1990 Japanese Grand Prix

The second race in the feature is the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix, which has entered Formula One folklore. The 1990 season, once again saw Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, who was now at Ferrari, battle for the drivers championship.

Going into the event

The previous round was in Spain and had been won by Prost ahead of team mate Nigel Mansell and Benetton’s Alessandro Nannini. Senna retired, which meant that Prost was nine points behind Senna going into the Japanese Grand Prix. It also meant that the Ferrari driver needed to win in order to keep his championship hopes alive as only a driver’s best eleven results counted.

The Race

Despite qualifying on pole position, Ayrton Senna had an issue with where it was positioned on the track, believing that it should be placed on the left hand side instead of the usual right hand side as the left side was the racing line and therefore the better starting position. He attempted to get the change made, but was unsuccessful.

Come the start of the race, Prost managed to get the better start and pull ahead of Senna, who had changed to the inside where he kept his car, this resulted in a crash going into the first turn at the start, taking both cars out of the race and handing Senna his second title.

The race itself obviously continued and despite inheriting the lead, Gerhard Berger soon lost control of his McLaren, as he spun at turn one, which meant that Nigel Mansell now led. On lap twenty six he entered the pits for a stop, but despite initially getting away, his car stopped, forcing him into retirement which meant that Nelson Piquet in the Benetton took over the lead. He would remain there for the rest of the race, claiming his first win since 1987. His fellow Benetton driver, Roberto Moreno, who was substituting for Nannini, finished second and Japan’s very own Aguri Suzuki claimed third.

After the event

The Japanese Grand Prix was not the final round of 1990, so the teams and drivers headed to Adelaide, Australia for the final round. Senna once again didn’t finish, Prost managed to finish third while Senna’s compatriot, Nelson Piquet won the race.

Next in feature: 1994 Japanese Grand Prix

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