European GP 1993
APRIL 11, 1993
European GP, 1993
Tom Wheatcroft's dreams of taking Formula 1 to Donington Park finally came true after plans to hold an Asian Grand Prix at Nippon Autopolis flopped. The weather at Donington was miserable for most of the weekend. There were several new cars, the most significant being the Benetton B193B, which had been rushed out in an attempt to improve the team's performance as the early races had seen embarrassing defeats at the hands of McLaren, using customer Ford engines, while Benetton was supposed to be the Ford factory team. Footwork had the new FA14.
Friday was ruined by rain but it was sunny for Saturday qualifying and there was no big surprise to see Alain Prost and Damon Hill on the front row of the grid in their Williams-Renaults. Michael Schumacher was third in his new Benetton with Ayrton Senna fourth in his McLaren-Ford. Fifth on the grid was a good showing for the new Sauber team with Karl Wendlinger while Michael Andretti was sixth in the second McLaren. The top 10 was completed by JJ Lehto in the second Sauber, Gerhard Berger and Jean Alesi in their Ferraris and Riccardo Patrese in the second Benetton. Elsewhere in the field Ivan Capelli had been dropped by the Jordan team and had been replaced by Thierry Boutsen.
It was raining at the start as Prost and Hill led away while Schumacher blocked Senna, which allowed Wendlinger to take third with Schumacher fourth and Senna fifth. Andretti was sixth. Senna proceeded to drive a truly amazing lap. He overtook Schumacher at the exit of Redgate Corner, he went side by side through the Craner Curves with Wendlinger and was third when they arrived at the Old Hairpin. As they climbed the hill he closed on Damon Hill and went ahead of him at Coppice Corner. By the time they reached the Melbourne Hairpin Senna was right behind Prost. He dived to the inside and took the lead.
Further back Andretti and Wendlinger collided at Coppice and the American went out on the first lap for the third consecutive race. Showing very well was youngster Rubens Barrichello who was fourth at the end of the first lap.
Senna pulled out a lead of seven seconds but then the gap stabilized. The track was now beginning to dry and the first drivers came in for slicks. Prost led when Senna pitted but rejoined behind when he stopped a lap later. It began to rain again and Prost decided to return to the pits for wet tyres. Hill followed but Senna stayed out for four more laps and so kept the lead when he did pit. The rain then stopped again but by then Schumacher was gone, having spun off. Prost returned to the pits for slicks to be followed by Senna and Hill and this time Senna's crew had a problem and he dropped 20 seconds. Prost was in the lead again. And then the rain came again and in came Prost and Hill for wets. This time Senna stayed out on slicks. This was the correct decision because as the track began to dry again the two Williams-Renaults could not catch him. They had to stop again for slicks. This time Alain stalled and by the time he rejoined he had been lapped. Barrichello was up to second and running confidently although he eventually had to stop for slicks. Just as he rejoined the rain began to fall heavily and so he had to go back for wets. Senna too came in soon afterwards but the McLaren team was not ready and so he drove through the pits (this was later credited as the fastest lap of the race) and rejoined. By the time he returned at the end of the next lap the rain had eased and Ayrton decided to stay out.
Hill was going faster now but was so far behind that all he could do was unlap himself. The rain came again in the closing laps and Senna decided that this time he had to stop. Hill and Prost followed him in. Barrichello was third again but on lap 71 his fuel pressure dropped and he retired after a magnificent showing. Prost thus finished behind Senna and Hill with Johnny Herbert (Lotus) fourth ahead of Patrese and Fabrizio Barbazza who had driven very well for Minardi.
|10r||14||Rubens Barrichello||Jordan-Hart||70||Fuel Pressure||12|
|r||9||Derek Warwick||Footwork-Mugen Honda||66||Gearbox||14|
|r||15||Thierry Boutsen||Jordan-Hart||61||Throttle Jammed||19|
|r||4||Andrea de Cesaris||Tyrrell-Yamaha||55||Gearbox||25|
|r||27||Jean Alesi||Ferrari||36||Suspension Hydraulics||9|
|r||10||Aguri Suzuki||Footwork-Mugen Honda||29||Gearbox||23|
|r||28||Gerhard Berger||Ferrari||19||Suspension Hydraulics||8|