Japanese GP 1988

OCTOBER 30, 1988

Japanese GP, 1988

With Yannick Dalmas out of action with Legionnaires Disease, the Larrousse team hired Japanese Formula 3000 Champion Aguri Suzuki for the Japanese GP. The focus, however, was on the battle for the World Championship between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in their McLaren-Hondas. In qualifying Senna was ahead of Prost with Gerhard Berger in his habitual third place for Ferrari. Ivan Capelli was fourth in his Leyton House March ahead of the two Lotus-Hondas of Nelson Piquet and Satoru Nakajima. Derek Warwick was seventh in his Arrows-Megatron with Nigel Mansell (Williams), Michele Alboreto (Ferrari) and Thierry Boutsen (Benetton) completing the top 10.

At the start Senna stalled his car and was engulfed by the field. Fortunately the start line is on a hill and as the car rolled forward Ayrton was able to bump-start the engine and get going but by then he was down in 14th place and Prost was leading. In order to take the title, Senna needed to win and so he set off to make up for lost ground. It was an impressive drive.

Up at the front Prost led early on but he then came under extreme pressure from Capelli and on the 16th lap the Italian went into the lead. Capelli's hopes of a victory lasted only a few hundred meters before Prost reasserted himself. Three laps later he went out with an electronic failure. By then Senna was second and on lap 28 the Brazilian took the lead and went on to win the race and the World Championship. Prost, troubled by a small gearbox problem, had to settle for second ahead of Boutsen, Berger, Nannini and Riccardo Patrese (Williams). Nakajima delighted the Japanese fans by finishing seventh.

12 Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda  51 1h33m26.173s  
11 Alain Prost McLaren-Honda  51 1h33m39.536s  
20 Thierry Boutsen Benetton-Cosworth  51 1h34m02.282s  10 
28 Gerhard Berger Ferrari  51 1h34m52.887s  
19 Alessandro Nannini Benetton-Cosworth  51 1h34m56.776s  12 
Riccardo Patrese Williams-Judd  51 1h35m03.788s  11 
Satoru Nakajimi Lotus-Honda  50  
14 Philippe Streiff AGS-Cosworth  50  18 
30 Philippe Alliot Lola-Cosworth  50  19 
10 15 Mauricio Gugelmin March-Judd  50  13 
11 27 Michele Alboreto Ferrari  50  
12 Jonathan Palmer Tyrrell-Cosworth  50  16 
13 23 Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Cosworth  49  17 
14 Julian Bailey Tyrrell-Cosworth  49  26 
15 24 Luis Sala Minardi-Cosworth  49  22 
16 29 Aguri Suzuki Lola-Cosworth  48  20 
17 25 Rene Arnoux Ligier-Judd  48  23 
22 Andrea de Cesaris Rial-Cosworth  36 Engine Over Heating 14 
18 Eddie Cheever Arrows-Megatron  35 Turbo 15 
21 Nicola Larini Osella-Alfa Romeo  34 Wheel Nut Loose 24 
Nelson Piquet Lotus-Honda  34 Driver Ill 
Nigel Mansell Williams-Judd  24 Accident 
36 Alex Caffi Dallara-Cosworth  22 Accident 21 
16 Ivan Capelli March-Judd  19 Electrics 
17 Derek Warwick Arrows-Megatron  16 Spin 
10 Bernd Schneider Zakspeed  14 Driver Unfit (practice Accident) 25 
nq 26 Stefan Johansson Ligier-Judd    27 
nq 32 Oscar Larrauri EuroBrun-Cosworth    28 
nq Piercarlo Ghinzani Zakspeed    29 
nq 33 Stefano Modena EuroBrun-Cosworth    30 
npq 31 Gabriele Tarquini Coloni-Cosworth    31