Belgian GP 1991

AUGUST 25, 1991

Belgian GP, 1991

The big news in Belgium was that Jordan driver Bertrand Gachot had been sent to jail in England having been convicted of spraying a taxi driver with CS gas the previous winter. There was much indignation about it but Gachot stayed in Brixton Prison and Jordan did a deal to hire a young German driver called Michael Schumacher. He was eighth fastest in his first F1 qualifying session on a track he had never raced at before. Johnny Herbert was back in action with Lotus after missing two races because of Formula 3000 commitments in Japan.

The track was rather bumpy after resurfacing work at the Blanchimont corner and this led to Gabriele Tarquini's AGS breaking its suspension and crashing heavily in pre-qualifying. In the Friday morning session Eric van de Poele (Modena Team) lost control of his Lamborghini at the same spot and hit the wall hard. The Belgian walked unsteadily away from the wreck and was carted off to hospital.

In qualifying on Saturday Ayrton Senna took pole in his McLaren-Honda while Alain Prost recorded the second quickest time in his Ferrari. Nigel Mansell was third in his Williams-Renault and Gerhard Berger fourth for McLaren. Then came Jean Alesi's Ferrari, Nelson Piquet's Benetton and the remarkable Schumacher. Roberto Moreno was eighth in his Benetton ahead of Pierluigi Martini's Minardi-Ferrari and the Tyrrell-Honda of Stefano Modena. Andrea de Cesaris was 11th in the second Jordan. Schumacher was fourth fastest in the morning warm-up but his race lasted as far as the first corner where his clutch failed.

Senna took the lead from Prost, Mansell, Piquet, Berger and a slow-starting Alesi. On the second lap Mansell overtook Prost, the Frenchman stopping with a blown engine. Mansell pressured Senna but the Brazilian held him off until the pit stops for fresh tyres began. Mansell's was faster and he emerged in the lead. Alesi was running without a stop and briefly challenged Mansell for the lead but then he began to drop away and came under pressure from Senna. Piquet was fourth with de Cesaris fifth.

On lap 21 Mansell's engine cut and Alesi went ahead. Soon afterwards Senna's engine stopped. He was coming to a stop when he found a gear and set off again. The battle for third place became very lively with Patrese, Piquet and de Cesaris scrapping.

On lap 31 Alesi's engine failed and so Senna was in the lead while de Cesaris had got ahead of Piquet to take second place. De Cesaris was able to attack Senna but every time he did his temperature gauges rose and he had to back off. On lap 41 the engine blew. Patrese now attacked but he ran into gearbox trouble and Berger moved to second. It was a McLaren 1-2 with Gerhard protecting Senna. Piquet was third with Moreno fourth, Patrese fifth and Mark Blundell sixth, scoring the first point for Brabham-Yamaha.

In spite of his failure to actually compete in the race, Michael Schumacher's exploits in qualifying made him a name to look out for in the future. This was to be made apparent as soon as the following Grand Prix in Italy.

Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda  44 1h27m17.669s  
Gerhard Berger McLaren-Honda  44 1h27m19.570s  
20 Nelson Piquet Benetton-Cosworth  44 1h27m49.845s  
19 Roberto Moreno Benetton-Cosworth  44 1h27m54.979s  
Riccardo Patrese Williams-Renault  44 1h28m14.856s  17 
Mark Blundell Brabham-Yamaha  44 1h28m57.704s  13 
12 Johnny Herbert Lotus-Judd  44 1h29m02.268s  21 
21 Emanuele Pirro Dallara-Judd  43  25 
Martin Brundle Brabham-Yamaha  43  16 
10 14 Olivier Grouillard Fomet-Cosworth  43  43 
11 25 Thierry Boutsen Ligier-Lamborghini  43  18 
12 23 Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Ferrari  42  
13r 33 Andrea de Cesaris Jordan-Cosworth  41 Radiator/engine 11 
Stefano Modena Tyrrell-Honda  33 Oil Leak/fire 10 
22 JJ Lehto Dallara-Judd  33 Engine 14 
28 Jean Alesi Ferrari  30 Engine 
24 Gianni Morbidelli Minardi-Ferrari  29 Clutch 19 
11 Mika Hakkinen Lotus-Judd  25 Engine 24 
26 Erik Comas Ligier-Lamborghini  25 Engine 26 
Nigel Mansell Williams-Renault  22 Voltage Regulator 
29 Eric Bernard Lola-Cosworth  21 Gearbox 20 
16 Ivan Capelli Leyton House-Ilmor  13 Engine 12 
Satoru Nakajima Tyrrell-Honda  Accident 22 
27 Alain Prost Ferrari  Engine 
15 Mauricio Gugelmin Leyton House-Ilmor  Engine 15 
32 Michael Schumacher Jordan-Cosworth  Clutch 
nq 30 Aguri Suzuki Lola-Cosworth    27 
nq 34 Nicola Larini Lamborghini    28 
nq 10 Alex Caffi Footwork-Porsche    29 
nq 35 Eric van de Poele Lamborghini    30 
npq Michele Alboreto Footwork-Porsche    31 
npq 17 Gabriele Tarquini AGS-Cosworth    32 
npq 31 Pedro Chaves Coloni-Cosworth    33 
npq 18 Fabrizio Barbazza AGS-Cosworth    34