Portuguese GP 1992
SEPTEMBER 27, 1992
Portuguese GP, 1992
In the two weeks between the Italian and Portuguese Grands Prix the promising Fondmetal team dropped out of the action when the team's major sponsor Sgommatutto announced its withdrawal because of economic problems in Italy. Team boss Gabriele Rumi decided not to sink any more of his money into the team and so there were only 26 cars in Portugal. The driver line-up was unchanged and so was the order in qualifying with the two Williams-Renaults ahead, Nigel Mansell taking pole from Riccardo Patrese and the McLarens of Ayrton Senna and Gerhard Berger. Then came the two Benettons of Michael Schumacher and Martin Brundle followed by Mika Hakkinen's Lotus, Michele Alboreto's Footwork-Mugen, Johnny Herbert's Lotus and Jean Alesi's dismal Ferrari. Ivan Capelli in the second Ferrari was back in 16th place.
The race finally got underway with Michael Schumacher having to start from the back of the grid after his car was late firing up. Mansell took the lead at the start and drove away from the field to score his ninth victory of the year (a record). Patrese ran second until his pit stop but then there was a problem with the rear jack and Riccardo dropped down the order. Mansell was able to stay ahead at his stop. Patrese charged back and was on Berger's tail when the Austrian decided to pit. Patrese failed to realise this and the Italian's right rear wheel hit Berger's left rear as he swerved to avoid the slowing McLaren. The car went high into the air and did not hit the ground for 100 metres, passing under a pedestrian bridge. Fortunately it landed rear end first and clattered down the pitwall, showering debris. Patrese was shaken but unhurt. The Williams team protested against Berger after the race but the stewards studied the incident and ruled that it was a racing accident - with no-one to blame.
The incident overshadowed the rest of the race - demolishing the midfield which ran across the debris: there were punctures and pit callers and bits of driveshaft jammed through monocoques. Chief among those to suffer was Schumacher who had to make two stops.
Mansell was long gone now and when Senna began to have handling troubles Nigel pulled further and further away. By the finish Senna had stopped four times and was still third; Berger was second with an exhaust sounding terrible, while Brundle, Hakkinen and Alboreto finished off the points scorers.
|6||9||Michele Alboreto||Footwork-Mugen Honda||70||8|
|9||4||Andrea de Cesaris||Tyrrell-Ilmor||69||12|
|10||10||Aguri Suzuki||Footwork-Mugen Honda||68||17|
|r||16||Karl Wendlinger||March-Ilmor||48||Oil Radiator/gearbox||22|
|r||30||Ukyo Katayama||Venturi Larrousse-Lamborghini||46||Spin||25|
|r||29||Bertrand Gachot||Venturi Larrousse-Lamborghini||25||Fuelpressure||13|