French GP 1988
JULY 3, 1988
French GP, 1988
It was business as usual at Paul Ricard with the two McLaren-Hondas well clear of the opposition in qualifying although on this occasion Alain Prost was ahead of Ayrton Senna. Gerhard Berger and Michele Alboreto shared the second row as usual in their Ferraris while the third row was all-Benetton with Thierry Boutsen just faster than Sandro Nannini. The team-by-team theme continued with the two Lotus-Hondas of Nelson Piquet and Satoru Nakajima on row four while the pattern was finally broken on the fifth row as Nigel Mansell (Williams) was alongside Ivan Capelli (March). It was a disaster for the Ligier team with both Rene Arnoux and Stefan Johansson failing to qualify.
Prost took the lead at the start with Senna second ahead of the two Ferraris and a fast-starting Piquet. During the mid-race pit stops Senna managed to get ahead. Senna began to suffer a slight gearbox problem and Prost closed right to him. Senna looked to be in command until they got into traffic and on lap 61 Prost produced a brave opportunist move and was back in the lead. He went on to win with Senna dropping back in the closing laps as he lost gears. He was still second, however, ahead of Alboreto, Berger, Piquet and Nannini.