16 June 1985
Two weeks on from the fiasco in Belgium, the teams flew out to Canada to begin the abbreviated two-race North American tour. The Zakspeed team had decided at the start of the season to only contest the European races but otherwise the field was unchanged, with Marc Surer grateful for the extra couple of weeks to familiarise himself with the Brabham.
Once again, practice was dominated by the Lotus and Ferrari boys, and once again it was the Loti that came out on top – this time it was de Angelis on pole with Senna lining up second, with Alboreto and Johansson behind. The Italian had had his best chance for pole scuppered by an oil leak on Saturday, but the Swede was feeling better for finally having a trouble-free practice and it showed. McLaren once again used practice to hone their race setup, with Prost on the third row once more alongside an improved Derek Warwick and Lauda back in 17th after nearly hitting a beaver on the track during his fastest lap. Boutsen was seventh, with Rosberg, Piquet and Tambay making up the top ten. Other disappointments in qualifying were Nigel Mansell, 16th after mechanical troubles, and Marc Surer, 20th in his first race for Brabham while getting over a bout of the flu. With a reduced field, everyone qualified – though Pierluigi Martini at the back was a full ten seconds off the pole time, and a good three behind next-slowest Martin Brundle.
The Montreal circuit was expected to be almost as hard on fuel consumption as Imola, with the more pessimistic fans predicting a dull economy run after two race leaders had run out of fuel at the San Marino race. The start was lively enough, though, with de Angelis getting into the first corner ahead of Senna, and Warwick taking Prost and Johansson to go fourth and a luckless Piquet breaking his transmission instantly and retiring. Warwick’s good start didn’t last though – his Renault was handling badly and he was holding up Johansson and Prost until he spun down to 12th place. Ahead of Warwick, the two Lotus cars began pulling out a lead, but on lap 6 Senna peeled off into the pits with a turbo problem which took the team 5 laps to fix. In at the same time came de Cesaris for a new Ligier nosecone. He had spun 180 degrees and hit Winkelhock’s RAM while trying to right himself. The German was out on the spot but de Cesaris had kept it going.
Up front, Alboreto had begun to claw back into de Angelis’ lead while Tambay’s Renault, handling much better than Warwick’s, had got ahead of Prost. Rosberg had pitted after a spin, putting Cheever up into the points. By lap 12 Alboreto had caught his countryman in the Lotus and was dicing with him for the lead, dodging this way and that and but not making a move stick until the following lap when he got past at the first corner. Further back, Nigel Mansell was moving up, having made up nine places from his disappointing grid spot and now disposed of Cheever to get into the points himself. The leaders were now in traffic and, with de Angelis’ gearbox playing up, he began to lose touch with Alboreto.
On lap 28, Philippe Alliot smacked his RAM into the barriers and scattered debris all over the track, causing white flags to go out for four laps while the marshals tidied the track, but fortunately nobody else was affected by the accident, though Niki Lauda found himself retiring yet again, this time with an overheating engine – it looked as if a title defence was going to be a tall order. De Angelis had fallen back into the clutches of Stefan Johansson, who got past and set off in pursuit of his team-mate. He caught up and stuck with him for a while, before Alboreto turned up his turbo and restored a comfortable gap. Meanwhile, the Williams boys were having a good run; Rosberg was back up to 5th, past Mansell and Cheever, and then disposed of a struggling Tambay whose third gear had gone walkabout. Cheever put up a valiant fight for the last point until his electronics went fring and he had to confine himself to cruising to the finish.
And that’s more or less how it finished. De Angelis’ disappointment was crowned as he lost third to Prost and then fourth to Rosberg in the closing stages, but the Ferraris came home for the team’s first win since Belgium 1984, and their first 1-2 since Holland in 1983, with Prost, Rosberg, de Angelis and Mansell picking up the rest of the points. Alboreto and Ferrari now topped their respective championship tables, a great turnaround from Maranello after their dismal 1984 – if they could only keep it going!
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