Portuguese GP 1989
SEPTEMBER 24, 1989
Portuguese GP, 1989
The big news in the paddock was that Ferrari's John Barnard had been signed to become technical director of Benetton while there was much controversy about remarks made by Alain Prost about Honda not treating the McLaren drivers fairly. There was a change at Onyx where Bertrand Gachot had been ditched by the team for public criticism of the team and had been replaced by Finland's JJ Lehto while Johnny Herbert was back in the Tyrrell as Jean Alesi was again racing elsewhere in Formula 3000.
Ayrton Senna was again on pole position but the Ferraris of Gerhard Berger and Nigel Mansell were between the Brazilian and Prost. Pierluigi Martini was an impressive sixth in his Minardi (showing the competitive of Pirelli qualifying tires) while sixth place went to Riccardo Patrese (Williams) ahead of Alex Caffi (Dallara), Thierry Boutsen (Williams), Luis Sala (Minardi) and Martin Brundle (Brabham).
At the start Berger took the lead from Senna. The Brazilian held on to second until the eighth lap when Nigel Mansell moved to second and then the order stabilized until lap 24 when Nigel moved ahead of Berger to take the lead. When the mid-race pit stops began Martini briefly led the race for Minardi while Mansell overshot his pit. He then put his car into reverse and went back to where he should be. It was an offense for which Mansell was disqualified but he chose to ignore the black flags which were shown to him. Senna and Mansell were soon fighting for second place behind Berger. On lap 49 they collided at the first corner. Both were out and Prost was up to second.