Ferrari’s performance was improving. The Italian team arrived in Portugal to put pressure on the McLaren duo, who were treating the championship as a domestic dispute. The Portuguese Grand Prix was one of the most controversial races in the 1989 F1 season, paving the way for the thrilling finale at Suzuka, on the following month, when Alain Prost rammed Ayrton Senna with his McLaren, mirroring what Nigel Mansell did in Portugal against the Brazilian driver.
Actually, it all had started at Monza, two weeks earlier. Senna was 11 points behind Prost in the standings, and was leading the Italian GP ten laps before the race’s end and more than 20 seconds ahead of Frenchman. But his McLaren’s Honda engine blew up, leaving Senna on foot. Prost won and climbed to 71 points in the tournament. Senna was stuck at 51.
Senna desperately needed to finish ahead of Prost in Portugal, but he didn’t count on the progress made by Nigel Mansell and Gerhard Berger. Ferrari’s performance was improving. The Italian team arrived in Portugal determined to put pressure on McLaren, which had been treating the championship as a domestic dispute.
Ayrton Senna led al the training sessions and secured the pole position with a time of 1min15s468, 0s591 quicker than Gerhard Berger, who was in second. Both the Austrian and Britton Nigel Mansell would be starting ahead of Alain Prost, who had to settle for starting in fourth.
A. de Cesaris
final position (retired on lap 48)
position in championship following the race
championship points accumulated
Why did Nigel Mansell remain on the track after being disqualified? Everyone could see what had happened. I don’t have anything further to say…