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1993 Canadian Grand Prix

Gilles Villeneuve Circuit Montreal (88-93).svgCircuit Gilles Villeneuve
13 June 1993

Six races down and three wins apiece for Prost and Senna – a situation few had expected at the start of the year. Moreover, it was Senna rather than Prost who had looked better value for it, with the returning Frenchman having drawn criticism for some lacklustre performances and having stalled on the getaway from several pitstops – though his troubles in Monaco had since been identified as a broken clutch shaft. The Montreal circuit seemed tailor-made for the powerful Williams-Renaults, though, and most expected Prost and Hill to dominate. For the first time, though, Michael Andretti would be driving at a circuit he knew well and many were anxious to see how he would fare.

They were certainly the class of the field in Friday’s qualifying session, with Prost and Hill over a second ahead of Schumacher, but on Saturday morning attention was grabbed by off-track matters. Chief Scrutineer Charlie Whiting reported to the race stewards that all cars using electronic driver aids, specifically active suspension and traction control – which is to say all of them except the Lolas – were illegal. The stewards, for their part, acknowledged that “the issues raised are very substantial and affect the whole championship” and decided to allow the race to proceed under tolerance and fire a report with FISA. To say that this dropped a bombshell was an understatement – FISA had been making noises about introducing a ban on such systems for 1994, which the major teams were strenuously resisting, and this seemed to be another move in the political game being played.

Prost_1993_Canada_01_PHCCome the afternoon qualifying session, Prost was again on top, maintaining his 100% pole record for the year, with Hill alongside, 0.5s back. A huge 1.8s back was Schumacher in third, and with Patrese fourth the Benetton team had reason to smile. Berger and Alesi took up row three, with Martin Brundle seventh in the Ligier. And way back in 8th place was Ayrton Senna, the McLaren team having had real trouble getting their setup right. It was his worst-ever qualifying position for McLaren and his worst since Austria 1986 for Lotus.  Wendlinger and Blundell made up the top ten, with the “only legal cars” of the BMS Lola team right at the back: Alboreto failing to qualify and Badoer 25th.

The luckless Andretti couldn’t get his McLaren going for the parade lap and would be 1993 Canadian Grand Prixforced to start from the pit instead of his 12th-place grid slot. In the event, with a flat battery, it was nearly three laps before he could get moving. After his controversial “jump start” in Monaco, Prost was a little over-cautious on the start and it was Hill who led into the first corner, while Schumacher had problems with his traction control and nearly stalled twice, dropping back to 12th and Patrese had a similar problem. Going just as rapidly in the other direction was Senna, who rocketed up through the pack to fourth by the second corner behind Hill, Prost and a fast-starting Berger. He followed his old friend for a lap before getting past into third. Prost was likewise keeping the pressure on Hill, and made his way past into the lead on lap six – just as a rapidly-recovering Schumacher elbowed his own way past Berger into fourth.

Prost had a point to prove and he set about doing so: with a string of fastest laps he was already over two seconds ahead of Hill by lap ten, and the number 0 Williams was beginning to see Senna looming in his mirrors. TV cameras were also watching a terrific 1993 berger patresescrap over fifth through ninth places between Berger, Alesi, Patrese, Brundle and Wendlinger. The Ferraris in particular were running well and Alesi got past his team-mate on lap 16, but seven laps later he was touring off with an overheating engine caused by a holed radiator. A few laps later, the scheduled tyre stops began with Michael Schumacher coming in from fourth. Next time round it was Hill – only the Williams pit crew were expecting Prost and the wrong set of tyres was out. By the time they’d got themselves sorted out and got Hill away, he’d lost 17s stationary and was fourth. His position wasn’t helped by Senna’s greased-lightning stop the following lap.

senna hill canadaProst, for once, had a trouble-free stop but Senna really had the bit between his teeth and was chasing hard, setting a fastest lap just 0.7s off Patrese’s 1992 lap record achieved with fatter tyres and higher-octane fuel in the process. Schumacher was closing on both of them too, and Prost was charging just as hard to maintain his lead. For lap after lap the three went at it hammer and tongs, Schumacher slowly reeling Senna in. By lap 60, with just nine to go, he was right with the McLaren – but Senna is an expert at not letting people pass. A great scrap ensued – cut sadly short when the McLaren’s alternator went fring and he toured off, moving over to allow Schumacher through (Schumacher moved in the same direction to overtake and the two nearly collided).

And that was it for the race. Prost took a thorougly dominant win to reclaim top spot in the championship, Schumacher a delighted second and Hill gratefully inherited third to salvage his afternoon. Berger, Brundle and Wendlinger took the minor points places – not a bad day for Austria.

alain_prost___michael_schumacher__canada_1993__by_f1_history-d6jocwo


Drivers’ Championship

POSITION DRIVER POINTS
1 Alain Prost 47
2 Ayrton Senna 42
3 Damon Hill 22
4 Michael Schumacher 20
5 Martin Brundle 7
6= Mark Blundell 6
6= Johnny Herbert 6
8= JJ Lehto 5
8= Riccardo Patrese 5
8= Christian Fittipaldi 5
8= Gerhard Berger 5
12= Jean Alesi 4
11= Fabrizio Barbazza 2
11= Phillippe Alliot 2
11= Michael Andretti 2
16= Alessandro Zanardi 1
16= Karl Wendlinger 1

Constructors’ Championship

POSITION CONSTRUCTOR POINTS
1 Williams-Renault 69
2 McLaren-Ford 44
3 Benetton-Ford 25
4 Ligier-Renault 13
5 Ferrari 9
6= Lotus-Ford 7
6= Minardi-Ford 7
8 Sauber 6
9 Larrousse-Lamborghini 2
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1993 Monaco Grand Prix

Circuit_de_Monaco_1986Monte Carlo Street Circuit
23 May 1993

Monaco is the Grand Prix every driver wants to win, possibly even more so than their home race, and coming into the race Ayrton Senna had done so five times, four of them in the last four years, in 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1992. Alain Prost had four wins with three on the trot between 1984 and 1986. No other driver had won more than five times, but Senna shared the record with one other man: Graham Hill. So, could Senna win to become the undisputed king of Monaco? Would Prost catch him up? Would Damon Hill take his maiden win to keep the record in the family? Or someone else? Of the other drivers on the grid, only Riccardo Patrese had won here before, back in the chaotic 1982 race.

adc_1993_MonacoMeanwhile, Benetton finally debuted their new traction control system at a track where it would be very useful indeed. Larrousse were entering their 100th Grand Prix, and there were celebrations too for Rubens Barrichello who celebrated his 21st birthday on race day.

Thursday’s qualifying session was wet – not the best introduction for circuit debutants Barrichello, Badoer, Andretti and Zanardi – and there were several nasty prangs. Both Tyrrells crashed, as did Hill whose suspension collapsed at 160mph, and Senna who wrenched his thumb badly with a smash at Ste-Devote and still had it strapped up on Saturday’s qualifying session.

93 Monaco ProstQualifying saw Prost on top yet again – for all the criticism his performances in earlier races, no-one could doubt his one-lap pace – with Michael Schumacher making his first front-row start alongside. Senna and Hill started on row two, with Alesi an encouraging fifth and Patrese sixth, seemingly having finally got the measure of the B193. An all-Austrian fourth row saw Berger alongside Wendlinger, with Andretti and Comas making up the top ten. Monaco first-timer Luca Badoer was last by some margin, 3s off 25th-placed Barbazza’s time and 9s off pole.

1993 Monaco Grand PrixIn something of a miracle, the start of the race was clean as almost everyone got through Ste-Devote intact with Prost leading Schumacher, Senna, Hill and the Ferraris, while Patrese got away slowly and slipped back to 7th. The only casualty of the first corner was Mark Blundell, whose Ligier was nudged into a spin by Katayama. He restarted but his suspension was cracked and let him down at the chicane on lap 4 – thankfully to no ill effect. For ten laps not much changed, with Prost slowly drawing away from Schumacher, who in turn drew away from Senna. Until, that is, news came through that Prost had been given a ten-second penalty for jumping the start. As TV producers frantically lined up replays because nobody had seen anything at the time, Prost came in on lap 12. A ten-second penalty at Monaco is bad enough, but then he stalled on the getaway. Twice. When he finally rejoined the circuit, he’d lost a minute and a half and was 22nd and a lap down.

93 schu monMichael Schumacher thus led the Monaco Grand Prix at his second attempt, and looked comfortable, the traction control helping immensely in the tight confines of the principality. Leading Senna by 9s when he took the lead, he had stretched that to 19s by lap 20, having put in four fastest laps in the process. Behind Senna, Hill was driving circumspectly in his first Monaco Grand Prix having failed to qualify the Brabham last year, and was another 17s back.

On lap 24, the new Sauber team had its first taste of inter-team warfare as its drivers collided at Loews when Lehto tried to pass Wendlinger. JJ retired with broken suspension while the damage to Karl’s electronic control unit sent him into the pits for a long repair stop.

93 schu monacoHopes that the Benetton team might have had of a win first time out for their new traction-controlled car were dashed, though, when on lap 32, he lost hydraulic pressure. Unable to change gear and with his active suspension sagging, he parked at Loews and the car promptly caught fire. Some rather overenthusiastic dousing by the marshals ensued as Senna swept past into the lead, which he how held by some 20s from Hill. Most eyes, though, were on Prost. He had already scythed his way up through the field from 22nd to 10th when Schumacher retired and five laps later he was sixth and back in the points and closing on Patrese. On lap 40, the Italian came in for tyres and stalled as he tried to get away, so Prost gratefully accepted the invitation and took fifth.

Hill continued to drive a cautious race but on lap 52 it looked like he might have a shot after all as Senna came in to the pits for a precautionary tyre stop and the front jack collapsed under him. The McLaren boys found a new one quickly enough and Senna returned to the track still in the lead but a much-reduced one and Hill might have had a mon_93_ferrarisshot. However, on fresh rubber, Senna was able to quickly pull away and restore his lead, while Hill was increasingly coming under pressure from Alesi and Berger, third and fourth and going well in the Ferraris. On lap 61, the pair had a coming-together as Berger tried to pass, but there was no damage done – the Austrian veteran pitted for new tyres and charged again, getting past his team-mate on lap 65.

The bit firmly between his teeth, he set off after Hill and, with just 7 laps to go he was right behind the Williams as Hill threaded his way through the backmarkers. As the Englishman lapped Zanardi, Berger took a rather risky move at Loews and hit the Williams, leaving both cars stationary on the road and blocking Zanardi, Andretti and Barbazza from getting by. Fortunately for Hill, he was able to keep the car running and get going again, while Berger was out. Alesi re-took third and that was where they Image result for 1993 monaco podiumfinished; Senna took a record sixth win with Hill second and Alesi taking Ferrari’s first podium of the year in third. Prost finished a distant fourth, one lap down and a lap ahead of fifth-placed Christian Fittipaldi (another great result for a revitalised Minardi team) and Martin Brundle took the final point after a fighting race.

Senna took the lead in the championship once more with Hill retaking third from Schumacher, as the teams prepared for a 3-week break until the next race in Canada.


Drivers’ Championship

POSITION DRIVER POINTS
1 Ayrton Senna 42
2 Alain Prost 37
3 Damon Hill 18
4 Michael Schumacher 14
5= Mark Blundell 6
5= Johnny Herbert 6
7= JJ Lehto 5
7= Riccardo Patrese 5
7= Martin Brundle 5
7= Christian Fittipaldi 5
11 Jean Alesi 4
12= Fabrizio Barbazza 2
12= Phillippe Alliot 2
12= Michael Andretti 2
12= Gerhard Berger 2
15 Alessandro Zanardi 1

Constructors’ Championship

POSITION CONSTRUCTOR POINTS
1 Williams-Renault 55
2 McLaren-Ford 44
3 Benetton-Ford 19
4 Ligier-Renault 11
5= Lotus-Ford 7
5= Minardi-Ford 7
7 Ferrari 6
8 Sauber 5
9 Larrousse-Lamborghini 2

1993 Spanish Grand Prix

1280px-Catalunya1994Circuit de Catalunya
9 May 1993

In the gap between San Marino and Spanish Grands Prix, many teams had taken part in extra testing and development sessions, and there were a few innovations on show as the motorhomes rolled into Barcelona: a new fly-by-wire throttle for Williams; revised rear suspension for Jordan (and a car modified to fit Boutsen); floor, rear wing and rear suspension for Lola plus a gas-actuator suspension on Berger’s Ferrari. No games from Senna this time, he was there and racing from the get-go, and looking relaxed and confident while Prost – still two points behind in the table – seemed to be feeling the pressure of expectations from media.

ESP hill start

He didn’t show it in the timed sessions, though, taking his fourth consecutive pole position 0.53s ahead of Hill, who had led through most of Friday and Saturday. Senna was a distant third, a full 1.913s behind Prost, alongside Schumacher with Patrese having his best-yet qualifying for Benetton in fifth (he said he was beginning to get the hang of the car, but there was a rumour that the team were negotiating with Mansell…). Wendlinger was sixth, Andretti seventh (the two apparently fated to continue battling all year) with Alesi, Lehto and Herbert making up the top ten. The Ligiers had been expected to go well here but had struggled in qualifying (Blundell 12th, Brundle 18th), and Lola’s innovations had made no difference, with Badoer 22nd and Alboreto failing to qualify with a time a full second slower than 25th-placed Barbazza and a whopping 7.6s off pole.

ESP startIn front of the usual lacklustre Spanish crowd (who infinitely preferred motorbike racing) the lights went red, then *yellow*, before going green. The extra yellow cycle confused several drivers, with Prost getting away slightly slowly and a thoroughly discombobulated Wendlinger dropped to 11th. Hill and Senna on the other hand, got away splendidly, with the Briton leaping into the lead and Senna trying to out-drag Prost down the straight but just failing. At the end of lap 1 it was Hill-Prost-Senna-Schumacher, leading Patrese, Andretti and Lehto, and Hill looked comfortable in the lead as he had in Imola. However, he wasn’t able to pull away and Prost continued to stay within half a second of him. On lap 11, Prost dived out from behind Hill and took the lead. Senna was likewise pushing the pair, aware that he couldn’t compete with them on power but if he could keep on the pressure and hope for something to go wrong then he might come out on top yet.

By lap 20, Prost had a lead of 1.8s and was making his way through traffic when he came upon Derek Warwick, pushing hard in 16th in pursuit of Mark Blundell. Prost, held up a ESP PRost hilllittle by the Footwork, soon found himself under pressure from Hill again and – with a minor handling problem of his own – he was unable to shake his young team-mate. And with no team orders at Williams, Damon was keen to assert himself as more than just a loyal number 2. He tucked himself right up behind Prost and continued to harry the Frenchman and look for a way past until, on lap 42, his engine made a horrible noise and out he went. By that time, Alesi had also disappeared the previous lap with an engine failure of his own, and Hill was the third Briton to retire after Herbert’s active suspension had gone haywire on lap 3 and Brundle had had a terrifying 190mph tyre blowout on lap 12.

esp schuWith Hill gone, Prost could relax a little as his lead from Senna was around 25s, while Senna was in turn around 40s ahead of Schumacher, who had made a tyre stop on lap 37 to correct a vibration so bad his gearbox kept changing all by itself. With fresh rubber and the bit between his teeth, he set about trying to catch up and set seven fastest laps one after another in the process. Senna calculated he still had time to make a precautionary tyre stop on lap 53, but a sticking rear wheel nut kept him stationary for 15 seconds, which mean that with four laps to go Schumacher was now only two seconds behind Senna. As the pair lapped Alessandro Zanardi, the Lotus’ Ford engine exploded, dropping oil all over the track, which Schumacher slid on. He kept it on the track, but had lost his chance.

ESP podium

Prost took a much-needed win to move back ahead of Senna in the championship, with his Brazilian rival second and Schumacher third. Patrese came fourth, while Michael Andretti finally saw a checquered flag for the first time in fifth, having driven a conservative race with the aim of just finishing, and Gerhard Berger took the last point, a lap down from Patrese and Andretti and two down on the leaders, having suffered from erratic and rather *over*active suspension…

It hadn’t been a classic race, but Prost didn’t mind: he was on top where he and many others felt he “ought” to be.


Drivers’ Championship

POSITION DRIVER POINTS
1 Alain Prost 34
2 Ayrton Senna 32
3 Michael Schumacher 14
3 Damon Hill 12
5= Mark Blundell 6
5= Johnny Herbert 6
7= JJ Lehto 5
7= Riccardo Patrese 5
9 Martin Brundle 4
10 Christian Fittipaldi 3
11= Fabrizio Barbazza 2
11= Phillippe Alliot 2
11= Michael Andretti 2
11= Gerhard Berger 2
15 Alessandro Zanardi 1

Constructors’ Championship

 

POSITION CONSTRUCTOR POINTS
1 Williams-Renault 42
2 McLaren-Ford 34
3 Benetton-Ford 19
4 Ligier-Renault 10
5 Lotus-Ford 7
6= Minardi-Ford 5
6= Sauber 5
8 Larrousse-Lamborghini 2
9 Ferrari 2

1993 San Marino Grand Prix

1280px-Imola.svgAutodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari
25 April 1993

Ayrton Senna and McLaren had confounded all expectations by topping the championship tables, while Alain Prost was taking a lot of flak in the French press for his underwhelming performances in Brazil and Donington. But Senna and Ron Dennis were still angling after engine parity with Benetton, and the Brazilian was threatening not to continue driving unless they got it. It seemed pretty unlikely though, and when he showed up at Imola five minutes before Friday practice began (one can imagine the resigned sigh of poor Mika Hakkinen), nobody was really surprised. Meanwhile, Lola had gone back to the drawing board and produced some new aerodynamics for the Scuderia Italia boys in the hope of getting off the back of the grid.

93 Senna spin.jpgAn apparently still jet-lagged Senna, running minimal wing to wring as much speed out of the Series 5 Ford as possible, had a series of offs on Friday and Saturday and qualified a despondent fourth, with Prost continuing his 1993 monopoly of pole positions, a wafer-thin 0.089 seconds ahead of Hill, with Schumacher third. Wendlinger continued his and Sauber’s excellent qualifying record in fifth, Andretti sixth and hoping to get further than lap two this time. Blundell was a best-ever seventh, Berger and Alesi lined up eight and nine and Ferrari looked set to break their record of 37 winless races in front of their own fans. Rounding out the top ten was Brundle, with Donington hero Barrichello 13th, Lehto in the second Sauber a lowly 16th after running the entire session with broken dampers, only discovered during Sunday morning’s warm-up. At the back, Lola’s aerodynamic tweaks hadn’t had the desired effect and they were once again well off the pace, with Alboreto the non-qualifier this week and Badoer a lowly 24th, ahead only of Fabrizio Barbazza.

Sunday dawned overcast and it looked like rain would affect the fourth race in a row – a second warm-up was organised to allow teams to dial in their wet settings and everyone started the race on wets – pit crews hoped that they wouldn’t be kept quite as busy as 93 imola start.jpgthey had been at Donington. The first lap was almost as eventful as Senna’s “Lap of the Gods” two weeks previously, though. On a slippery track, Prost’s clutch dragged slightly and he was slow away, with both Hill and Senna getting past. Andretti and Wendlinger managed not to collide this time, but Blundell shot off into the wall at Tamburello, scattering debris across the track, causing Fittipaldi and Barrichello to come together while taking avoiding action. In unrelated incidents, a thoroughly demoralised Patrese spun and stalled at Tosa and Hill made a mess of Acqua Minerale and bounced across the grass but retained the lead. On lap 2, Boutsen’s race ended with a gearbox failure

imo hillIndeed, Hill not only maintained his lead but put in a succession of fastest laps to begin pulling away from the six World Championships following him in the next two cars. Prost wasn’t about to come second-best to Senna once again, pulling up behind and, on lap seven, he out-dragged Senna on the run up to Tosa and took second. By now a dry line was beginning to appear and Senna dived in for wets at the end of the lap. He rejoined fourth behind Schumacher, and the next lap it was Prost in. Despite nearly stalling, he was back out in fourth. Schumacher and Berger came in together next time round, but only Schumacher got going again: the Ferrari’s gearbox went clank as Berger tried to accelerate away. By now, Hill had a 25s lead but he’d left it a bit too late and was losing time hand over fist. He stopped on lap 11 and rejoined right in front of Senna and Prost, who on warmer tyres were clearly faster.

imo prostAs they powered out of Tosa, Prost reminded everyone why he was a triple champion by getting a slingshot off the back of Senna and moving from third to first in a single move, while Senna also got past Hill to take second. Almost immediately, Prost began pulling away and quickly built a substantial lead over Senna. On lap 18, Donington hero Barrichello retired from 20th, spinning and stalling while trying to avoid a wide-running Zanardi, and two more were out on the next lap with de Cesaris’ gearbox and Comas’ Lamborghini engine both giving up the ghost.

As the leaders made their way through traffic, Hill had got his tyres up to temperature and chased down Senna. The pair rounded Zanardi’s Lotus, but Hill’s brakes locked up and, on the still-damp part of the circuit, he slithered off and wound up in the gravel trap. That was lap 21. Tyrrell made it eight retirements out of eight shortly afterwards when Katayama’s engine expired, and as they approached half-distance (lap 30) there were just 16 cars still running. 15, because Warwick slid off into the barriers on that lap.

imo andretti

So it was Prost leading Senna by about 18s, Schumacher third another 28s or so ahead of a cracking battle between Wendlinger and Andretti for fourth. The two had tangled twice in three races at the start but now they kept it on the circuit and the American rookie was able to give some indications of why McLaren hired him as he clambered all over the back of the all-black Sauber looking for a way past. Until, that is, lap 33, when his car – brake balance set up for the wet – swapped ends on a damp bit and put him out. Poor Michael.

Wendlinger was now held up by Aguri Suzuki’s Footwork, neither driver keen to leave the dry line in the wake of Hill and Andretti’s offs. While thus balked, Alesi came storming up in the Ferrari and, to cheers from the (rather thinner than usual) crowds of Tifosi he simply charged past both of them on lap 37. It didn’t last; his clutch failed three laps later and out he went, to the dismay of the faithful. They were cheered up two laps later, though, when Senna’s suspension failed approaching Villeneuve and the hated McLarens were also double-retirees. Suzuki was given a stop-go penalty for being a mobile roadblock, which ended a good scrap with Barbazza over 9th.

With Wendlinger’s engine giving up the ghost on lap 54, there were just 10 cars left in the race and there looked a very real danger that there wouldn’t be enough finishers to fill the points places, and that anyone who finished had a pretty good shot at scoring points. imo zana outZanardi proved the day’s most interesting retirement (after having been the occasion of both Barrichello and Hill spinning out): attempting to overtake Lehto for what was now fourth, he ran wide at the end of the lap, clouted a wall and rejoined. As he accelerated away, his engine caught fire and – with driver apparently unaware – blazed merrily away all down the pit straight and into Tamburello, at which point a wheel dropped off and the Italian was forced to acknowledge there was something up and retire. Herbert completed Lotus’ misery by blowing his engine when running fifth just four laps from the end.

In the end, Alain Prost cruised to a crushing win, 32s clear of Schumacher – the only other driver on the same lap. Martin Brundle had kept his head down and driven a circumspect race, and was rewarded with third place; his first points of the year and Ligier’s second podium in four races. JJ Lehto blew his engine a lap from home, but didn’t lose fourth place as he was the only driver on that lap, so Alliot and Barbazza simply unlapped themselves as they breezed past on the way to the last two points places. Luca Badoer kept his Lola going to take an encouraging seventh, even if it was only by default, and Herbert and Suzuki (who had likewise blown up) classified 8th and 9th.


Drivers’ Championship

POSITION DRIVER POINTS
1 Ayrton Senna 26
2 Alain Prost 24
3 Damon Hill 12
4 Michael Schumacher 10
5= Mark Blundell 6
5= Johnny Herbert 6
7 JJ Lehto 5
8 Martin Brundle 4
9 Christian Fittipaldi 3
10= Riccardo Patrese 2
10= Fabrizio Barbazza 2
10= Phillippe Alliot 2
13= Gerhard Berger 1
13= Alessandro Zanardi 1

Constructors’ Championship

POSITION CONSTRUCTOR POINTS
1 Williams-Renault 32
2 McLaren-Ford 26
3 Benetton-Ford 12
4 Ligier-Renault 10
5 Lotus-Ford 7
6= Minardi-Ford 5
6= Sauber 5
8 Larrousse-Lamborghini 2
9 Ferrari 1

1993 European Grand Prix

doningtonDonington Park
11 April 1993

In the late 1920s, former motorcycle racer Fred Craner approached the wealthy owner of the Donington Hall stately home in Leicestershire and asked about using the estate’s extensive land for racing. The first race was held in 1931 on a mile-long, unsealed circuit and by 1933 a full permanent circuit had been opened. For three years between 1935 and 1938, the circuit held a Grand Prix attended by the stars of the pre-war racing circuit, won in 1937 and 38 by Bernd Rosemeyer and Tazio Nuvolari tazio donof the “Silver Arrows” Mercedes and Auto Union cars. Shut down during the war and converted into a military vehicle park, it wasn’t until 1971 that the circuit was revived. Bought by car collector and businessman Tom Wheatcroft, Donington Park was redeveloped with a new layout and combined with a new museum, containing the largest collection of Grand Prix cars in the world. Motorcycle and car racing began again in 1977, and through the 1980s the circuit hosted a variety of motor racing formats including touring and sports cars and junior Formulae. Some drivers – notably Damon Hill – were familiar with the circuit from these events and the odd F1 test conducted there: Ayrton Senna had fond memories of the place as this was the location of his first-ever F1 test back in 1983 for Williams.

All that was in the past though, and – nostalgia for the old days aside – everyone’s minds were on the present. Ayrton was in the McLaren cockpit again, and apparently lobbying hard with Ford for engine parity with Benetton, but absent would be Ivan Capelli. thoroughly demoralised by his accident in South Africa and DNQ in Brazil after his dreadful year with Ferrari, he had elected to retire from the sport: a sad end to what had once seemed such a promising career. In his place, Jordan’s sponsor Barclay offered their man Thierry Boutsen and Eddie Jordan gratefully accepted. There would be a new car on the grid too: Footwork debuted their FA14 chassis.


barri bout15. Thierry Boutsen be

The Belgian’s long career had looked to be over after his failure to find a drive for 1993 after two frustrating and demoralising years at the stuttering Ligier team. Some thought he might move to another series, but nothing had yet materialised when he got the call from his sponsors Barclay to see if he fancied the Jordan drive. With nothing else on, he agreed.


Qualifying had seen Prost take pole again, with Hill alongside and just 0.3s behind. Schumacher was a comparatively distant 1.5s behind in third, Senna fourth just a tenth behind the German. In fifth was the ever-improving Sauber of Karl Wendlinger, separated from team-mate Lehto by Andretti in the second McLaren. Berger and a flu-ridden Alesi were 8th and 9th in the Ferraris with Patrese 10th. The Loti of Herbert and Zanardi were 11th and 13th respectively with Boutsen 19th on his rather short-notice return (in a car he was just a bit too tall for) and the Ligiers of Blundell and Brundle in a disappointing 21st and 22nd. The unlucky last man today was Luca Badoer, who would sit out the race.

Image result for 1993 donington gridRace day was wet – hardly surprising in England in April – which would please acknowledged rainmaster Senna (as well as levelling the playing field engine-wise), but not rain-hating Prost, still smarting from his ignominious exit from the Brazilian Grand Prix. With the cars assembling on the grid, it was damp and grey with both rain and sun looking possible, but wet tyres were on for the moment. Michael Andretti suffered more bad luck with a radiator leak on the grid, but the team managed to replace it before the parade lap. Less lucky was JJ Lehto, whose Sauber failed on the grid and he had to start from the pit lane, taking a last-minute gamble on slick tyres as the conditions seemed to be brigtening up.

don startAt the start, Prost and Hill got away well but Senna was crowded out and dropped to fifth behind a fast-starting Wendlinger (up to third) and Schumacher. Not for long though, as he began one of the most impressive single laps ever seen in F1. Quickly disposing of Schumacher, he went round the outside of Wendlinger through the Craner Curves, then two corners later he was past Hill for second before taking the lead past Prost at the hairpin. As if to contrast with the heroics of his team leader, Michael Andretti had tangled with Wendlinger in an attempt to follow Senna through and put them both out.

At the start of lap 2, Senna led Prost by some 4s, with Hill hot on his heels and Rubens Barrichello an excellent fourth from 12th on the grid. Alesi had also got ahead of Schumacher who was in sixth, followed by Berger, Herbert, Patrese and Zanardi. By lap 4, the gap was up to 6.8s and Senna was clearly trying to open up as big a lead as possible before the track dried and the superior Williams power began to tell. With the sun don brunshining and a brisk wind blowing, that wouldn’t be long at all. By lap 7, Prost was starting to slowly reel Senna in as Martin Brundle was the first in for slicks. Only now there were more dark clouds on the horizon, and the teams started to wonder whether or not to bring their drivers in for slicks or wait and see. Brundle slid off, while Lehto was still struggling in midfield on his slicks, most elected for the latter. One exception was Lotus, who had both of their drivers in over the next few laps.

don barri leads.jpgMeanwhile, a fine scrap was developing between Barrichello, still a fine fourth in only his third Grand Prix, Alesi and Schumacher, with the three running almost nose to tail – and Hill was similarly sniffing around the back of Alain Prost’s car as the Prof was held up lapping Zanardi’s Lotus. He couldn’t get past though, and instead came in for slick tyres on lap 17. He was followed by Senna and then Prost, and they all emerged in the same order once the stops shook out, though Alesi managed to get past Barrichello in the process. Berger came into the pits, went out, came in again and retired, with active suspension problems.

don prost pitAnd then the rain started on part of the circuit. Blundell slithered off, as did Schumacher. Prost ducked in quickly for wets, anxious not to repeat his Interlagos mistake, and came out fifth but Senna stayed out. Hill came in from second, but Senna still stayed out and his lap times were still quicker than Prost. By now Senna led Alesi by over 20 seconds as Prost and Hill made their way past Barrichello and set off in pursuit. Finally, Senna came in on lap 29, emerging with a reduced but still substantial lead as de Cesaris and Alliot pirouetted gracefully off in sync. Prost had by now caught and passed Alesi and set off in pursuit of Senna as the leaders closed in on half distance.

don sen pit.jpgThe rain, however, had largely failed to materialise and the track was starting to dry again. Prost was again the first to change back onto slicks on lap 34, and this time Senna came straight in after him – but a cross-threaded wheel nut on the right-rear tyre meant the stop took over 19 seconds and he lost the lead to Prost, with Hill changing at the same time. Alesi came in but couldn’t get going again and retired with a gearbox full of neutrals, so Barrichello was third with Hill breathing down his neck. Senna was chasing Prost and whittling away at his lead on the still-damp track. The local fans were also gratified to see three British drivers in the top six with Hill leading Herbert and Warwick in fifth and sixth places.

Image result for 1993 donington pitThe rain continued to come and go – the rain came back, sending Prost and Hill scurrying in for wets while Senna stayed out, then stopped, drying up and allowing the Brazilian to pull away, then started again, then stopped again. Prost, seeing Senna continuing to lap quicker, came in yet again for slicks, only to stall his car with it still in gear. By the time he finally got it going, he was fourth and lapped by Senna, with Barrichello second and Hill third. Hill was in next and emerged fourth. On lap 55, de Cesaris (who had got going again after his earlier spin) made it six retirements out of six for Ken Tyrrell with a gearbox problem, just as Hill passed Prost – who promptly stopped again to correct a loose wheel – and Rubens Barrichello was lapped by Senna, shortly before the Jordan headed in for slicks and emerged third behind Hill. Senna came in – and went straight through because the team weren’t ready, setting the lap record in the process because the pit lane was a slight shortcut.

Image result for 1993 donington zanardiWith 14 laps to go and an utterly dominant Senna victory a dead cert in the absence of car troubles or accidents, Hill got the hammer down and did the best he could, chasing down a cruising McLaren and unlapping himself, while the surface was still just slippery enough for Zanardi and Fittipaldi to have spins which they recovered, prompting Senna to make a safety stop for wets. Boutsen’s return to Grand Prix racing ended with a broken gearbox on lap 61, and Warwick lost a point for sixth when his gearbox packed up in turn on lap 66. Hill and Prost both stopped once more for wets before the end – having to use a “second-hand” set as the team had run out of fresh sets. Herbert pirouetted too but kept it on the black bit and didn’t lose his fifth place.

A bitter blow for Rubens Barrichello as the Jordan lost fuel pressure when running third just four laps from the end, which promoted Prost back onto the podium and that was Image result for 1993 donington podiumwhere they finished: Senna took a commanding win with Hill in second the only driver on the lead lap. Johnny Herbert picked up another fourth place, Riccardo Patrese scored his first points for Benetton in 5th, with Fabrizio Barbazza coming in sixth for his first ever point.

It had been a cracking race, though not good for the heart rates of the team principals, and Senna and McLaren had once again read the conditions perfectly while Prost and Williams had again been shown wanting. Next up, though, was Imola: a power circuit that would surely deliver a Williams win?


Drivers’ Championship

POSITION DRIVER POINTS
1 Ayrton Senna 26
2 Alain Prost 14
3 Damon Hill 12
4= Mark Blundell 6
4= Johnny Herbert 6
6 Michael Schumacher 4
7 Christian Fittipaldi 3
8= JJ Lehto 2
8= Riccardo Patrese 2
10= Gerhard Berger 1
10= Alessandro Zanardi 1
10= Fabrizio Barbazza 1

Constructors’ Championship

POSITION CONSTRUCTOR POINTS
1 McLaren-Ford 26
2 Williams-Renault 22
3 Lotus-Ford 7
4= Ligier-Renault 6
4= Benetton-Ford 6
6 Minardi-Ford 3
7 Sauber 2
8 Ferrari 1

 

1993 Brazilian Grand Prix

220px-Circuit_Interlagos.svgAutódromo José Carlos Pace, Interlagos
28 March 1993

In the two weeks since the South African GP, the March team had sadly called it quits after failing to find any further sponsorship; Alain Prost had been censured by the FIA for derogatory comments made about the sport’s governing body in the run-up to the Kyalami race, but had not been hit with the ban some feared; and Ayrton Senna brought joy to his compatriots by signing up to race at Interlagos. With Barrichello making his debut and Christian Fittipaldi also on the grid they had three drivers to cheer on.

93 barricWith just 26 cars now in the running, FISA decided to reduce the grid to 24 to keep some element of competition in qualifying, but on unanimous appeal by the teams this was increased to 25 so that every team would have at least one car in the race. In the end, the sole non-qualifier was Ivan Capelli, who could only muster a time nearly 6 seconds off pole and 0.3s slower than next-slowest Alboreto. His rookie team-mate Barrichello, by contrast, managed 14th on his home debut. At the front it was all Williams, with Prost again taking pole 0.9s ahead of Hill with Senna a further 0.9s behind in third. Schumacher was fourth, Andretti an encouraging fifth, Patrese sixth and the Saubers of Bz startLehto and Wendlinger on row four, proving Kyalami wasn’t a fluke. Alesi and Blundell made up the top ten, with their respective team-mates Berger 13th and Brundle 16th.

Race day dawned fair with high cloud and Luca Badoer undid his good qualifying performance (21st) by failing to get away quickly enough on the parade lap and having to start the race from the back alongside Alboreto. There is often trouble on the first corner in Brazil and 1993 was no exception. While Prost got away well and Senna got ahead of Hill, further back Andretti bz andr-berggot away slowly, was squeezed over by Wendlinger and was collected by a charging Berger, sending both flying into the gravel trap. Two more were out by the end of lap one as Brundle and Barbazza also tangled. Badoer’s misfortune may have been a blessing in disguise as he moved up to 15th during the first lap.

While all that was going on, Prost was pulling away from Senna, who was in turn pulling away from Hill. Schumacher was fourth and closing on the Williams, Alesi fifth after a great start and Patrese sixth – until his suspension broke on lap 4 and he toured slowly into the pits, leaving Lehto sixth in the Sauber. Damon had driven a slightly cautious first few laps after his Kyalami spin but soon got the hammer down and began catching Senna, who was running minimal wing to get the most straight-line speed at the expense of cornering speed. Soon Senna, Hill and Schumacher were running close together and on lap 11, Hill out-dragged Senna bz sen-schualong the main straight and got narrowly past into the Senna S. While the Williams immediately began easing away, Senna started to fall into the clutches of Schumacher. Behind them, Alesi was clearly holding up the two Saubers and Lehto was snapping at the Ferrari gearbox and trying to get alongside, but Alesi was making his car as wide as possible, fishtailing under very late braking – but eventually Lehto got past.

On lap 15, Barrichello’s home debut was done as his gearbox packed up, as the sky was rapidly clouding over and rain was threatening. Senna and Schumacher continued duelling until on lap 25 Senna was given a 10-second stop-go penalty for passing a backmarker under yellow flags. He emerged onto the pit lane still ahead of Lehto but a long way behind Schumacher and with his team ready to receive him for a scheduled tyre-stop. Suddenly, it began raining. Hard. Umbrellas blossomed everywhere in the stands. The McLaren mechanics started frantically swapping their planned tyres for wets, though the far side of the circuit was still dry. Senna stopped to put on wets, but Prost elected to stay out while Hill came in. The Japanese contingent had a coming-together on the start-finish straight. Katayama didn’t cross the line to finish his 28th lap bz prost outbut Suzuki did, the latter leaving his car scattered across the start-finish straight which brought out the safety car. Before it could emerge from the pits, though, Christian Fittipaldi spun at the first corner and an unsighted Prost – still on slick tyres – braked late, lost control and collided with the Minardi, taking himself out.

The Safety Car – making its long-awaited first appearance in Formula One – collected the survivors. Schumacher had been leading but pitted for wets, only to lose time when his car fell off the front jack, so Hill led for the first time in only his fourth Grand Prix, followed by Senna (who lost time himself with a spot of impromptu rallycross), Schumacher, Alesi, Herbert, Lehto and Zanardi the top runners of the 14. As the marshals slowly cleared the track (Suzuki’s Footwork having landed in a very awkward spot) and the field bunched up behind the safety car, the rain stopped and the sun came out again. Michael Andretti lifted off in the medical helicopter for a precautionary checkup as the number 10 Footwork was finally winched onto a truck and the lights went off on top of the safety car indicating it was beginning its in-lap after ten laps in control of the race.

By now a dry line was beginning to emerge on parts of the track but the start/finish straight was still awash, leaving drivers and teams with a conundrum. When the race got going again on lap 37, Senna was right up behind Hill while Herbert dove straight into bz pit senthe pits for slicks, but the Williams’ power told and Hill began to pull away again. Senna again reacted early to the conditions as he came in for slicks, followed by Schumacher. Hill pitted a lap later with an 8.8s lead and nearly burned out his clutch in his eagerness to get away. It was a good stop, but not good enough to get him out ahead of Alesi, who took the lead and was promptly assessed a 10-second penalty for passing under yellows, as was Schumacher.

While Hill was on his out-lap, Senna arrived on his warmer tyres and took second with ease, passing an unresisting Alesi seconds later. All of which left Phillippe Alliot in third and Herbert fourth, which became third when Alliot pitted in turn. Schumacher and Alesi were now back in 5th and 9th respectively after their penalties. Senna having pulled away, Hill again started reeling him in once his tyres were up to temperature and  he had got the measure of the conditions. With the order now reasonably stable it was Senna, Hill, Herbert, Lehto, Blundell and Zanardi in the top six. De Cesaris made it four retirements out of four for Tyrrell with a fuel pump problem on lap 48.

Schumacher wasn’t going to stay 9th for long, though, and began a charge up through the bz herbfield; sixth on lap 52 became fifth as Lehto dropped out with an electrical problem. Blundell in fourth had a 13-second lead over Schumacher, but the German made short work of it and was soon fourth while Senna and Hill traded fastest laps despite the Brazilian being quite a distance ahead by that point. Schumacher chased down Herbert and caught up with just two laps to go. Herbert made his Lotus as wide as possible – Schumacher got through but ran wide and Herbert took the place back again. However, on the start-finish straight, Schumacher’s series 7 Ford HB engine out-powered Johnny’s Series 5 and he took the place as they began their last lap.

bz sen afterSenna took his 27th Grand Prix win and his second in Brazil, with Hill an excellent second in just his fourth race. Fans and McLaren team alike were delirious with joy at this unexpected victory – the locals broke ranks and mobbed the track, surrounding Senna’s McLaren on its in-lap and almost lifting their hero bodily from the cockpit before the official cars arrived to rescue him, having to bodily shove the fans back and eventually deploy the military police with batons drawn to keep control. Out of the spotlight, Herbert, Blundell and Zanardi picked up the minor points.

bz podium

Senna now led the Drivers’ Championship against all expectations, with Prost second and Blundell and Hill sharing third and Williams and McLaren tying at the top of the Constructors’ table. It had certainly been an exciting start to the 1993 season and as the teams headed for the British Midlands for the European Grand Prix there was a sense of anticipation that a season that looked sewn up for Prost before it even started might be closer than everyone thought.


Drivers’ Championship

POSITION DRIVER POINTS
1 Ayrton Senna 16
2 Alain Prost 10
3= Mark Blundell 6
3= Damon Hill 6
5 Michael Schumacher 4
6= Christian Fittipaldi 3
6= Johnny Herbert 3
8 JJ Lehto 2
9= Gerhard Berger 1
9= Alessandro Zanardi 1

Constructors’ Championship

POSITION CONSTRUCTOR POINTS
1= Williams-Renault 16
1= McLaren-Ford 16
3 Ligier-Renault 6
4= Benetton-Ford 4
4= Lotus-Ford 4
6 Minardi-Ford 3
7 Sauber 2
8 Ferrari 1

 

1993 South African Grand Prix

Kyalami.svgKyalami
14 March 1993

Throughout the winter, the Grand Prix scene had been abuzz with rumours that Ayrton Senna, happy with the performance of the McLaren MP4/8 in testing, would race after all, and – lo and behold – it was his familiar yellow helmet instead of Hakkinen’s blue and white in the number 8 car when the lights went green for the first practice sessions of 1993 to get underway. Not present, meanwhile, were the March team, who had elected to miss the expensive flyaway race to see if they could raise more funds to begin the season in Europe.


Senna938. Ayrton Senna

Senna’s reputation had taken a bit of a beating over the winter, along with those of Prost and of Frank Williams. Prost for “refusing to compete with Senna in equal machinery”, Williams for “dumping Britain’s hero Mansell for a foreigner” and Senna for “walking off in a huff rather than race at a disadvantage against Prost”. Whether it was this which persuaded him to drive, or whether the MP4/8 is genuinely a good car, we will see, but it seems he’s only driving on a race-by-race rolling contract, leaving himself the option to walk away.


Image result for 1993 kyalamiWith pundits and fans alike waiting to see how McLaren’s new car would stack up against the so-far dominant Williams, how Prost and Senna’s number two drivers Hill and Andretti would fare and more. Not a single team had the same driver line-up in 1992 and there was a brand-new team, Sauber, on the grid to boot.

Image result for 1993 kyalamiQualifying confirmed what most people suspected; the Williams was still the car to beat, with Prost putting it on pole, having apparently lost none of his speed on his “sabbatical” 1992. But alongside him on the grid was none other than Ayrton Senna, just 0.088 behind in the “inferior” McLaren-Ford. Michael Schumacher was third in the Benetton but a full second and a half off the leaders, with Damon Hill lining up fourth in his first start for Williams. Alesi was fifth in the Ferrari, with JJ Lehto an impressive sixth in the new Sauber ahead of Patrese’s Benetton, Blundell’s Ligier, Andretti’s McLaren and Wendlinger’s Sauber. With no March team, there were just 26 cars so there were no non-qualifiers, but the BMS Lola cars were notably slower than the rest, with debutant Badoer just over nine seconds off Prost’s pole time after not setting a lap on Saturday. Alboreto was second-last, just over six seconds adrift and nearly a second slower than Barbazza’s Minardi in 24th.

On a hot day threatening thunderstorms later (and with pundits noting that Prost and Senna were sharing the front row for the first time since Suzuka 1990), the lights went green and away they went – except for Andretti, unused to standing starts after his years in IndyCar racing, who stalled. He wasn’t alone though; Comas did the same in his Larrousse, while de Cesaris’ transmission failed, posting Tyrrell’s first retirement of the year. Their second followed on lap 2 when Katayama’s transmission did the same.

za93 startNobody was watching that, though, because there was drama at the front: Prost got away slowly and both Senna and Hill piled through to drop him to third. Two corners later, Hill overcooked things and did a graceful pirouette, miraculously missing everyone but dropping to 12th. Prost was still third, though, because Schumacher took the opportunity to nip by into second. Behind Prost were the two Saubers, with Wendlinger having got a rocket start to go from 10th to 5th and tuck in behind Lehto – though Alesi wasn’t about to give up that easily and was harrying the Austrian from behind, chased in turn by za93 capelliBlundell and Brundle in their Ligiers. On lap 3, Capelli – who had had a disappointing first post-Ferrari qualifying in 18th – went backwards into the tyre-wall. Andretti – who had got going eventually – followed suit a lap or two later, wiping off a wheel on Barbazza’s Minardi which continued untroubled. Lehto came in from fourth to have a troublesome gearbox looked at, while Hill was still stuck in 11th, trying to find a way past Alliot’s Larrousse, who in turn was harrying Berger’s Ferrari.

The three leaders had already got strung out but soon Prost got the hammer down and started catching Schumacher. By lap 9, Senna led Schumacher by 1.3s, with Prost around 1.8s behind the Benetton and soon the three were running close together. Prost began to challenge Schumacher but the German defended his line and, when Prost dropped back Formula One World ChampionshipSenna found his lead under attack in turn. Not for long, though; on lap 13 Prost got a tow down the start-finish straight and passed Schumacher for second into turn 1. The Williams-Renault’s superior power had shown against the “works” Ford in the Benetton, while Senna’s McLaren had the “customer” version reputed to be some 20bhp down. By the end of lap 13, just 0.835s covered the top three, while Alesi in fourth (Wendlinger having been brought in for a 10-second stop-go penalty for jumping the start) was some 26s behind. Prost was already snapping at Senna’s heels, but the Brazilian was never an easy man to pass and Schumacher wasn’t a spent force yet either: Senna was setting the pace a good 2s a lap slower than they had previously been lapping, so they weren’t leaving him behind.

The battle between the top three continued for lap after exciting lap while further down Image result for 1993 kyalami hill zanardithe order Damon Hill never did find his way past Alliot: he was collected by Zanardi’s Lotus as the Italian made an over-ambitious passing attempt on him on lap 16. On lap 21, the pair were joined in retirement by Luca Badoer, his debut cut short by gearbox failure just before he was lapped by the leaders, and the following lap Suzuki and Barbazza had a coming-together and were also out. Meanwhile back at the sharp end, Prost continued dodging left and right, looking for a way past Senna and finding none, until finally on lap 24, he finally made a move at the first corner stick, and Schumacher got through straight afterwards – only for both drivers to immediately pit for new boots. The McLaren boys made a better stop than the Benetton crew and Senna got out ahead of Schumacher.

The next lap it was Prost, whose crew made a slightly slower stop but got him out just under 3s ahead of Senna and Schumacher, with Alboreto’s backmarking Lola between them. Alliot became the tenth retirement, spinning out on lap 27, followed by Alesi on lap 30 with Active Suspension failure – Berger had the newer system which hadn’t been working properly all weekend but was ironically the one still going. Rubens Barrichello’s debut ended on lap 32 with a gearbox failure, Wendlinger posted Sauber’s first za93 fittiretirement with an engine failure on 34, and on lap 35 the order was Prost-Senna-Schumacher with Patrese up to fourth, Blundell fifth and Fittipaldi sixth, with Herbert seventh in the Lotus followed by Berger, Brundle, Alboreto and Warwick representing all the remaining runners at just under half-distance. Johnny Herbert didn’t last much longer; his fuel pump expiring literally as James Hunt in the BBC commentary box was saying how well he was doing

za93 Schu offProst was by now out ahead while Schumacher pressed Senna – until he went for a non-existent gap at the inside of a corner and the lightest of touches sent him spinning out and promoted Riccardo Patrese to third in his first race for Benetton, with Blundell now up to fourth, Fittipaldi fifth and Berger sixth. Blundell was pressuring Patrese when the Italian veteran spun into the gravel on lap 47, leaving just 10 runners and promoting Brundle into the points. As the laps ticked down, attrition whittled the field down further: Comas’ Lamborghini engine gave way on lap 52, Alboreto’s engine overheated on lap 56, Brundle spun into the wall on Comas’ dropped oil on lap 58 from sixth, promoting Warwick who was scrapping with JJ Lehto, recovering after his early lengthy stop.

With just seven cars still running, the threatened rain arrived – but only lightly, and only on one section of the circuit. Berger had a big wobble but recovered, and team managers watched the sky as anxiously as the telemetry. With just two laps to go, there was lightning and the sky darkened. Soon it was lashing down with rain at the back half of the circuit and with no time to stop for tyres, Prost backed off to such an extent that cars started to un-lap themselves. Berger’s Ferrari V12 gave up on the last lap, while Lehto and Warwick duelled to the last. The pair crossed the line with Lehto now ahead just za93 blundellbefore Prost crossed the line to win the race, just under 1m20s ahead of Senna and a lap ahead of everyone else. Blundell finished third, Fittipaldi fourth and Lehto took fifth for the Sauber team on their debut. And Warwick sixth? No, because on his very last lap, he slid off into the tyre wall and the last point went to Berger who had been a lap ahead of Warwick when he retired. Warwick ended the last classified finisher in 7th – scant consolation for the Englishman but he could reflect on a good return to the sport after two years away.

It had been a cracking race and bode well for the rest of the 1993 season, with the McLaren showing well against both the Williams and Benetton cars – both of which with theoretically superior engines. Ligier had taken their first podium finish since Laffite in Brazil1986, and Mark Blundell’s first ever podium visit. The new Sauber team had also shown well. But Kyalami was, like Monaco, a track where overtaking is difficult and a car-breaker to boot (especially early in the season). How would they fare in Brazil? Would Senna drive? It seemed inconceivable he wouldn’t in front of his adoring home fans, but he wouldn’t want to embarrass himself.


Drivers’ Championship

POSITION DRIVER POINTS
1 Alain Prost 10
2 Ayrton Senna 6
3 Mark Blundell 4
4 Christian Fittipaldi 3
5 JJ Lehto 2
6 Gerhard Berger 1

Constructors’ Championship

POSITION CONSTRUCTOR POINTS
1 Williams-Renault 10
2 McLaren-Ford 6
3 Ligier-Renault 4
4 Minardi-Ford 3
5 Sauber 2
6 Ferrari 1