Portuguese GP 1985

APRIL 21, 1985

Portuguese GP, 1985

The big news in the days after the Brazilian Grand Prix was that Rene Arnoux had been fired by Ferrari as a result of problems with his physical condition. The team hired Stefan Johansson to replace him. Toleman was still without tires. Tyrrell reached agreement with Stefan Bellof and so he was back and Zakspeed joined the field with one car for Jonathan Palmer.

Qualifying resulted in pole position for Ayrton Senna's Lotus-Renault with Alain Prost (McLaren-TAG) alongside. Then came Keke Rosberg's Williams-Honda and the second Lotus-Renault of Elio de Angelis. Michele Alboreto was fifth with Derek Warwick sixth in his Renault, while the top 10 was completed by Niki Lauda (McLaren-TAG), Andrea de Cesaris (Ligier-Renault), Nigel Mansell (Williams-Honda) and Nelson Piquet (Brabham-BMW).

On race day it was pouring with rain by the time it came for the race. Several drivers went off during the reconnaissance laps, notably Mansell and Eddie Cheever (Alfa Romeo). They had to start from the pitlane in spares.

Senna took the lead with de Angelis getting a good start to move to second. Rosberg stalled but everyone avoided the Williams except Palmer who just clipped the rear of the car with the new Zakspeed. Palmer hobbled around to retire. Rosberg finally managed to get going but he spun on the first lap.

At the front Senna led de Angelis, Prost, Alboreto, Warwick, Lauda and de Cesaris. The Pirelli wet tires were not good and so the Pirelli runners (notably Piquet) faded quickly. The order remained unchanged at the front as Senna drove away from his rivals in majestic fashion. Prost disappeared with a big spin on lap 30 and so Alboreto moved to third and Tambay to fourth. Mansell was fifth and Bellof (with mangled front wings) sixth. On lap 43 Alboreto overtook de Angelis for second and in the closing laps the Lotus also dropped behind Tambay, ending the day fourth ahead of Mansell and Bellof.

It was not a great race but it was Senna's first victory and an assured one.

12 Ayrton Senna Lotus-Renault  67 2h00m28.006s  
27 Michele Alboreto Ferrari  67 2h01m30.984s  
15 Patrick Tambay Renault  66  12 
11 Elio de Angelis Lotus-Renault  66  
Nigel Mansell Williams-Honda  65  
Stefan Bellof Tyrrell-Cosworth  65  21 
16 Derek Warwick Renault  65  
28 Stefan Johansson Ferrari  62  11 
24 Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Alfa Romeo  61  26 
nc Manfred Winkelhock RAM-Hart  50  15 
Niki Lauda McLaren-TAG Porsche  49 Piston 
23 Eddie Cheever Alfa Romeo  36 Misfire 14 
Alain Prost McLaren-TAG Porsche  30 Spin 
25 Andrea de Cesaris Ligier-Renault  29 Tires/handling 
18 Thierry Boutsen Arrows-BMW  28 Electrics 16 
Nelson Piquet Brabham-BMW  28 Tires/handling 10 
Martin Brundle Tyrrell-Cosworth  20 Gear Linkage 22 
21 Mauro Baldi Spirit-Hart  19 Spin 24 
Keke Rosberg Williams-Honda  16 Spin 
26 Jacques Laffite Ligier-Renault  15 Tires/handling 18 
17 Gerhard Berger Arrows-BMW  12 Spin 17 
29 Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Cosworth  12 Spin 25 
22 Riccardo Patrese Alfa Romeo  Spin 13 
10 Philippe Alliot RAM-Hart  Spin 20 
Francois Hesnault Brabham-BMW  Electrics 19 
30 Jonathan Palmer Zakspeed  Accident/front Suspension 23