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.
|r||22||Andrea de Cesaris||Rial-Cosworth||36||Engine Over Heating||14|
|r||21||Nicola Larini||Osella-Alfa Romeo||34||Wheel Nut Loose||24|
|r||1||Nelson Piquet||Lotus-Honda||34||Driver Ill||5|
|r||10||Bernd Schneider||Zakspeed||14||Driver Unfit (practice Accident)||25|