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1991 Belgian Grand Prix

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1991 Belgian Grand Prix
Race 11 of 16 in the 1991 Formula One World Championship
Belgian Grand Prix Spa.png
Race details
Date 25 August 1991
Official name XL Grand Prix de Belgique
Location Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 6.940 km (4.312 mi)
Distance 44 laps, 305.360 km (189.741 mi)
Weather Sunny and hot
Pole position
Driver McLaren-Honda
Time 1:47.811
Fastest lap
Driver Brazil Roberto Moreno Benetton-Ford
Time 1:55.161 on lap 40
First McLaren-Honda
Second McLaren-Honda
Third Benetton-Ford

The 1991 Belgian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Spa-Francorchamps on 25 August 1991. It was the eleventh round of the 1991 Formula One World Championship and the debut race of the future World Champion Michael Schumacher.


The Jordan team dominated the headlines leading up to the Belgian Grand Prix. Driver Bertrand Gachot was serving a two month prison sentence in an English jail as a result of an altercation with a London taxi driver, so the team had decided to replace him with young German driver Michael Schumacher. Elsewhere Johnny Herbert had returned to Lotus after having missed the previous two races due to Formula 3000 commitments in Japan.

Honda had arrived at Spa with updated engines for McLaren, the team hoping to get the momentum back in their favour.


Pre-qualifying report

As at the previous event in Hungary, the Friday morning pre-qualifying session was dominated by Brabham, who achieved their second 1–2 in succession. On this occasion, Martin Brundle was fastest, 1.5 seconds quicker than his team-mate Mark Blundell. Third, over 3.5 seconds slower than Brundle, was Olivier Grouillard for Fondmetal, the fourth time this season he had pre-qualified. Over a second behind Grouillard was Alex Caffi, pre-qualifying for the first time in three attempts for Footwork.

Missing out by 0.45 of a second in fifth place was Caffi's team-mate Michele Alboreto, the first time he had failed to pre-qualify in his three attempts. A fraction slower in sixth, after suffering a huge accident, was Gabriele Tarquini in the AGS, nearly two seconds ahead of Pedro Chaves in the Coloni. Bottom of the time sheets was the other AGS of Fabrizio Barbazza, who also crashed during the session.[1]

Pre-qualifying classification

Pos No Driver Constructor Time Gap
1 7 United Kingdom Martin Brundle Brabham-Yamaha 1:54.929
2 8 United Kingdom Mark Blundell Brabham-Yamaha 1:56.446 +1.517
3 14 France Olivier Grouillard Fondmetal-Ford 1:58.447 +3.518
4 10 Italy Alex Caffi Footwork-Ford 1:59.460 +4.531
5 9 Italy Michele Alboreto Footwork-Ford 1:59.910 +4.981
6 17 Italy Gabriele Tarquini AGS-Ford 1:59.972 +5.043
7 31 Portugal Pedro Chaves Coloni-Ford 2:01.921 +6.992
8 18 Italy Fabrizio Barbazza AGS-Ford 2:03.766 +8.837

Qualifying report

Ayrton Senna was fastest most of the weekend and duly took pole position, but Ferrari were right on his heels. Alain Prost qualified third on the road while Jean Alesi had set the fastest first and second sectors only to come across traffic at the end of the lap, resulting in a sixth place start, which would be elevated to fifth. Riccardo Patrese had originally qualified second, but after Saturday qualifying his car was found to not have a reverse gear as per the safety regulations and Patrese's Saturday times were wiped out, he had to start a disappointing seventeenth on the grid. Patrese's misfortune promoted Prost to second, with Nigel Mansell third, Gerhard Berger fourth, Alesi fifth, and Nelson Piquet sixth while the sensation of qualifying, Schumacher, was an amazing seventh for his first Grand Prix. The top ten was completed by Roberto Moreno in the second Benetton, Pierluigi Martini in a Minardi and the ever-impressive Stefano Modena in a Tyrrell.

Qualifying classification

Pos No Driver Constructor Q1 Q2 Gap
1 1 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda 1:49.100 1:47.811
2 27 France Alain Prost Ferrari 1:51.369 1:48.821 +1.010
3 5 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Williams-Renault 1:50.666 1:48.828 +1.017
4 2 Austria Gerhard Berger McLaren-Honda 1:49.485 12:29.200 +1.674
5 28 France Jean Alesi Ferrari 1:51.832 1:49.974 +2.163
6 20 Brazil Nelson Piquet Benetton-Ford 1:53.371 1:50.540 +2.729
7 32 Germany Michael Schumacher Jordan-Ford 1:53.290 1:51.212 +3.401
8 19 Brazil Roberto Moreno Benetton-Ford 1:53.664 1:51.283 +3.472
9 23 Italy Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Ferrari 1:53.460 1:51.299 +3.488
10 4 Italy Stefano Modena Tyrrell-Honda 1:52.899 1:51.307 +3.496
11 33 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Jordan-Ford 1:54.186 1:51.986 +4.175
12 16 Italy Ivan Capelli Leyton House-Ilmor 1:53.603 1:52.113 +4.302
13 8 United Kingdom Mark Blundell Brabham-Yamaha 1:54.814 1:52.377 +4.566
14 22 Finland JJ Lehto Dallara-Judd 1:54.211 1:52.417 +4.606
15 15 Brazil Maurício Gugelmin Leyton House-Ilmor 1:56.027 1:52.623 +4.812
16 7 United Kingdom Martin Brundle Brabham-Yamaha 1:54.921 1:52.626 +4.815
17 6 Italy Riccardo Patrese Williams-Renault 1:52.646 no time +4.835
18 25 Belgium Thierry Boutsen Ligier-Lamborghini 1:54.446 1:52.709 +4.898
19 24 Italy Gianni Morbidelli Minardi-Ferrari 1:57.232 1:52.896 +5.085
20 29 France Éric Bernard Lola-Ford 1:55.679 1:53.309 +5.498
21 12 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Lotus-Judd 1:55.523 1:53.361 +5.550
22 3 Japan Satoru Nakajima Tyrrell-Honda 1:55.874 1:53.494 +5.683
23 14 France Olivier Grouillard Fondmetal-Ford 1:55.945 1:53.628 +5.817
24 11 Finland Mika Häkkinen Lotus-Judd 1:55.483 1:53.799 +5.988
25 21 Italy Emanuele Pirro Dallara-Judd 1:56.131 1:53.839 +6.028
26 26 France Érik Comas Ligier-Lamborghini 1:56.218 1:53.847 +6.036
27 30 Japan Aguri Suzuki Lola-Ford 1:56.594 1:53.869 +6.058
28 34 Italy Nicola Larini Lambo-Lamborghini 1:56.561 1:54.781 +6.970
29 10 Italy Alex Caffi Footwork-Ford 1:57.556 1:57.338 +9.527
30 35 Belgium Eric van de Poele Lambo-Lamborghini 35:03.624 1:57.746 +9.935


Race report

At the start both Senna and Prost got away well and the Brazilian led into the first corner. Mansell was third followed by Berger, Piquet, and Schumacher. The German's luck however would run dry just after Eau Rouge when his clutch failed. Out at the front Senna continued to lead but Prost's day ended on lap three when his Ferrari caught on fire, leaving Mansell in second. The determined Englishman proceeded to go after Senna and the two battled lap after lap until Senna pitted for new tyres on lap 15. The stop was a bad one and when Mansell pitted two laps later he was able to emerge ahead of Senna, but just behind Berger who had yet to stop. These stops left Piquet in the lead for one lap before he made his stop.

Mansell quickly closed in on Berger and managed to sweep past into Les Fagnes. When Berger stopped a lap later he had problems and then spun on the pit exit and came back right in front of Modena, nearly causing a bad accident. Mansell's big lead would not last, however as on lap 22 his car stopped, having succumbed to electronic problems, his championship hopes taking a major hit.

Ayrton Senna during the race in Spa-Francorchamps on August 25, 1991.
Ayrton Senna during the race in Spa-Francorchamps on August 25, 1991.

Mansell's misery was Alesi's jubilation as the young Frenchman took the lead with Senna closing. Senna continued to close until he had a small problem and lost ten seconds, putting him into the clutches of Piquet's Benetton. The Piquet-Senna battle was soon joined by Patrese and de Cesaris, who had been battling over fourth. Senna led the quartet, but could not pull away because he was suffering from gearbox problems. Alesi had planned to do the entire race without stopping and his strategy was looking very good until lap 30 when his engine expired. This left Senna ahead of Piquet, de Cesaris, and Patrese, who had gone off the track trying to pass Piquet.

On Lap 31 de Cesaris managed to out brake Piquet into Les Combes and was looking good for Jordan's first podium finish in second place. Meanwhile, Patrese got past Piquet as well and set off after the Jordan. In the late stages Berger got past Piquet and then moved into third when Patrese started to suffer from gearbox problems. De Cesaris's fairy tale run ended just three laps from the end when his engine blew, promoting Berger to second and Piquet to third; it was triple World Champion Piquet's final podium of his career. Up front Senna limped home to his second consecutive win despite serious gearbox issues. Moreno was fourth, followed by Patrese and Mark Blundell, who scored Brabham's first point of the year (also the team's best result since Stefano Modena finished fifth in a Judd powered BT58 in the 1990 United States Grand Prix). The Fondmetal team and its driver Olivier Grouillard scored their first finish of 1991.

Race classification

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 1 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda 44 1:27:17.669 1 10
2 2 Austria Gerhard Berger McLaren-Honda 44 + 1.901 4 6
3 20 Brazil Nelson Piquet Benetton-Ford 44 + 32.176 6 4
4 19 Brazil Roberto Moreno Benetton-Ford 44 + 37.310 8 3
5 6 Italy Riccardo Patrese Williams-Renault 44 + 57.187 17 2
6 8 United Kingdom Mark Blundell Brabham-Yamaha 44 + 1:40.035 13 1
7 12 United Kingdom Johnny Herbert Lotus-Judd 44 + 1:44.599 21
8 21 Italy Emanuele Pirro Dallara-Judd 43 + 1 lap 25
9 7 United Kingdom Martin Brundle Brabham-Yamaha 43 + 1 lap 16
10 14 France Olivier Grouillard Fondmetal-Ford 43 + 1 lap 23
11 25 Belgium Thierry Boutsen Ligier-Lamborghini 43 + 1 lap 18
12 23 Italy Pierluigi Martini Minardi-Ferrari 42 Gearbox 9
13 33 Italy Andrea de Cesaris Jordan-Ford 41 Engine 11
Ret 4 Italy Stefano Modena Tyrrell-Honda 33 Oil leak 10
Ret 22 Finland JJ Lehto Dallara-Judd 33 Oil pressure 14
Ret 28 France Jean Alesi Ferrari 30 Engine 5
Ret 24 Italy Gianni Morbidelli Minardi-Ferrari 29 Gearbox 19
Ret 11 Finland Mika Häkkinen Lotus-Judd 25 Engine/Spun off 24
Ret 26 France Érik Comas Ligier-Lamborghini 25 Engine 26
Ret 5 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell Williams-Renault 22 Electrical 3
Ret 29 France Éric Bernard Lola-Ford 21 Gearbox 20
Ret 16 Italy Ivan Capelli Leyton House-Ilmor 13 Engine 12
Ret 3 Japan Satoru Nakajima Tyrrell-Honda 7 Spun off 22
Ret 27 France Alain Prost Ferrari 2 Fuel leak 2
Ret 15 Brazil Maurício Gugelmin Leyton House-Ilmor 1 Engine 15
Ret 32 Germany Michael Schumacher Jordan-Ford 0 Clutch 7
DNQ 30 Japan Aguri Suzuki Lola-Ford
DNQ 34 Italy Nicola Larini Lambo-Lamborghini
DNQ 10 Italy Alex Caffi Footwork-Ford
DNQ 35 Belgium Eric van de Poele Lambo-Lamborghini
DNPQ 9 Italy Michele Alboreto Footwork-Ford
DNPQ 17 Italy Gabriele Tarquini AGS-Ford
DNPQ 31 Portugal Pedro Chaves Coloni-Ford
DNPQ 18 Italy Fabrizio Barbazza AGS-Ford

Championship standings after the race

  • Bold text indicates who still has a theoretical chance of becoming World Champion.
  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.


  1. ^ Walker, Murray (1991). Murray Walker's Grand Prix Year. Hazleton Publishing. p. 93–100. ISBN 0 905138 90 2.
  2. ^ "1991 Belgian Grand Prix". Archived from the original on 3 November 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Belgium 1991 - Championship • STATS F1". Retrieved 13 March 2019.

Previous race:
1991 Hungarian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
1991 season
Next race:
1991 Italian Grand Prix
Previous race:
1990 Belgian Grand Prix
Belgian Grand Prix Next race:
1992 Belgian Grand Prix
This page was last edited on 30 October 2020, at 06:43
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