Monaco GP 1981

MAY 31, 1981

Monaco GP, 1981

With too many cars entered there had to be a pre-qualifying session to get the field down to 26 for practice. This eliminated both Tolemans, both Marches and the single ATS of Slim Borgudd. A further six were lost in qualifying with Hector Rebaque (Brabham), Keke Rosberg and Chico Serra (Fittipaldi), Jean-Pierre Jabouille (Talbot Ligier), and the two Osellas (Piercarlo Ghinzani and Beppe Gabbiani) all going home early.

At the front of the grid Nelson Piquet was on pole in his Brabham with Gilles Villeneuve second in the Ferrari and an impressive Nigel Mansell third in the new Lotus 87, which made its first appearance. Then came Carlos Reutemann (Williams), Riccardo Patrese (Arrows), Elio de Angelis (Lotus), Alan Jones (Williams), Jacques Laffite (Talbot Ligier) and Alain Prost (Renault). John Watson completed the top 10 in the McLaren MP4/1.

At the start there was the usual first corner accident as Andrea de Cesaris (McLaren) tangled with Mario Andretti's Alfa Romeo. Piquet took the lead with Villeneuve chasing and Mansell third ahead of the two Williams cars. The young Englishman disappeared early on with a suspension problem and Reutemann went out with gearbox trouble and Jones moved up ahead of Villeneuve and began to pressure Piquet for the lead.

On lap 53 Nelson came up to lap some backmarkers, went offline and slid off into a barrier. Jones took the lead and seemed to have the race in his pocket until lap 67 when he went into the pits with a fuel vaporization problem. He was soon on his way again but Villeneuve saw his chance and began to close in. On lap 72 Villeneuve took the lead. A disappointed Jones finished second with Laffite third, Pironi fourth, Eddie Cheever fifth (despite being two laps down) and Marc Surer sixth in the Ensign.

27 Gilles Villeneuve Ferrari  76 1h54m23.380s  
Alan Jones Williams-Cosworth  76 1h55m03.290s  
26 Jacques Laffite Talbot Ligier-Matra  76 1h55m52.620s  
28 Didier Pironi Ferrari  75  17 
Eddie Cheever Tyrrell-Cosworth  74  15 
14 Marc Surer Ensign-Cosworth  74  19 
33 Patrick Tambay Theodore-Cosworth  72  16 
Nelson Piquet Brabham-Cosworth  53 Accident 
John Watson McLaren-Cosworth  53 Engine 10 
Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Cosworth  50 Accident 20 
23 Bruno Giacomelli Alfa Romeo  50 Accident 18 
15 Alain Prost Renault  45 Engine 
Carlos Reutemann Williams-Cosworth  34 Gearbox 
16 Rene Arnoux Renault  32 Accident 13 
11 Elio de Angelis Lotus-Cosworth  32 Engine 
29 Riccardo Patrese Arrows-Cosworth  29 Gearbox 
12 Nigel Mansell Lotus-Cosworth  16 Rear Suspension 
30 Siegfried Stohr Arrows-Cosworth  15 Electrical Misfire 14 
Andrea de Cesaris McLaren-Cosworth  Accident 11 
22 Mario Andretti Alfa Romeo  Accident 12 
nq 20 Keke Rosberg Fittipaldi-Cosworth    21 
nq 25 Jean-Pierre Jobouille Talbot Ligier-Matra    22 
nq Hector Rebaque Brabham-Cosworth    23 
nq 21 Chico Serra Fittipaldi-Cosworth    24 
nq 32 Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Cosworth    25 
nq 31 Beppe Gabbiani Osella-Cosworth    26 
npq 10 Slim Borgudd ATS-Cosworth    27 
npq 18 Derek Daly March-Cosworth    28 
npq 17 Eliseo Salazar March-Cosworth    29 
npq 35 Brian Henton Toleman-Hart    30 
npq 36 Derek Warwick Toleman-Hart    31