

At the start Mansell made an awful beginning and was overtaken by Senna who took second place behind Berger. Schumacher also overtook Mansell to run third. Further back Capelli and Pirro tangled at the first corner. Ivan retired on the spot and Emanuele had to pit and this dropped him to the back of the field.

Mansell retook third place from Schumacher early on and he then closed on Senna. They both went down the main straight side by side, with an inch or two between their wheels. In the end Senna backed down and Mansell went ahead. As the track dried so there were pit stops and during these Berger was delayed more than he should have been and so Senna was in the lead when the stops finished. Then came Prost who had pitted earlier and then Schumacher, who had a spin and a pit stop! On lap 12 Berger passed Senna again and Mansell closed up to the Brazilian for a second time. At the same time Schumacher blew past Prost. It began to rain again and Senna had a big spin which put Mansell and Schumacher into second and third. Then the track began to dry again and so Mansell caught and passed Berger while Schumacher also made a bid for the lead and spun off. This left Prost third, Senna fourth and Alesi fifth although he would soon drop back because of 10-second penalty for a false start.

Both Benettons dropped back with a pit stop and Piquet lost more time as he arrived when Schumacher was there.

On lap 33 Berger's engine failed him and so Mansell was left ahead of Prost. Senna was third but would be overtaken by Patrese and Alesi before the end of the race while Schumacher picked up one point for sixth place.

The World Championship was still open but with only two races to go and 16 points between Senna and Mansell.

Nigel Mansell Williams-Renault  65 1h38m41.541s  
27 Alain Prost Ferrari  65 1h38m52.872s  27 
Riccardo Patrese Williams-Renault  65 1h38m57.450s  
28 Jean Alesi Ferrari  65 1h39m04.313s  
Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda  65 1h39m04.313s  
19 Michael Schumacher Benetton-Cosworth  65 1h40m01.009s  
15 Mauricio Gugelmin Leyton House-Ilmor  64  13 
22 JJ Lehto Dallara-Judd  64  15 
32 Alessandro Zanardi Jordan-Cosworth  64  20 
10 Martin Brundle Brabham-Yamaha  63  11 
11 20 Nelson Piquet Benetton-Cosworth  63  10 
12 14 Olivier Grouillard Fomet-Cosworth  63  22 
13 23 Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Ferrari  63  19 
14r 24 Gianni Morbidelli Minardi-Ferrari  62 Accident 16 
15 21 Emanuele Pirro Dallara-Judd  62  
16 Stefano Modena Tyrrell-Honda  62  14 
17 Satoru Nakajima Tyrrell-Honda  62  18 
Mark Blundell Brabham-Yamaha  49 Engine 12 
26 Erik Comas Ligier-Lamborghini  36 Electrics 25 
Gerhard Berger McLaren-Honda  33 Electrics 
Michele Alboreto Footwork-Porsche  23 Engine 24 
33 Andrea de Cesaris Jordan-Cosworth  22 Electrics 17 
11 Mika Hakkinen Lotus-Judd  Accident 21 
16 Ivan Capelli Leyton House-Ilmor  Accident 
29 Eric Bernard Lola-Cosworth  Accident 23 
25 Thierry Boutsen Ligier-Lamborghini  Accident 26 
nq 30 Aguri Suzuki Lola-Cosworth    27 
nq 34 Nicola Larini Lamborghini    28 
nq 12 Michael Bartels Lotus-Judd    29 
nq 35 Eric van de Poele Lamborghini    30 
npq 10 Alex Caffi Footwork-Porsche    31 
npq 18 Fabrizio Barbazza AGS-Cosworth    32 
npq 17 Olivier Grouillard AGS-Cosworth    33