The XVII Grande Prémio de Portugal, otherwise known as the 1988 Portuguese Grand Prix, was the thirteenth round of the 1988 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged on the 25 September 1988 at the Autódromo do Estoril near Estoril, Portugal. The race would see Alain Prost return to the top of the Championship as he swept to a fifth victory of the season, as teammate Ayrton Senna only managed to claim a point.
Qualifying proved that the Italian Grand Prix had been something of a false dawn, for the McLaren-Hondas were back to their dominant best, locking out the front row. On this occasion it was Prost who emerged ahead, beating Senna by half a second, while Ivan Capelli put the March-Judd into a shock third, albeit almost one and a half seconds off the pace.
The start of the race would prove to be rather chaotic, with the first attempt having to be abandoned when Andrea de Cesaris stalled on the grid. The field was reset and the start procedure restarted, only for Derek Warwick to stall as the lights went out.
Ironically, and somewhat inevitably, the Brit's Arrows-Megatron was hit by de Cesaris, with their accident also collecting Luis Pérez-Sala and Satoru Nakajima, blocking the circuit. Once again the order was reset, those four jumping in their spare cars, and the start procedure restarted for a second time.
The race would get underway at the third attempt, with Prost easing ahead of Senna on the run to the first corner, only for the Brazilian to seize the lead with a dive on the brakes. Those two quickly set sail at the head of the field, leaving Capelli to fend off Gerhard Berger to hold third.
A duel for the lead would rage during the opening laps, although Senna's forceful and very questionable defending was not enough to prevent Prost claiming the lead. Indeed, Prost would get a better run out of the final corner at the end of the opening tour, only for Senna to swerve across his nose as they ran down the start-finish straight. Fortunately for Prost the Brazilian had left a car's width between his car and the pitwall, a space that the Frenchman used to dive past Senna into the first corner.
With that Prost was away, and duly eased clear of Senna to prevent the Brazilian retaliating. Indeed, Senna soon found himself having to manage his fuel consumption, and hence came under threat from Capelli and Berger.
Indeed, Capelli would cause quite a stir when he dived past Senna on lap 21, before chasing off, and slowly catching, Prost out front. Senna would also slip behind Berger a short while later, before the Austrian spun himself out of the race by accidentally activating his on-board fire extinguisher.
Senna was subsequently caught by Nigel Mansell and Jonathan Palmer, although Mansell would only succeed in smacking into the back of the McLaren before smashing into the barriers. Senna, meanwhile, would release Palmer after deciding to stop for fresh tyres, only for the Brit's podium aspirations expire in a cloud of engine smoke.
Out front, meanwhile, Prost cruised home, ten seconds clear of a delighted Capelli in the March-Judd. Thierry Boutsen, meanwhile, would inherit third ahead of Warwick, while Michele Alboreto kept a recovering Senna at bay to claim sixth.
With both Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost retiring in Italy there had been no changes to the order at the head of the Championship last time out, with Senna having remained three points ahead. Behind, Gerhard Berger had tightened his grip on third after his first victory of the campaign, moving fifteen clear of teammate Michele Alboreto. The Italian himself, meanwhile, had leapt past Nelson Piquet and Thierry Boutsen to claim fourth, but remained an outsider to finish in the top three.
In the Constructors' Championship the Italian Grand Prix had proved to be a very positive race for Ferrari, with their one-two further bolstering their hold on second. Indeed, with McLaren-Honda already declared as Champions the Scuderia were fighting for second, but had opened a significant 36 point gap to third placed Benetton-Ford Cosworth. Whether the British squad would overcome that gap would largely depend on how reliable the two McLaren-Hondas remained for the rest of the season, for Senna and Prost were still expected to win all of the remaining four races.
The full entry list for the 1988 Portuguese Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full qualifying results for the 1988 Portuguese Grand Prix are outlined below:
|9||19||Alessandro Nannini||Benetton-Ford Cosworth||1:21.008||1:19.572||+2.161s|
|12||22||Andrea de Cesaris||Rial-Ford Cosworth||1:21.386||1:19.940||+2.529s|
|13||20||Thierry Boutsen||Benetton-Ford Cosworth||1:20.700||1:20.314||+2.903s|
|14||23||Pierluigi Martini||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:21.292||1:20.741||+3.330s|
|15||29||Yannick Dalmas||Lola-Ford Cosworth||1:21.655||1:20.748||+3.337s|
|17||36||Alex Caffi||Dallara-Ford Cosworth||1:22.349||1:20.922||+3.511s|
|19||24||Luis Pérez-Sala||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:21.909||1:21.094||+3.683s|
|20||30||Philippe Alliot||Lola-Ford Cosworth||1:21.809||1:21.096||+3.685s|
|21||14||Philippe Streiff||AGS-Ford Cosworth||1:21.644||1:21.418||+4.007s|
|22||3||Jonathan Palmer||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:22.797||1:21.788||+4.377s|
|26||31||Gabriele Tarquini||Coloni-Ford Cosworth||1:23.057||1:22.170||+4.759s|
|DNQ||4||Julian Bailey||Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth||1:22.946||1:22.296||+4.885s|
|DNQ||33||Stefano Modena||EuroBrun-Ford Cosworth||1:23.075||1:23.232||+5.664s|
|DNPQ||32||Oscar Larrauri||EuroBrun-Ford Cosworth||1:34.044|
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car to set their best time in that session.
- Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.
|Andrea de Cesaris||______________|
The full results for the 1988 Portuguese Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- 50th Grand Prix start for Philippe Streiff.
- Pierluigi Martini entered his 25th Grand Prix.
- Alain Prost recorded his 33rd race victory.
- McLaren claimed their 67th win as a constructor.
- Twentieth podium finish for March.
Alain Prost returned to the top of the Championship with his fifth victory of the season, opening out a five point lead over teammate Ayrton Senna. However, the Frenchman had reached the eleven race limit for scoring points, meaning he would be losing dropped scores for the rest of the season. Senna, meanwhile, had one race's grace before he began losing potential points, a small advantage heading into the final three races.
McLaren-Honda had added to their Constructors' Championship winning tally in Portugal, ending the weekend on 157 points. Ferrari were now a race away from securing second, having opened out a 34 point gap back to Benetton-Ford Cosworth in third. The young British squad were instead set to spend the final three races trying to hold onto said position, with Arrows-Megatron, March-Judd and Lotus-Honda all within a win's worth of points.
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.
Images and Videos:
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 '13. Portugal 1988', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1988/portugal.aspx, (Accessed 12/04/2019)
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 'Portuguese GP, 1988', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2015), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr465.html, (Accessed 12/04/2019)
- ↑ 'Portugal 1988: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1988/portugal/engages.aspx, (Accessed 12/04/2019)
- ↑ 'Portuguese Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1988/races/539/portugal/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 12/04/2019)
- ↑ 'Portuguese Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1988/races/539/portugal/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 12/04/2019)
- ↑ 'Portugal 1988: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1988/portugal/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 12/04/2019)
- ↑ 'Portugal 1988: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1988/portugal/classement.aspx, (Accessed 12/04/2019)
- ↑ '1988 Portuguese GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2015), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1988&gp=Portuguese%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 12/04/2019)
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