San Marino GP 1991
APRIL 28, 1991
San Marino GP, 1991
There were a variety of new cars ready for the European season with Benetton, Footwork and Brabham all planning to debut cars at Imola. Footwork suffered a major setback in pre-race testing when Michele Alboreto, driving the Footwork-Porsche FA12, crashed heavily in Tamburello Corner after a suspected suspension failure. The car was demolished and Alboreto was limping badly. A new FA12 was built for Alex Caffi but both drivers failed to qualify. AGS had also undergone a major change with the team being bought by Patrizio Cantu and Gabriele Rafanelli. Many of the old staff left and Stefan Johansson was replaced by Fabrizio Barbazza.
Qualifying resulted in the familiar story of Ayrton Senna's McLaren-Honda on pole ahead of Riccardo Patrese's Williams, Alain Prost's Ferrari, Nigel Mansell's Williams and Gerhard Berger's McLaren. The top 10 was completed by Stefano Modena's Tyrrell, Jean Alesi's Ferrari, the two Minardi-Ferraris of Gianni Morbidelli and Pierluigi Martini and Satoru Nakajima's Tyrrell.
As the race start approached, it began to rain. On the final parade lap Prost spun off on the run down the hill towards Rivazza. He was out. Berger's McLaren was also spinning but he managed to keep going.
Patrese took the lead at the start and was pulling away from Senna. The track then began to dry. Mansell was out already having made a bad start and having then collided with Martin Brundle's Brabham. Nelson Piquet was also out early when he slid off into a gravel trap. Alesi followed him off.
Patrese continued to lead from Senna, Berger, Modena, Nakajima, Martini and Roberto Moreno (Benetton). On lap 10 Patrese pitted with a misfire and rejoined several laps down. He was no longer a threat and he retired several laps later.
After the pit stops only four cars were on the lead lap: Senna, Berger, Modena and Moreno. Nakajima had gone with transmission failure. Modena's race ended a few laps later with a similar problem. This left Moreno third with JJ Lehto fourth in his Dallara. Then came Martini and Eric van de Poele (Modena Team). Moreno was in trouble with gears and on lap 52 Lehto overtook him for third place. Martini duly inherited the position when Moreno stopped. F1 debutant van de Poele was running fifth but his dreams of glory ended in sight of the flag with a fuel pump problem. He dropped to ninth in the classification. The two Lotuses thus managed to finish fifth and sixth with Mika Hakkinen ahead of Julian Bailey.
|9r||35||Eric van de Poele||Lamborghini||57||Fuel Pump||21|
|12r||15||Mauricio Gugelmin||Leyton House-Ilmor||55||Engine||15|
|r||33||Andrea de Cesaris||Jordan-Cosworth||37||Gear Linkage||11|
|r||16||Ivan Capelli||Leyton House-Ilmor||24||Puncture/spin||22|
|R||29||Eric Bernard||Lola-Cosworth||17||Camshaft Sensor/engine||17|